From the get go, I've had my doubts about Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. This past weekend's Tokyo Game Show represented my third chance at going hands-on with the survival horror spin-off, with my impression of the game changing very little. Now, with the exception of Wario Ware Smooth Moves and Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, I'm not a motion control convert. And the Wii Zapper? I'd rather just not discuss it. At TGS, I finally got to experience the game with the third control scheme, using the nunchuk and Wii-mote sans Zapper.
Game Developer Magazine editor Brandon Sheffield was kind enough to be my goth sidekick, braving a long walk through sunlight to act as the Rebecca to my Carlos. We worked our way through the majority of the zombie-infested train level from Resident Evil 0, ultimately losing to the end-of-level boss, a giant scorpion with a sensitive stinger.
Along the way, we unceremoniously shot stuff, often confusing one another's reticles for the other's, resulting in loads of wasted effort. The same was true for the last minute evade moves, ones that require rapid button presses or really frantic Wii-mote waving. Eventually, we realised we were standing on the wrong side of the screen in relation to our players and switched spots. It kind of helped.
There's something about Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles that just makes it difficult to get excited about. I think the most glaring problem is this: it's not fun. There's little sense of danger or feedback from the game that you're unloading hundreds of rounds on hordes of the undead. It's very sterile.
When we sat down with the game's producer, Masachika Kawata, Luke and I were pressing him for something that could get us excited to play it of our own accord. Would there be puzzles? No. Series of quick time events? Nope. There will be cut scenes, however! Ten hours of pointing and trigger pulling may be your thing, though.
I suppose the game will really appeal to those who absolutely love Resident Evil unconditionally. It's going to flesh out the storyline for those who care about the fall of the Umbrella Corporation. But it looks like it will also provide a fresh look at the series for those who are looking for arcade-style shooting using their Wii controllers. And those are both goals of Masachika Kawata, who really wants to bring in new fans.
Unfortunately, I don't really fall into either of those camps, so Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles feels like a "pass" to me.