Published on October 31st, 2011 | by Jasmine3
Leave Luck to Heaven #20: Riding the Rails with Biohazard
Recapping the events of Resident Evil Zero, Resident Evil and Resident Evil 3, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles is the first of two rail shooters on the Wii. The game also contains little extra clips you can find that expand the story. This expanded story information sometimes is either from other games or is added to bridge gaps that exist in the story.
As a rail shooter, the game simply requires you to aim at the screen and shoot anything and everything that moves. The controls are relatively intuitive during the shooting, however using stuff like the knife and grenades can be clunky with the Wii’s simplistic control scheme. This is avoided to an extent with three different control schemes, two of which are for the Wii Remote alone and the other for use with a gun peripheral and nunchuk. The gun style is nice but at times it is easy to forget all your additional controls on the nunchuk. This was one of the games that came out to exploit the Wii Zapper but really the Nyko Perfect Shot is much better for this and really any shooter game on the Wii.
The graphics aren’t bad during gameplay. There are some resolution issues but with the enemies being zombies it isn’t too bad and might even add to some of the creepiness. The backgrounds are varied but very flat. The saving grace is that the backgrounds are very interactive allowing for lights and windows to be shot, as well as later levels allowing for chandeliers to be shot down onto hordes of zombies. The real graphics that stand out as pure horrible is cut scenes involving the playable characters. The players look oddly waxen and have really dead and soulless eyes. This harsh contrast actually makes them more terrifying than the zombies attacking you.
The rail system is nice since you don’t need to know where you are going yourself but it also has its own problems. The main problem is there are times when the camera just wildly darts around. Yes, you can shoot the enemies but it is unlikely you have time to kill an enemy unless you can always get a critical hit. The critical hits in this game can potentially take the enemies down in one blow, such as the zombies’ heads being a good starting point. During certain parts you have plenty of time to gun down the enemies but other times that is not possible.
Multiplayer mode can definitely make the game easier since you can focus on different enemies upping your chances of survival considerably. So to balance the power of numbers Capcom decided the players should share certain things that make it harder and not share things that would make it convenient. The most important thing you share is health. This is actually pretty reasonable since it would be hard to differentiate who got hit when the enemies are just swinging at the screen. However, ammo pickups scattered through the level are kept by the character who grabs it first and not distributed. In a regular game, this is standard but in a game that depends on both players staying alive a little sharing by default would be nice. Instead by the end of a level either one person is equipped like a one man army, while your partner is struggling with a pop gun or you are having to take turns and risk missing a weapon because the player whose ‘turn’ it is to grab the weapon can’t get to it fast enough.
The story is very much a streamlined version of the three mentioned games as well as adding background information that wasn’t in the originals. This is done either with documents you can pick up in each level, but also with an additional story where you can play as some of the antagonists to learn their stories. The documents really shed light on how terrible the always looming Umbrella Corporation really is.
Normally, I am not a fan of the Resident Evil series due to the core mechanics. However, the streamlined non-thinking rail shooter style I do enjoy. There are still plenty of issues that make the game hard to sit and play for any long amount of time but it is a good game if you just want to play a level on random occasions.