Umbrella Corps Review

Umbrella Corps Review

Rotten to the Corps

Capcom stealthily released Umbrella Corps with little fanfare, and I daresay that was the right move: this isn’t a game that I’d want to promote as representative of either Capcom or the Resident Evil franchise. It feels like a half-baked grad school project from a budding developer who got really good working with Unity. Umbrella Corps has no real sense of identity, its maps are too small for the speed of play, the gameplay gets old quickly, and it’s pretty buggy at the moment. The latter annoyance may be alleviated by a patch in the near future, but unfortunately I can’t imagine how Capcom could improve the rest of the game.

First of all, if you’re a Resident Evil fan looking for some thrilling zombie-hunting action, you’ll want to avoid this game entirely. The single-player mode, called “The Experiment,” is insultingly dull and repetitive. Stage after stage you’ll run through a handful of boring maps, shooting and whacking zombies that barely respond to your presence at all, and picking up the various vials that they drop. The difficulty ramps up quite a bit, but it’s not enough make things interesting. Sometimes you’re asked to hold a position, hunt down a special type of walker, or do this, or that… or whatever. Every stage, no matter the objective, feels like a boring chore. I always felt like I was checking off a to-do list rather than playing a game.

So what? The single-player was very clearly shoehorned in and isn’t rewarding at all, but this game is all about the multiplayer anyway. Unfortunately, Umbrella Corps ‘ lack of content and sense of direction becomes painfully apparent after spending some serious time online. Progress and experience are only attained by playing Ranked Mode, and there are currently only two options to choose from when deciding how you want to play. There’s a single-life mode, which is basic team deathmatch with no respawning. Alternatively, you can opt for the “Multi Mission” mode, which combines a handful of different game types back to back in five-round matches. Game types include domination, protector (an oddball variant), collector (first team to collect and hold five briefcases wins), collar war (kill confirmed), and a few team deathmatch variants. All ranked and public matches are 3v3 unless set up differently in a custom match.

I feel like I should at least give Capcom props for attempting to create something unique here. To their credit, there are some layers of strategy that really could have amounted to something special and unique if properly fleshed out. Zombies are present in every multiplayer match. Each player is equipped with a jammer that conceals their presence from the surrounding undead, but when you take damage from opponents, that jammer is usually the first thing to go. With your jammer destroyed, the map turns against you and you have to worry about not only the enemy team, but every zombie that will then stumble your way to try to score some brains. In a game of domination, for example, you don’t always need to take out the player holding down the objective point. If you can take out his jammer, the surrounding walkers will become ravenously interested in him and do the dirty work for you. Considering that you can also use zombies as body-shields and unlock an array of gadgets and grenades, you’d think the gameplay would be more satisfying. Things just didn’t come together well.

Umbrella Corps Screenshot

Gameplay is fast, clumsy, and generally unsatisfying no matter which game type you’re playing. The third-person perspective feels really cumbersome this time around, with your character’s backside taking up almost half of the screen. Holding L2 to switch to ADS mode for precision aiming is risky, because once you’re aiming down the sights you start moving very slowly, making it damn near impossible to track a moving target. “Moving target” is an understatement, by the way, since the movement speed in this game is pretty bananas. Every player has a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, and a special melee weapon called a brainer. Movement and sprint speed is boosted greatly when wielding a brainer, and on most stages it’s possible to zip from one end of the map to the other in 15 seconds or less.

Umbrella Corps Screenshot

That may sound exciting, but it’s really not. Umbrella Corps is being sold as an intense team-shooter. The smaller, 3v3 setting led fans to believe that this would be like Rainbow 6 with zombies, but it’s not. Almost everyone online tends to favor the brainer exclusively. You get that great speed boost, making you nearly impossible to shoot unless you’re running straight at a foe, and even then the brainer has a ranged melee attack that will launch you forward to deal a one-hit deathblow to whoever is standing in your way. The brainer can be parried, but not if it’s charged.

The lack of weapon balancing and inappropriate speed of play ensures that most matches are utterly chaotic, and I’m not talking a DOOM , “hey, this is awesome, I can barely keep up with this blazing action” kind of chaotic. This doesn’t feel like that. It feels unpolished chaotic; alpha phase chaotic; “please bear with us while we patch this to hell” chaotic.

Umbrella Corps Screenshot

I’m not sure who Umbrella Corps is supposed to appeal to. Small-team tactical shooter fans aren’t going to get the thrill that they’re looking for here; gameplay is too fast-paced and hectic for any kind of prolonged cohesion or strategic approach. First-person shooter fans certainly won’t appreciate the burdensome over-the-shoulder view and clunky ADS aiming. Resident Evil fans will likely be disappointed in Umbrella Corps ‘ single-player offering, redundant and stale as it is. I feel with this game that Capcom was reaching out to a few different core audiences, but failed to deliver anything so compelling as to satisfy any of them.

I might recommend this game for $15 if you have some friends to play with, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it at its current price point and in its current state. On a community forum I saw a deflated Resident Evil fan quip that Umbrella Corps is about 15 patches away from greatness, and I have to say that’s my sentiment exactly. I gave this game several chances, but after turning off my PS4 and walking away from it just now, I’m realizing that I have no motivation to boot Umbrella Corps back up when there are so many alternatives that look, sound, feel, and play better. Wait for a sale and pick this up cheaply if you’re a die-hard fan, but keep your friends close and your expectations low.

This would have been acceptable on a PS3, but only barely. Textures are bland, animations are awkward, and frame rates are inconsistent. 3.0 Control
Movement and aiming is either slow and clumsy or way too fast. 2.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music and voice work is totally forgettable. Weapons, moans, and explosions sound pretty canned and wimpy. 2.6 Play Value
Only hardcore fans will love this one. The single-player blows and multiplayer gets stale after an hour or two. 2.9 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Join the corps! Umbrella Corps brings a competitive experience featuring new types of strategy and technique blended with elements from the world of Resident Evil.
  • Experience intense close and mid-range combat with analog aim and cover mechanics, nerve-wracking no-respawn matches, and many other game modes!
  • Free, post-launch support on the way bringing new maps and a new game mode.

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