Love/Hate: Umbrella Corps

Yeah that’s right, this one doesn’t even have the Resident Evil moniker, Capcom literally just called it Umbrella Corps. I’m not even going to mince words, this game fucking sucks. It is far and away the worst Resident Evil game I’ve played and I have a hard time imagining how a AAA studio could make a game shittier than this in future. How they managed to make a worse shooter than Resident Evil: Survivor in an era when shooters had been long figured out is beyond me. Oh and as for why I’m covering this game now instead of later with the Resident Evil spin-off titles? Despite being a multiplayer shooter, it is somehow, inexplicably canon.

Love

  • No Microtransactions – I shouldn’t even have to give a game any sort of kudos for not being predatory, but Umbrella Corps seems so ripe for microtransactions that it is shocking to see them absent. Especially for a hollow game like this, you’d expect it to be nothing but a vector to shove microtransactions at gamers, but no, somehow Capcom had some pride in this game. Hooray?
  • Fan Service – Okay, I’ve got to admit that seeing the Resident Evil 4 village in full HD is pretty damn cool. The game even adopts some of the movement mechanics of that game into the map design, encouraging more verticality. Similarly, the Kijuju village map features much more aggressive enemies, similar to how Resident Evil 5 plays, making the game almost feel like a bite-sized remake at times.

Mixed

  • Customization – Like I mentioned on Resident Evil 6, I love when a game lets you customize trivial things to your liking. Wanna pick the colour of your uniform, your helmet emblems, your gun sights and reticule? Umbrella Corps has you covered. However, you get the sense that they may have put the horse before the cart because you’re telling me that you only start out with two shotguns, two SMGs and 2 pistols? Seriously? I mean, you could theoretically unlock more, but… well…
  • Movement Speed – Holy crap you move FAST in this game, which feels at odds with the tiny maps you’re running around in. Even with just your base movement speed you can cross a room in a couple seconds at most, which I can only imagine was to copy the blistering mobility of games of the time like Titanfall and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. I don’t really like the speed of the game, it feels “wrong” to me, but that’s more of a subjective annoyance rather than an actual flaw so your mileage may vary.

Hate

  • An Online Shooter With No Online – The big issue with online-focused games is that they are inevitably going to be worthless and most of the content inaccessible once the online part of the game comes to an end. It’s one thing to hold that against a game like MAG or Warhawk where they provided years of online play to people who were buying the game. However, I have absolutely no reservations about Umbrella Corps, because it was dead on arrival. Within a month it was basically unplayable, with less than 50 people playing at any one time. In its release year it spent more time in an unplayable state than it did playable, which mean that this is the game’s content as far as I’m concerned. And Capcom’s still selling the “Deluxe Edition” for $33.50 on PSN! For a completely dead game!!!
  • The Experiment – Full-stop, the single player content in this game is miserable. This would be bad enough if it was just a bonus mode you could ignore, but this especially hurts because it’s the only part of the game that’s actually playable. It plays like Black Ops Declassified, the bargain-basement PS Vita Call of Duty game Activision shit out. You do spec ops missions with such engaging objectives as “kill a bunch of enemies” and “hold some points for 10 seconds”, bored to tears the whole time, stuck with the default weapon loadouts and each mission may take like 2 minutes at most to complete. To compensate for this, the game makes all enemies kill you in 1 or 2 hits, so if you make any kind of mistake then you’re punished severely. If you want to make the game even more boring you can cheese this by standing in front of the meat piles that zombies spawn from and just shoot them before they can even react, but… like, the game is boring enough as is. I’m not ashamed to admit that I quit about halfway through The Experiment, it was that joyless. The game had me doing a tedious “kill 20 enemies” mission and then round 2 was “hold point 10 seconds 5 times”. I died in the 2nd round and had to replay the entire first round again. I wanted to see Raccoon City, but fuck this, I’m not playing this game ever again.
  • Basic Design Decisions Are Flawed – Umbrella Corps just feels “off” when you’re playing it. The aforementioned movement speed doesn’t help too much but on it’s own it’s not an insurmountable problem. The problems arise from how awkward the basic shooting gameplay is. The game’s in a third person perspective, but suddenly switches to first person when you aim down sights. This is disorienting enough, but for a bonus it doesn’t do this if you’re in cover, in that context it just zooms the third person camera when you ADS. It got to the point where I was just hip-firing at all times rather than deal with the camera zooming in and out all the time.
  • Repeated Voice Lines – Get ready to tear your ears off if you hop into The Experiment. Every time you pick up a DNA sample you’re going to hear “This one’s mine!” and “There is is!” over and over and over and over and over and over and over. I swear to God that no one in charge tested this game, no one would greenlight a game this annoying and “yeah, that’s acceptable”.
  • Information Overload – Umbrella Corps‘ UI is buck-wild. In addition to standard shooter UI, the game shows you exactly where you can climb, take cover and the exact range of your melee weapons… which, combined with the small maps means that at any one time your view is going to be filled with obtrusive, over-animated bullshit, whether you wanted to or not.

Umbrella Corps is fucking garbage. I spent $6.50 on this game and I kind of knew what I was getting into, but even that felt like I was getting ripped off. I really want to know how Capcom fucked this up so badly, because there are Steam Greenlight games with better all-round design than this piece of shit.

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