My personal favourite of the Resident Evil series, this game takes you back to the classic RE setting of Raccoon City. Almost the entire population of Raccoon City have become the undead, thanks to the outbreak of the T Virus. Only a handful of people have not succumbed to the effects of the virus... yet. These are the eight characters who you were introduced to in the first RE Outbreak game. Eight regular citizens who were just going about their ordinary lives when the outbreak occured, and they have now found themselves living in a nightmare.
To begin with, you are given 4 scenarios to choose from (plus a training mission which takes place in J's Bar) If you try the training mission, you get to learn the basic functions of the game, as well as a bit of information about the character you are playing as. This is extremely helpful for if you unfamiliar with previous RE titles, and also if you find you are struggling with the main levels.
When you are ready to try the main scenarios, you find that each one is set in a different location within Raccoon City- Wild Things, Underbelly, Flash back and Desperate Times. After chosing your scenario, you get to choose 3 characters- the one who you play as, and the two allies who will join you.
"Wild Things" takes place in the city zoo. Your objective is to reach the evacuation point located at the other end of the zoo. Unfortunately all the animals have become infected and broken free from their cages, including a rampaging mutated elephant, hyenas, monstrous jungle birds, poisonous insects, an alligator and a pride of lions. While the idea of a zombie zoo might sound quite comical, I think it's a powerful reminder of how man kind as well as Umbrella have been messing with nature.
"Underbelly" takes you into Raccoon City's subway system. This is a much better zombie scenario, as you get to explore the labyrinthian passages where the subway staff were operating. Halfway through playing this scenario, you will find that the tunnels have become infested with gigantic mutant insects. Predictably, you will have to fight against the largest bug of them all as a boss if you hope to escape.
"Flash Back" begins in the Arkley Mountains on the outskirts of Raccoon City. The zombies in this level are slightly different from the regular foes. They have strange poisonous plants growing out of their necks which attack you with spores. Eventually, you will discover an old abandoned hospital in the forest, which is completely over grown with more venomous plants. And to top it off, an axe-wielding maniac chases you all the way through the scenario. As you explore the hospital, you will discover more sinister facts about what Umbrella were up to before all of this stuff happened.
"Desperate Times" brings you right back to the Police Station from RE2- this time you are assisted by a group of armed police officers who patrol areas of the Police Station while you explore the level to find items that will help you escape. For me, this is the most scarey scenario as the police station becomes more and more overrun with the zombie onslaught. It also has a dramatic climax, in which you learn a bit more about police officer Marvin who you encounter in RE2.
Complete all four of those scenarios, and you get to play the final chapter in the outbreak series- "End of the Road". In this chapter, your characters have taken refuge in an Umbrella facility (Similar to the one in the movie) The staff who you meet in the facility are planning to escape by helicopter, when there is a lock down, and you find that the creatures they were experimenting on (yes, the Hunters!) have broken free and are now making a meal of all the scientists. You must work with two of the Umbrella researchers to subdue the hunters and find a way to escape the city once and for all. As well as the Hunters, you also run into the Tyrant several times, and you encounter the UBCS forces who, undoubtedly, resort to drastic measures to control the epidemic on Raccoon City. "End of the Road" brings an exciting conclusion to the events of Raccoon City, as it takes you from the facility, to the sewers, and eventually to the top of a building as you make your final exit.
For me, the most appealing thing about this game is the characters- they are not STARS opperatives who have been trained to handle a situation- they are just regular people who wanna get the hell out of the city before they meet a horrible death. You actually get to rely on their individual skills- the police officer and security guard are good at fighting enemies, while the waitress and doctor are much better at healing allies. The plumber is equipped with tools which are good for combining items into useful weapons. I have always olved games with multiple playable characters, in which you get to explore each of their strengths and weaknesses in different situations.
I have still not tried playing this game online yet, so I can not tell you about the multiple player experience. I can tell you that the AI of your allies is this game's major disadvantage- especially when the characters stand around doing nothing while you're fighting for your life. Although, they normally always help you if you are wounded, and will give you weapons, ammo and items if you request them.
There is also an array of extras- you earn points from completing scenarios. You can use these points to purchase extra costumes for the playable characters, as well as being able to play as some of the NPCs that you meet in the scenarios(Although playing as them does not change events at all, which would be nice if it did.) There is also an image gallery if you want to view capcom's fancy artwork and concepts, and you can also collect sound effects and music if you want to listen. There also extra playable survival modes where you can either run around killing a number of enemies before the timer runs out, or go up against the bosses from all the scenarios, including bosses from outbreak 1 (You can not use allies for these bonus games)
If you are die hard fan of the original RE games where you only play as one character, then outbreak file #2 may not be for you. This game contains many decent cut scenes, but the fact that you have friends running around calling out your name does reduce the creepy atmosphere and might put off most traditional RE fans. The music and sound effects are not the most scarey I've heard in a RE game, but the voices and dialogues are a slight improvement over previous titles. All in all, I'd say that Outbreak file #2 is an aesthetically pleasing RE game, which lets you delve once again into the mythologies of Umbrella and Raccoon city . I think this game could easily introduce some new fans into the RE experience.