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Resident Evil: Outbreak

Resident Evil: Outbreak

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Reviewed By LessonNo5

There have only been a handful of games as anticipated as Outbreak. For many people who have played the Resident Evil series of games religiously, this game was to be a culmination of years of advanced in the field of gaming. Essentially, it was to be the top game in a class started by the series years ago. Is it really all that, though? Unfortunately, saying that this game puts the genre to bed is a bit of a stretch... Good news is this game is definitely worth the hours of time you’ll no doubt lose to it.

I’m not even going to waste any time in pointing out what is this game’s simultaneous best and worst feature: The online function. Before its release, everyone was raving about the online play. Finally, you and your friends can hook up and survive in the midst of an outbreak. Right away when I got my copy, I signed right up and logged in to try it out. With friends, this game really is a blast. The problem is, as with the case with so many online games, there are lots of real dicks out there. I noticed almost immediately that the strong were preying on the weak, little co-operation, factions or “guilds”, and just general dicks with their dickery. This, unfortunately, made the great online feature a lot less fun.... Damn that human element.

This game takes place in Raccoon City again, with the spread of the T-Virus. You take the role of an everyday citizen. Actually, it's one of eight citizens... A cop, a security guard, a doctor, a waitress, a plumber, a subway driver, a student, and a journalist. Before playing the game, I had wondered how Capcom would manage to keep a plot throughout the game, given the variety of characters to choose from, and the fact that the game can transfer online. My question was soon answered after popping the disk in... They can't. There's no story at all, which is really too bad, because the storyline is the only thing that really sucked in the hardcore fans... The rest of it's all just running and shooting. I'm thinking that there was a meeting at Capcom one day about this very problem. I believe the consensus was something like, "Who's going to care about story? You can go online, man!!" At least that's what I'd like to believe.

The individualized characteristic of each particular character ALMOST makes up for the lack of story, as you can literally experiment with the characters for hours on end. However, if you're anything like me, you'll probably have a favorite picked out after trying them all once and just go with them. That's just me, though. Each character also has separate cut-scenes, intros, and endings, which is incentive for plaything through with all the characters. Which means that if you want all the endings, you'll have to play with every character. That doesn't mean you have to like it though, I guess...

The game play in this game is a lot like all the other Resident Evil games. A lot of changes were made in regards to player manipulation of the background. This is a huge bonus, as I've felt it's always been a weakness in RE games. The ability to barricade doors, for example, is a feature I often wish would be included in ALL horror games. Really, in this game, there's so much interaction and there are so many options, you'll never have want of an out in a zombie fight. You can also interact with other players (computer or human) in all kinds of cool ways. Helping up a fallen team member, exchanging items (though it seems the other players online have a problem with that.) It's all part of the game, because this time it's not about Leon or Jill surviving... It's about everyone making it out alive. This is made a little more difficult by the "bleeding" effect in the game. In other games, zombies have been able to see you and react. In this one, they can smell the blood on you, and they come running. They'll follow trails of fresh blood and sniff you out.

Since this game lacks a storyline, Capcom threw in a slew of Easter eggs to collect. You earn points by playing and buy extras at a collection menu. Fun, I guess, but I'd still rather have had something to continue the story. Oh well... I won't get into the Easter eggs too much, because that's the point of playing. Suffice it to say that most of the time the extras are worth your time.

That's the stand-alone part of the game... But what about online? I mean, that's really the point of this game, right? Well, sorry, but I wasn't happy. Slow loading, a lack of scenarios, uncooperative players... I mean, what's the point? Well, you have to go online to get 100% completion, so there's your only real incentive. The playing with other humans across the world was the most disappointing part to me. It's basically turns into a chomp-fest. Someone gets infected, other refuses to help, so the infected one rises up and infects him or her. So on and so on... This problem is remedied when playing with friends, but then you have the loading times and lack of scenarios to deal with. No matter whom you play with, it's never fun to wait for the same door to open 50 times as you run back and forth across the same area. It's also a problem when you can't really communicate to your fellow team members. The game comes with some pre-recorded commands you can give. That's it.

In all other respects, this is another RE. Nothing more or less. The sound, v/o, and music are exactly what you'd expect... Which is too bad. I was hoping to be blown away, but I wasn't. I think it was the hype attached to the game. After all that calmed down, I found this game to be pretty solid. It's Resident Evil, after all. For all its flaws and glitches and problems, I still found myself enjoying it like I did Nemesis. Still a must-have.


(Out of 5)

Getting up and chomping my friend for not healing me in time. Sweet revenge... bRains.... BRaIns.... BRAINS!!!!
Finally, a game where you can actually decide to be a hero, or a weak character. Something for everybody.

PS2 - 03/31/04
Online, 1-4 players

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Q1 2005 - PC/XB/PS2