Resident Evil Umbrella Chronicles - Nintendo Wii review

After the bloody amazingness that was Resident Evil 4, a lot has been expected of Umbrella Chronicles. But rather than simply take the zombie packed series to the next level, Capcom have decided that what we all crave is a Resident Evil based light gun shooter.

It’s not the first time the series has taken this turn. The "Survivor" spin-offs on PS2 were rightly damned for not only being about as scary as an episode of Neighbours, but not even as much fun as watching said dodgy Aussie soap.

With the Wii Remote ready to be utilised as a satisfying gun, hopes are high for Umbrella Chronicles. Bringing together some of our favourite characters from the entire series, something big will have to happen to drag this one down.

For staunch fans of the Resident Evil series, this going to bring back all those gory zombie infested memories of yours.

Remember the mysterious "Umbrella" corporation that was the source of all the evil nasties? Well, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles will spin you the full tale of this dastardly company.

Fans shouldn’t expect too much in the way of new yarns mind you. Umbrella Chronicles takes many story and locations from the first handful of Resident Evil titles (none of that Spanish Resident Evil 4 stuff here) and crams it all into a brand new gaming style.

If Resident Evil 4, with it’s over the shoulder gun obsession, was too much of a change for you, you’ll want to avoid this one. Here’s its staunch first person stuff, playing more like your old House of the Dead or Time Crisis titles.

Like most other light gun controlled games, your path is nearly 100% predetermined. In fact, other than the odd opportunity to choose between two different paths, your character will meander along the same trail every time you play that level.

The Wii Remote makes for a pretty handy light gun. It’s deadly accurate, and makes blowing off zombie heads an absolute breeze. You shake said Remote to reload your weapon, with the rest of the meagre number of controls introduced during the first chapter of the game. The "Wii Zapper" – an add-on that gives the Remote more of a "gun" feel – certainly isn’t an essential, making reloading a nightmare when you need to wiggle it’s hefty glory.

Speaking of the chapters, this is one lengthy game. Most light gun games last a pair of hours at best, but this beast packs in over double that amount of gaming goodness. Capcom certainly understand how to give us ample gaming for our cash. Plus, your awarded an overall score at the end of each stage, allowing you to jump right back and nudge your scores up a notch and aim for those "S" ranks.

It’s not all bright and rosy for this latest addition to the series. Though this is in no way an unattractive game, it’s certainly no Mario Galaxy, or even a Resident Evil 4 in the visuals department.

The aiming can feel a little off at times too. One close range blast to a zombie head should see them plummet to the floor stone dead (again), but all too often, for no apparent reason, it’ll take 3 or 4 shots to the old noggin before they’ll sink down to the floor.

Equally as irritating are some of the boss bottles. While all are populated by "quick time events" which prompt you to perform a required shake, or poke of the remote to avoid a hit, some attacks are seemingly unavoidable, leaving you dying time and time again. It’s only after a handful of tries that you discover some way of avoiding said bouts of aggression, with no help offered by the game whatsoever.

Give "Easy" mode a try first out too. Most of you might want to jump straight in at normal, but after the first few chapters, the difficulty levels really take a hefty jump towards the skies.

Verdict

If you miss those old bouts of Time Crisis in the arcades, and you’re a Resi fan, this is definitely your bag.

Just don’t expect to be gripped for weeks on end, especially with a few beastly flaws chucked in for good measure.