HIGH There’s a Barry Burton Mask included with the Deluxe pack.
LOW Pretty much everything else.
WTF The speed of character movement is freaking insane.
I should probably say up front that a certain amount of jank in video games rarely bothers me. I can enjoy sketchy titles if the core hook is strong, and I’ll come away unimpressed with polished work if the underlying mechanics are boring as hell. Unfortunately for Capcom in this instance, Umbrella Corps is an all-around low-rent package that’s busted through and through, with little to offer even the most ardent fans of Resident Evil or multiplayer shooters. Comprised of a startlingly barebones singleplayer mode and a frequently inept multiplayer component, it’s tough to see why the game was even released at all, though it’s obvious why the Resident Evil branding has been dropped from the title.
It’s not immediately obvious just how awful most of the experience is. The tutorial’s okay, and introduces plenty of movement options and tactics. Things like slowly sliding a shutter door open with guns at the ready in case nasties lurk on the other side, or breaking down a barrier to allow ease of movement. These are neat ideas, but they basically never come into use during play.
Then comes The Experiment, a singleplayer offering where everything falls apart rapidly. The premise is that players take control of a nameless Umbrella operative thrust into life-or-death scenarios against the undead. This mode actually shines some light on the one thing that Umbrella Corps gets half right—the guns feel pretty decent, and zombies react in a satisfying manner when shot.
Unfortunately, that’s where the praise ends. The balance of the game is completely out of whack, with enemies often spawning directly behind players or zooming up to them from out of nowhere and annihilating them before it’s possible to react. The birds are airborne bastards, swooping down out of thin air to peck at the eyes of Umbrella agents wearing protective, presumably armored masks. They can kill quickly, and shooting them off is weirdly imprecise.
The tasks during this single player are, naturally, mind-numbingly repetitive. With such heady thrills as ‘shoot zombies to collect their DNA’ or ‘stand on one spot for ages for whatever reason’, it comes off like a gaggle of minigames scraped together to flesh things out just a smidge for solo players. Enemies continually respawn, weapon ammo is arbitrarily limited during certain rounds, player deaths often feel cheap, and just when it seems that it can’t possibly get less appealing, it starts asking players to survive multiple rounds of the same nonsense with no checkpoints in between. It’s quite telling that the choice to continue after a death is automatically set to ‘No’.
But hey! The Experiment is just an inconsequential throwaway mode to keep those single player plebs happy, right? Surely the 3v3 online mode is where the real meat of the game lies? Well… kind of. There’s arguably more meat there, sure, but it’s just as rancid.
Ignoring the customization (which is adequately done given the limitations of having everyone bombing around in militarized biohazard suits) there are a grand total of two online modes. One Life mode, where death means watching an overhead map for up to several minutes at a time after being taken out, or Multi Mission, which offers those minigame objectives from the singleplayer as well as a few unique ones like killing the enemy team or protecting a certain player.
The gameplay balance in multiplayer is extremely poor—guns are comparatively weak, so many players seem to disregard half their arsenal in favor of running around like maniacs with their melee weapon waving around at all times. Zombies are included during versus play and can be set upon enemies, but they’re often inconsequential given how most players approach these matches.
Movement speed is another point of contention, in that it’s completely absurd on every conceivable level. Players seem to glide around rather than walk or run through levels, and do so at such ludicrously fast speeds I’d be surprised if everyone involved didn’t have propellers stuck up their arses. Even when crawling, they tend to zoom around like they’re speeding down an icy incline instead of pulling themselves across dirt or gravel.
The online seems to be offered via a peer-to-peer matchmaking setup, which wouldn’t be too bad had it not also been saddled with the worst netcode I’ve seen in forever. It’s so bad that players often teleport while moving, and kills can suddenly ‘snap’ into place long after they occur, leaving players dead with no idea of what just happened.
The first time I got the hint that something was seriously screwed up was during my first match—an enemy came charging in with his melee weapon, suddenly froze on the spot while three of us began unloading submachine fire into him, then he mysteriously killed both my squad members via execution moves ten seconds later. That’s right—the netcode was so bad that he’d somehow performed two brutal melee kills on my teammates while we’d been blasting away at his frozen body.
Soon after this demented example, I was assassinated half a bloody street away from my actual position after diving down a manhole into a sewer. Both players and zombies frequently judder and teleport around the arenas while the game fails to keep track of where they should be, and as crazy as it sounds, this sort of nonsense happens all the time. Probably not for long though—even now, right after release, it’s already taking longer than expected to find other players for a match, and the performance is so poor that there’s no doubt this game is destined to be forever ignored in an oversaturated market.
Umbrella Corps has a few interesting ideas up its sleeve, but that’s all it has. Whenever it attempts to put those ideas into practice, they’re shoddily executed and laughably inept for a tactical shooter that rewards almost no tactics whatsoever. There are small glimmers of what could have been with more time and care put into the final product, but those glimmers are quickly swamped by a ravenous horde of terrible design decisions and eaten alive by the sheer awfulness on display.
Disclosures: This game is developed by Capcom Japan and published by Capcom. It is currently available on PS4 and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 3 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed. 4 hours of play were spent in multiplayer modes before I simply gave up on it due to long wait times and extreme lag related issues.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and contains intense violence, blood and gore and strong language. It’s not recommended for children, but then, it’s not really recommended for anyone.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing: There are subtitles, and indicators to help find targets, but it would undoubtedly be more difficult with the inability to hear other enemies walking around or exchanging gunfire.
Remappable Controls: Yes, this game offers fully remappable controls.
Colorblind Modes: There are colorblind modes available in the options.
The chance discovery of a muddy, burnt out copy of '50 Shades of Grey' in a hunting pit gave him an appreciation for complex plots, characters and overarching narrative, and the unexpected gift of a Spectrum 48k allowed him to indulge in these newfound sensibilities with intelligent, highbrow games such as 'flee from the badly animated spinning turquoise dolphins' or 'avoid the deadly glowing bricks of doom'.
The fusion of both these interests finally culminated with Darren teaching himself how to write by basically guessing at what words might look like when jotted down on paper as opposed to being howled inarticulately at the skies.
Now others occasionally get to read his scribblings. Lucky them.
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