With Capcom's constant delays of the anticipated RE5, many fans were overjoyed to finally see a new Resident Evil game for the next-gen consoles. I know I was one of them. What fans got was something that many didn't expect. Now, it's no surprise that Capcom likes mixing genres in with the survival horror we've all come to love, what with the sublte sci-fi element of Code Veronica, and the obvious action changes for RE4. This time around, Capcom decided to shake things up even more, by having the entire game play as a rail shooter. You remember those, right? Old Arcade fads, I guess you could call them. Well, now, they're making a return... apparently, and out comes Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles.
The Umbrella Chronicles throws you into the roles of previous Resident Evil protagonists (including Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield and Rebecca Chambers), and mixes it up even more by letting you play as the great Albert Wesker! With a total of eight playable characters from past RE titles, wouldn't that be enough for die-hard fans. Well, good news people, there's even more. For the first time since the Outbreak games, you're returning to Raccoon City! Funny how a city that was destroyed ten years ago still manages to attract a crowd. Throughout the moderately long game, you'll be given the option to play as one or two of the eight characters in specific scenarios that span from RE0 to RE3, as well as new story taking place after those events.
The graphics for Umbrella Chronicles don't stand toe-to-toe with current gen games, unlike Zero and the Remake last generation. But that doesn't mean it's horrible to look at or it will hurt your eyes or anything, it's just not exactly shell-shocking, which is shocking considering most RE titles deliver top-notch graphics. I guess we can blame the poor graphics on the Wii, not Umbrella Chronicles. Because this is a rail shooter, you can't control your characters, which actually isn't all that depressing. The game will get you to point A to point B, as you blast through hordes of T-Virus infectees, and you'll be thanking it if you're used to the formula of standard Resident Evil games, with backtracking often becoming a nuisance. No problem with that in Umbrella Chronicles. Sure, you'll find yourself missing important health and ammo from time to time, which may be the only drawback to the game controlling your character's footsteps. If playing alone (which is something I highly DON'T recommend, as the preferred co-op is an absolute blast, and you'll be finding the game much easier with another person at your side) you'll find yourself needing that crucial health and ammo that you just can't seem to get your hands on.
One major complaint I have with Umbrella Chronicles is it's story. Sure it's much more fleshed out and complex than other rail shooters on account of it having years of already established back story to grab from. But it's that very established back story that it likes to mess around with. Many events and characters, most notably ResEvil 2 and Barry Burton, have been completely ignored. Okay, fine, they just decided to skip over RE2, which isn't really saying it never happened, but WHERE THE HECK IS BARRY???!!! He doesn't appear in the mansion incident at all, and also doesn't appear in the ending of the RE3 chapters, which he should considering him rescuing Jill and Carlos is the canon (official) ending to Resident Evil 3! That is just something that shouldn't be ignored. The overall story of RE3 is stripped to the bare bones, and transformed into a really generic Jill and Carlos vs. Nemesis adventure, which is not kindly accepted. But, um, ignoring that factor, Umbrella Chronicles provides a meaty experience for die-hard Resident Evil fans, and will even provide Wii owners some much need bloodshed.
Graphics - 3.7 out of 5
Controls - 4.3 out of 5
Story - 3.9 out of 5
Level Design - 4.0 out of 5
Replay Value - 3.8 out of 5