Yeah, since the recent trailer for the new Resident Evil film reboot came out recently, it would be fine to look at something that even the most hardcore contrarian fans would agree upon, aka the deliberately forgotten Umbrella Corps, so bad Capcom didn’t even use the Resident Evil name on it.
I picked it up years later, for 3 bucks on the PSN, since the game received a physical release on consoles only in Japan, as in they sold a box with a manual, the OST on 2 CDS, but no disk, so there’s no point in importing it from Japan, even for collectors of retail releases, not that we’re gonna lose much when it’ll get unvailable to purchase.
Also, i didn’t bother with the multiplayer at all, since it was hard to get players at launch for the two measly types of matches this game had. They added another (4 Versus) eventually, as the game now makes sure to tell you, but i’m kinda expecting a game like this to add some maps and make fixes in time… though in this case i’m not sure WHY, as this was kicked out of the door just to recoup costs.
It would take some real shit to do even worse than Operation Raccoon City, but of course someone will always rise to the challenge, even if it isn’t worth pursuing. Umbrella Corps did.
You know what? At least The Mercenaries 3D was fun, even with the recycle of assets and locales from RE 4 and 5, because The Mercenaries was a fun arcade-style mode.
Here it just shit from every way you look at it, even if you’re willing to look past the crappy graphics and the Tecmo Koei-esque reuse of assets and maps from older titles, like the RE 4 village area, the Tricell lab-office, the RE 5 african village. Though they’re not totally identical, and the traversal abilities of the player controlled characters could add something to the experience… if this wasn’t so half-baked in everything, design included, so they really don’t, they are just kinda there.
The only thing that lets this one get more than 1 out 10 is that at least it works. Kinda.
At least they remembered to have iron sights/precision aiming, Infernal: Hell’s Rage can’t even claim that. But then again, even that game decided what to do with its camera, Umbrella Corps it’s a third person shooter but it implies a worse version of the “2D person camera view”, so the stupid ass generic Umbrella goon you control takes too much space on screen and has to hold the gun in an absurd way, it’s so fuckin stupid. Because the character handles even basic pistols like rifles.
I guess the prospective is what you get when you can’t decide between third person or first… and don’t wanna copy the over the shoulders one that worked in previous RE games (for some reason), and still put precision aiming that’s basically FPS iron sight. It’s so stupid that you have to make your character crouch in order to see a bit better what’s going on… but of course you move slower.
For some reason, the game has a cover sytem…. i don’t how they managed to make it worse than the one see in RE 6, but it’s a mystery why it was included at all, since it’s absolutely pointless, the levels clearly don’t factor in the existence of a cover system AT ALL. Obviously it’s kinda pointless when confronting zombies since they don’t have fire arms or ranged attacks, but i can’t imagine it making more sense against humans and other players, as i’ve seen videos of matches displaying how unbalanced it all is, meaning it’s mostly a “instakill ice pick vs instakill ice pick” duel.
The game doesn’t have a campaign, but a close approximation, with The Experiment, a string of 24 single player-only matches… played without humans, but offering a sample of the gameplay, built first and foremost for a 3 VS 3 experience. “Built”.
And because of that i don’t feel bad for not bothering with the multiplayer (aside the fact it’s dead, it has been for years, arguably from the week after launch), because it’s shit, i can feel it is even without ever playing it myself. Or being able to anymore. I did check some options and the customization isn’t that bad, to be honest, but the game modes are very few, very familiar, as in either a 3 VS 3 squad deathmatch, or 3 rounds where you tasked to accomplish objectives.
The “levels” in The Experiment can last from 1 to 3 rounds, imitating a multiplayer match, and each match you’re given an objective… from 3. Shot zombies and collect 20 DNA samples, capture bases around the map, retrieve briefcases, retrieve 3 DNA samples from powerful mutated monsters.
That’s really it. It becomes downright comical, with the first “extra level” being 3 rounds of collecting DNA samples from enemies. Yes, even more of the same recycled garbage.
To say it becomes IMMEDIATLY repetitive would be correct, because it is, and there’s no real variation. Sometimes you’ll be in another location doing the same tedious DNA sample collect-a-thon, or you will be given very little ammo, but that’s really it.
20 minutes in (at the very best) and you will have seen everything this game has to offer.
The enemies are…. far from smart, as you can often see a zombie stuck running into a fence it forgot it can actually climb over, or a dog zombie trying in vain to get down from a place he actually can’t, sprinting like an idiot into an invisible wall. To compensate for their “IA” they’re just cheap as shit, which leads to many cheap deaths, especially frustrating because levels don’t have checkpoints.
The missions often add a type of weapon or grenade that will most likely work against you when you need it most (yeah, let’s give them fire grenade in a stage where it’s useless and even the sticky grenades would work better), you can’t change weapons load out (unless you swap new weapons or weapon mods found in the level, but these reset each round), and especially later levels are sadistically composed to make it nearly impossible, with fast enemies like the dogs blending with the black and reds stain on the screen (the Raccoon City replica level is a major offender in this regard)… or each other, and often spawning faster than usual directly on the capture point.
