Note: This review is based on a very limited playthrough of the Umbrella Corps game as there are rarely any players online at the same time to even have a decent go at this title.
Umbrella Corps, or BIOHAZARD: Umbrella Corps as it also known as according to Steam, is the latest spin-off game in the Resident Evil/Biohazard franchise from the publisher Capcom. In Umbrella Corps, gamers take on the role of a faceless Umbrella mook that engages in Deathmatch style arena battles to complete objectives against other players. This game makes little sense, and doesn’t really do a good job of trying to do so. It seems like a game that is a justification for more DLC purchases and to further suck the life out of franchise that focuses on the lifeless.
The storyline, it seems, is pretty simple. You’d probably miss it if you didn’t do any of the side missions because there were no online matches to play. Basically it seems like it’s your job to do objectives to get samples for the Umbrella Corporation, for some reason. There’s no real long and overarching story in this one, just some flavour text to get you into killing some zombies. And the story that is there… it isn’t very deep. At all.
I would have liked to have seen that the story take on a slightly larger presence within the game. Even though this is a gameplay oriented title, even having a bit more of an overt story would have made people playing the multiplayer portion a little more satisfied. Without something giving you a purpose in the game, the gameplay itself feels really pointless. It’s like: ‘why should I care about winning and collecting samples when I have no idea what it is that these things are actually for’? ‘Am I helping someone? Am I the bad guy? Who knows!?’.
The gameplay in Umbrella Corps is pretty flaky too. You can tell that this is a game made in Unity, even before the big Unity splash launches itself across the screen. It’s like it’s using the default Unity shaders or something. Do you know how Unity games just have that Unity look to them? Well it’s apparent in this release. Nothing against Unity, but I’d rather not be reminded of the engine running the game while I am supposed to be immersed in the game.
Running around and shooting stuff is pretty broken if you’re a keyboard and mouse player. The default settings are too unsensitive to do anything, and when you turn them up, it’s apparent that nobody knows how to program for a mouse at Capcom. This means that unless you have a gamepad laying around (or like me, 2 broken Xbox One controllers because Microsoft can’t build down buttons on D-Pads for the life of them), you wont be getting much enjoyment from playing this in a traditional PC oriented control format.
The game maps vary from tiny arenas to slightly bigger arenas. This makes each map turn into a sprinting knife fight, rather than an excercise in learning new weapons. I knocked out most of the available solo missions by simply running everywhere and knifing all the zombies. In the two online matches that I could find, ever, it seems as though the same strategy is in play online too. There’s just not enough variation in viable strategies or map sizes to even bother trying to create one. Sprint and knife is the key to victory. But on the guns, much like in any shooter, you can ADS, but it’s pointless to do so. In the few instances that you will use one, hip fire is simply more quick and accuracy trade-off is negligible. But why shoot when you can safely knife?
There are a few gametypes available in Umbrella Corps, and they’re mostly variations on things we’ve seen before. In one gametype, you need to kill zombies to collect samples, in another, you need to collect briefcases. There’s also a gametype that is like king-of-the-hill too. Mostly your standard stock gametypes. However, due to how small the maps are, they pretty much turn into knife fights on the objective. And if there isn’t a knife fight on the objective, two people are probably having a sprinting match to knife each other.
Umbrella Corps background OST is the best thing about this game. No joke. It is actually pretty amazing. The limited voice over work is also pretty well done.
Overall, I can’t seem to justify telling anyone that this will be an enjoyable purchase. However, if you’re a diehard Resident Evil fan, you’ll probably still want to get this. But really, with more robust multiplayer gameplay coming out of the actual main releases themselves, buying this seems to be a pointless endeavor.
Rating: Not enough players for zombies /10
Umbrella Corps is released by Capcom here in Australia. This review is based on the PC version of the game as supplied by Capcom’s local PR firm for the purposes of review. You can buy it on Steam for ~$30.