Wii Fanboy Review: Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles

Before we start this, you might want to know that this blogger is a huge Resident Evil fan. I've got every Resident Evil game, countless posters, shirts and figurines from the various games. The original was one of the most important games in my development as a gamer. It helped make me the gamer I am today.

And when the franchise hit the GameCube, it was the icing on the cake. The Resident Evil remake that appeared on the system was amazing, along with Resident Evil 0 and the game that even franchise haters couldn't ignore, Resident Evil 4. As the first original game in the series on a Nintendo console since RE 4, this was an important game in my eyes.

One has to consider the other spin-off Resident Evil titles, also. You might be skeptical to try out Umbrella Chronicles because of the Gun Survivor or Outbreak games. This, thankfully, is not in the same league as that riffraff.

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Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles acts as a retelling of the previous entries in the series, including some new tidbits tossed in for good measure. So, if you've come to Umbrella Chronicles as a light-gun version of these games, offering up segments from those past titles that you remember as being worth highlighting to be played in a new way, you might be disappointed.


The previous games in the series really get butchered, from a story standpoint and situationally (not to mention that RE2 and RE4 are completely ignored). You don't find the same enemies at the same places. Heck, you don't even visit most of the places in those games. But, in the end, it's a necessary evil as the game just wouldn't flow as well as it does should that have been the case.

So, with a rather liberal take on the previous games' stories, the scenarios and events have been pumped up with more action. This, of course, means more things to shoot. And there is plenty of that, because you'll be blasting zombies, lickers and really tough bosses. The game is incredibly action-packed and does a good job of tossing a lot at you.


This creates a feeling of tension throughout the game that leaves the player panicked and excited throughout its entirety. It makes you so tense that you might slip on your aiming or make a bad judgment call when choosing to switch to another weapon, or, even worse, missing an opportunity to reload. Because as much as this game is full of action and seems like a mindless affair where all the player has to do is aim and shoot, each situation is extremely dangerous (you will die ... a lot) and you have to make decisions in the manner of seconds that can either greatly help you or get you killed.

The game also does a good job with weaponry and hit detection. Not only do the various weapons act like they should (shotgun is junk at long range, automatics work best in short bursts, etc.), you also have to adapt to your enemies. Shooting zombies is a walk in the park, but shooting the faster enemies means you actually have to lead them and take into account their attributes. This makes a deliberate, careful approach to every encounter that much more important in surviving the game.


Now, we come to the worst part of the game: its graphics. For a "Mature" rating, the game doesn't have as much blood and gore as you would suspect, especially from a Resident Evil game. Not only that, but the game doesn't display correctly in 16:9, leaving black bars on both sides of the screen. Aside from that, some of the game's textures are really undefined and the game can be incredibly dark sometimes. This isn't a deal breaker by any means, but on those occasions where you have time to stop and smell the roses, the imperfections easily make themselves known.

Despite its lack of settings from two of the best entries in the franchise (Resident Evil 2 and 4), Umbrella Chronicles is a game that needs to be in every RE, and zombie, fan's collection. While we didn't play the game with the Wii Zapper (it released a week before the peripheral), we can't see it improving the game that much. Playing the title with just the Wiimote and nunchuk is fine enough for us.

Final score: 8.5

This article was originally published on Joystiq.