Umbrella Corps Starts to Take Shape - PreviewChris Matulich , posted on 14 October 2015 / 5,281 Views
A while back, Resident Evil began a transition from survival horror to action horror. The Revelations series brought the game back to its roots to a large extent, feeling much more like the series' legacy survival horror games. Capcom hasn't abandoned the action however, as the upcoming Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps demonstrates. It catapults the series into the team-based shooter genre.
The demo I played showcased 3v3 action which takes place in an overrun laboratory. The final player count hasn't been set yet, but 3v3 seems to work pretty well. You play as an Umbrella operative against other operatives vying for a spot in the corporation while also trying to keep the zombie horde at bay. Matches are broken up into best of five rounds with no respawns during rounds. Players are able to select their loadouts before the first round, though they're then locked in for the length of the match.
Zombies don't initially start attacking players, as each person is equipped with a zombie Jammer which makes the zombies believe nobody's there. However, once you take damage, the zombies will begin to pursue you in earnest, adding a Left 4 Dead-like element to the game. The overall structure seems to work well in 3v3 (though I'd like to see more players), although some balancing needs to take place.
The game generally feels like a fast paced Resident Evil, with most of the controls being a mix of recent RE games and other third person shooters. The demo only offers up a couple of weapons and from these the shotgun is the best option. In fact, it feels quite overpowered within the confines of the close-quarters map. You can also snap to cover in certain parts of the level that are highlighted blue, but staying in one place is usually a recipe for a quick death.
Operatives go down fairly quickly, many times with just a couple of shots from an SMG or machine gun, and usually with just one shotgun blast. Although the zombies can become a threat in large numbers, even when the zombie jammer is broken they're typically easily dispatched with your melee brainer or pistol. I'm not sure if special zombies like Lickers or the Tyrant are set to be included, but it would definitely add a deeper sense of urgency to the zombie threat if they do make it into the game. The gameplay feels very polished, but the final game will certainly a wealth of game modes or varied zombie threats if it's to avoid becoming stale rather quickly.
I was impressed by the level design and the overall art style. The map in the demo is balanced for both sides and gives each team enough opportunities to flank the other or find cover from which to ambush the opposition. When you die for the round, you're given an aerial view of the level rather than following one of your teammates, which gives a better perspective of how the level is laid out for future rounds.
The decayed lab setting provided a suitably creepy vibe, with great lighting creating deep shadows to hide in. While the environment looks great, the Umbrella operatives and the zombies are a bit bland. However, for what will ultimately be a budget digital title, the visuals are definitely serviceable.
Though it's a change of pace for the Resident Evil series, Umbrella Corps is shaping up to be a decent team-based shooter. However, if the basic formula isn't expanded upon and the zombie threat made more potent and engaging then it could just become another passed-by budget title. Let's hope Capcom has more up its sleeve for Umbrella Corps.
Umbrella Corps is set to release on the PS4 and PC early next year.