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.
|Getting up and chomping my friend for not healing
me in time. Sweet revenge... bRains.... BRaIns....
|Finally, a game where you can actually decide to
be a hero, or a weak character. Something for everybody.
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Q1 2005 - PC/XB/PS2
TBA - RPG