Umbrella Corps Review
Extra Features: Online multiplayer (2-6), Leaderboards
I'm a huge fan of Resident Evil (RE) games and often enjoy all games in the RE series through the good and the bad times. I usually find something to enjoy in every RE game that I play. Umbrella Corps might not have "Resident Evil" in the title, but it is said to be canon in the RE storyline by Capcom, so it is part of the main series, story-wise. Umbrella Corps is a third-person team-based competitive multiplayer shooter at its core and it has a single player campaign to go along with it.
The story to Umbrella Corps picks up during 2015, two years after the events of RE6. Even though the Umbrella Corporation was disbanded in 2003, other organizations want to make use of the bioweapon research and past plans of the corporation. And that's where you come in. You are chosen by an organization to search out Umbrella sites to find information on their past endeavors. In the single player campaign, you are considered a test subject that will endure trials by the corporation in order to test out their bioweapons and gear designed as a defense against bioweapons.
The overall story to the game is brief but it is more layered once you start to play through the single player campaign. The story is detailed through text that you can read before each mission and text that appears after each mission. It's really too bad that the single player portion of the game completely falls apart once you get past the story however. The single player is called "The Experiment" and will lead you through several stages of increasing difficulty as you accomplish minimal tasks that are copy and pasted from the game's multiplayer mode, such as defeat creatures and collect their DNA samples, find all the briefcases in the area and take control of a control point for so long. All these mission types repeat throughout the stages of the campaign and sometimes they will be stacked together in one mission. You'll sometimes have to go through a "3 in 1" mission stage and have to accomplish all missions in a row without dying or start from the beginning. This can lead to heavy frustration as you get into the later areas of the game.
The variety of the creatures in the game is quite nice and so is the stage design. You'll fight the familiar zombies, zombie dogs, ganados, majini, plagas enemies and basically any other common enemy that can be found in RE4, RE5 and RE6. Once enemies are defeated, they will dissolve into a pile of goo that will become a spawn point for other enemies. The stages will take you to the Antarctic Base from CVX, the Public Assembly from RE5, the streets of Raccoon City from RE2 and the village from RE4 as well as many other memorable locations. There are also a few new locations like the Tricell facility. Stages are designed to make use of the game's multiplayer for the most part, so each stage often has multiple levels and several doors and vaulting points.
Umbrella Corps multiplayer is where the game truly shines. You get to select from a "One Life Match" or a "Multi-mission Match". Both modes are 3 vs 3 matches. In One Life Match, the only goal is to kill the opposing team of operatives before they kill you in a best of 3 round competition. Every player on each team only gets one life so there are no respawns. Multi-mission allows for unlimited respawns during matches where the rules change per match. You'll be given a new goal per match such as, kill the opposing team, collect collars after killing the opposing team, find all the briefcases in the stage before the opposing team can get them, take control of control points for so long, collect DNA samples from the infected in the area, kill the super infected in the area (plagas enemy, bloodshot, etc.) and so on. Multi-mission is my personal favorite thanks the variety but it can get extremely chaotic with all the respawning. One Life is much less chaotic and more about overall thought and clever techniques in planning out your kills since you can't afford to die.
The overall gameplay for Umbrella Corps is presented in a third person view that almost seems more like first person. Your character will always be to a side of the screen and will be constantly aiming. You can dash with the L3 button and scale obstacles by running against some of them. When you aim the game goes into a first person view where you look down the sights of your gun. Stages are swarming with bioweapon creatures, but every player in the game comes equipped with a "Zombie Jammer" on their character's back that allows you to move by bioweapon creatures and remain unnoticed by them. The zombie jammer can be shot off by enemy players and you will then have to fight off both enemy players and stage creatures. Zombie jammers can be picked up from killed off enemies and there are special grenades that can disrupt the jammers of the opposing team for a while.
While playing in ranked missions, you'll be getting and leveling up with XP that will allow access to a wealth of new weapons, weapons customizations, decals, outfits, icons, and patches. The weapon assortment for Umbrella Corps doesn't go far beyond your standard pistol, machine gun, assault rifle, machine pistol, shotgun, and magnum. The game mainly favors rapid fire over precision fire. I find it odd that Capcom didn't include any type of rifle in Umbrella Corps. The only type of precision fire you get is from zoomed sights in a rapid fire weapon or handgun for the most part. All weapons in the game can be equipped with different sights and suppressors that you unlock through leveling up.
Along with your primary weapon is a choice of a grenade, which comes in a great variety of different grenade types, and you also get a choice of a melee blade weapon. The melee weapon in Umbrella Corps is called a "brainer" and it allows for instant kills from close range. The instant kill animation will leave you open to attacks from other enemy team members and it can be countered with a normal melee attack (R3) or a higher-powered brainer attack. Brainers can be charged to take off more damage per strike for a limited amount of time. Besides the brainer melee, you also get access to a gun strike melee as well.
The overall character customization is rather deep in Umbrella Corps. You can equip your character with several different outfits and masks that you can choose the colors for. You can also customize your back or front side from a variety of different decals designs. Some of the extra decals can be unlocked on the RE.net site as well. One of the biggest flaws with the fantastic customization is that none of it can be carried into the game's single player mode. Once you start single player, you have to play with the guns that the stage gives you and you're stuck with only the default operative appearance which is really a shame.
Now let's get to the rest of the flaws. As you read about up above, the single player mode is very repetitive in mission structure and overall is shallow. Along with the single player, the game has an extreme lack of modes to play. You are only given 3 vs 3 matches in "One Life Match" or "Multi-mission Match" and that is it. No matter how much fun I had for a while in Umbrella Corps, it only lasted for about 3 hours before I got bored with doing the same type of mission over and over. Umbrella Corps is in heavy need of some more modes in both multiplayer and single player. The gameplay has a clunky feel to it, but it is a feel that you can get used to. The only real flaw that I found with the gameplay is that crawling seems too good. You crawl at about half the speed that you walk, which is pretty fast considering how fast the normal walk speed is, so you can easily secure one area by crawling throughout it and firing at enemy players.
Umbrella Corps is definitely not a game for everyone. Many people will play it and call it off as "crap" after only one match because the game is extremely chaotic and the controls start out feeling clunky and take a lot of time to adjust to. Honestly, I feel RE: Operation Raccoon City was overall better mainly for its overall content, variety in play modes, and there were tons of stuff to do in it. Umbrella Corps' main strengths lie in its great customziation and unlockables along with the addicting multiplayer modes. The game still comes out feeling overall shallow however, and it really needs an update to add more gameplay modes to it - whether single player or multiplayer, anything would help out here. RE fans might enjoy this, but it's mainly geared toward players that enjoy team-based competitive shooters. It's really too bad Capcom wouldn't combine this type of multiplayer game into a game with a Mercenaries mode and some type of Predator mode like what we saw in RE6 - at least that would give us something for every type of RE fan.
+ Very nice upgrade system with many unlockables
+ Both multiplayer modes can be addicting
- The game is lacking in modes to play
- Single player is extremely shallow and repetitive
- Characters move too fast while crawling making prone stance seem overpowered
- Single player mode doesn't allow for any customization options that you find in the multiplayer modes
Final Rating: 58% - Umbrella Corps can be fun with friends in multiplayer mode, but it is definitely a game that is not for everyone.