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Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles Preview
publisher: Capcom Entertainment
developer: Capcom Entertainment
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Nov 13, 07 (released)
|» All About Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles on ActionTrip|
What could be more fun than killing hordes of vicious zombies? Shooting even more of them, apparently, only this time by using the Wii Zapper. That's exactly how Nintendo and Capcom are hoping to attract gamers in their soon to be released horror themed action game, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles. In case you didn't know, the Wii Zapper is basically a housing designed to turn the standard Wii-mote into a machine-gun-like weapon. This cool gaming accessory should appear around the same time as Umbrella Chronicles (which is scheduled to hit stores on November 13, 2007).
According to Capcom, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles tells the story of the downfall of the infamous Umbrella Corporation (as the very title suggests). For the very first time, players get to assault the never-before-seen Umbrella stronghold. It should be a treat for RE fans. What's more, the game revisits certain familiar locations from Resident Evil 1, 2 and 3, as well as areas from Resident Evil 0 (the GameCube remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis). More details on the narrative are kept under wraps. Mind you, several playable characters were mentioned, including the following: Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Billy Coen, Carlos Oliveira, Albert Wesker and Rebecca Chambers. The inclusion of all these characters is an important part of the gameplay, but similarly to previous games in the RE series, different characters don't exactly denote different skills and abilities. Instead, each hero (or heroine) usually wields a unique weapon, which means there will be various ways to kill masses of bloodthirsty zombies.
As you know, most developers and publishers understandably rarely market Wii games for their visual appeal. Dynamic gameplay mechanics are usually the main sales pitch, thanks to the Wii's unique control system. Still, when it comes to visuals, Umbrella Chronicles has a few nice touches. For one thing, this is going to be the first time players will see familiar Resident Evil locales in full 3D. If you recall, the RE remake on the GameCube was visually impressive in its day, but the fact remains that the backgrounds were pre-rendered and not in true 3D. Depicting the old locations in full 3D is a fair tribute, but the game also features a variety of never-before-seen areas. And that's not all. Setting the game's ambience is achieved through a selection of subtle but very convincing light and shadow effects. Beefed up particle effects were thrown in for good measure; they've shown players shoot apart windows and doors. Environmental damage can, in certain situations, work to your advantage. In that respect, combat sometimes goes beyond conventional methods, so you may shoot down a chandelier and watch it drop on an enemy.
The camera was clearly an important point during the creation process of Umbrella Chronicles. It's pretty obvious what the developers were going for in this matter. To begin with, they moved away from the traditional Resident Evil formula, which involved third-person action and static 2D backdrops. The predominant use of the first-person view and the cinematic-style camera should provide just the kind of atmosphere needed for an action-packed survival horror game.
Other details contribute to the horror aspect of the experience. When your health is low and a zombie grabs you, he'll bite your neck, at which point you'll see blood splatter onto the screen, as your character desperately fights to stay alive.
Then again, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles does stay true to the standard on-the-rails gameplay noted in earlier titles. In this case though, it involves a wee bit more than just shooting franticly at zombies. The Wii-mote enables aiming and shooting that's quite accurate. Decapitating zombies with a well-placed headshot is often a good move, but you may also shoot them in the legs, in which case they'll drop to their knees. Aside from that, you might want to pan around the camera in order to spot crucial items scattered throughout the area, such as weapons, ammo, health and so on. Replenishing health denotes the famous green plant, first aid spray and the like.
Unsurprisingly, Capcom toned down the game's difficulty somewhat, but only in a few aspects. For example, weapons like the machine gun and shotgun require players to save their ammo or they might eventually run out. Yet, the handgun was supplied with infinite ammo, so you don't have to resort to running and hiding (which often happened in some of the previous titles in the series).
Next to the handgun and shotgun, other weapons are also on the menu, including a magnum, the always welcomed rocket launcher, grenades, etc. Melee weapons are on offer as well, such as a knife and special blade called the Samurai Edge (this, I believe, is another tribute to old Resident Evil titles). For switching weapons, a new and more effective method was incorporated this time around. Now, players change weapons quickly and intuitively by pressing down the D-Pad on the Wii-mote (the quick-switch feature was sorely missed in most RE games). The Nunchuk buttons are also used to pick up various items and store them in your inventory. You reload by shaking the Wii-mote back and forth for a sec. When a zombie grabs hold of you, just press the C button and your character will fend it off with the knife. Supposedly, it's pretty easy to use.
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