So you have to keep trying the missions, so you can learn where some special enemies spawn or get lucky, either by having the game assigning as “base locations” some random but easy to defend places in that run, or by exploiting some of the unfinished garbage design, there’s one mission taking place in the Raccoon City replica map where you have to get DNA from the powerful Regenerados-lookalikes, which is easy once you figure out they can’t crawl (like the zombie dogs), so you can just shoot them from under the upsidedown broken ambulance car window, they will just get stuck running in place, most likely won’t even try to get you from the other side of the vehicle.
Powerful mutants my fuckin ass, the dogs are more challenging to take down… but then again, shooting isn’t exactly 100% precise and clean anyway.
It’s also hard to gauge how powerful the enemies are, as even in later stages you can kill off regular zombies with one melee attack… if you do it at a certain angle, otherwise they might take two, it’s unclear just how sometimes you can be downed with just two scruffles from bargain zombies and almost one-shotted, so it’s just better to not get hit. You can’t even trust this game’s damage system.
To escalate the crap factor there’s the awful interface, they slapped a mini-radar into it to compensate for the bad camera and – in theory – avoid enemies ambushing you from every angle obscured by the awful prospective, YES, but it’s practically useless, since it doesn’t display enemies in a readable way (the compass thingie is more useful) and i completely forgot it even existed, despite taken a big chunk of the interface.
The fact they insert the Zombie Jammer, a tool that makes the zombies ignore you unless you shoot them or make big noises, in itself it’s a patch for both making the single player mode more tenable in the later missions (more useful than using zombies as meat shields), and even for multiplayer it’s kinda of a band-aid cop-out, since the combination of the levels themselves not being that big and the rounds being 3 to 5 minutes means there’s no really not much room for strategy.
There’s not much of a story, just some lore text notes written by Abraham Johson (and later other faceless nobodies in his stead) with the maturity of a 5 yo, since a good chunk is him complaining about a mysterious dude snooping around and overseeing his experiments, which take place in iconic locations of the RE series.
To quote “i hate him and his stupid nose”.
The plot that can ultimately be clawed from these dumps is about Umbrella selecting the best goons by making them face each other in battles between 2012 and 2013.
Except for agent “A-327”, the player character, put into the titular Experiment where they try to kill you in missions manufactured to have 0% survival rate, both to test you and better sells the BOWs, you defy all odds and just survive, earning yourself the nickname of “ the new Mr. Death” (vaguely implying you are H.U.N.K or on par him with) …. still, doesn’t fuck explain what becomes of you.
The wikia put things together a little better (and apparently there’s a bit of lore to be found in the online scuffles, i guess to give some vague context and reason to these identical looking dudes in gas masks fighting each other), but it’s all boring, vague and non-descript anyway. Whatever.
Btw, the final mission it’s just 3 rounds of DNA samples collecting (fitting, if nothing else), they just raise the number of samples needed, but by then you know how to exploit the systems in place.
No final boss, no cutscene, no special reward… i didn’t even get the trailer for the game itself like you’re supposed to, guess i was supposed to do the “extra levels” before tackling the final mission. I didn’t, silly me?
So for beating the “story mode” you just get decals. Not even pogs. Or Boglins.
Of course it’s a laughably short… “experience” (campaign is a strong word for this), as you can finish this mode in under 3 hours of boredom (or between ¾ hours, hard to say because you don’t get even a mission result of total playtime in that mode, nothing), tedium and frustration, with the same very small handful of objectives (mostly “DNA sample collecting”) and the 24 missions spread among just 6 locations, of which only the arctic base might be original content.
The only passable thing about it it’s the soundtrack, despite how ill fitting it is in a RE game… one they knew was such a turd they didn’t put Resident Evil in the title, couldn’t bring themselves to do it, just this tidbit it’s telling of how ASS they knew it was.
Let’s be honest, Capcom (and this was developed internally, handled by Capcom’s Osaka division) knew they weren’t gonna make the new e-sports sensation, but wanted (and had to have) something out to quickly rape the wallets of the less distrusting, the less informed or the loyal, and release it with no fanfare, a red flag as it often is a game launching with no hype, not even the usual drummed up from the very company that sells it. It’s no surprise most people didn’t knew this fuckin thing was out, and so it became a dead multiplayer focused game immediatly.
Kinda wished they made an entire game about the Mercenaries gameplay format, and expanded upon it big time. Kinda surprised Capcom never did that but instead pulled out shit like the RE Resistance multiplayer mode for RE 3 Remake (but also had the good sense of delaying that RE Re:Verse multiplayer title to 2022 after that open beta in 2021 didn’t go well), gotta chase that Dead By Deadlight money, i guess.
Maybe get better developers, next time. Or don’t bother.