Resident Evil is one of THOSE series. Those series you hear people talk about, those series people have been talking about for years with excitement, those series you've been seeing at your local game store with huge posters showing the game's main characters with awesome ratings written under them. Then, when you reach an age where your parents stop acting like asses and finally let you rent M rated games (or when you're intelligent enough to make sure they don't know about it), you figure out that, because you were one of the few kids who couldn't rent awesome gory stuff like fighting games or shooter because they were judged too violent by your parents, you missed loads and loads of good stuff. That's when I started figuring out that I really, really needed to catch up with THOSE series to understand what the **** is going on.
That's when I started playing oldies to try to understand the greatness of Resident Evil. Luckily, my friend had a few RE games on Gamecube, and I played RE0, RE's remake and RE4. I also made a few visits on fansites and learned a few things about those games. That's how, in a few days, I started understanding what the **** was going on with Resident Evil, and I loved it.
So when I saw trailers from this game, it instantly caught my attention and I really wanted to try it out. Of course, since the very core of destiny is against me, the nearest videoclub with Wii games was so far away from my house that, to play this damn game, I had to get outside, wait for buses for two hours in the cold, rent the game, going home, figuring out that the dumbass from the videoclub put a Soul Calibur Legends CD instead of the game I actually rent, going back to the videoclub and finally ending up playing the game with my friends, who were as exhausted as I was. Conclusion : nearly five hours freezing outside to simply rent the game, which was more than the time I played with it. At least, I could get a nice deal on Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition, so it was pretty worthwhile. But Umbrella's Chronicle had to be good, DAMN GOOD to make me forget what I've been through.
Of course, you'll probably ask me "why the **** are you talking about your life? I just want the ****ing review so I can tell if this game is crap or not" if you didn't already stopped reading. Actually, if I'm saying all this, it's to end up with this shitty ironic conclusion : all my efforts to learn what Resident Evil was were useless, since all I had to do was to rent Resident Evil : Umbrella's Chronicles. Why? Because it covers the storyline of the whole classic RE series (except Resident Evil 2, who was a bit forgotten but there's still an unlockable stage about it), from Zero to 3. That's why, just by renting this game, you'll understand at least the basics of Resident Evil. This game is friendly to everyone, even for people who don't know a damn thing about shooting zombies. In the game, you'll learn the story of the first RE games and you'll also find documents on the game's universe and storyline through the levels. Seriously, it was worth my five hours spent outside, waiting for buses and getting angry at the world when I found that crappy Soul Calibur Legends in the game's box.
As soon as you enter the game, you'll get the hang of it and start destroying your first zombies. The gameplay is very easy to handle and don't require much buttons to remember (B for shooting works fine, that's pretty much it). Little advice : the nunchuk in this game is completely useless (it's supposed to move the camera, but it moves so few of your view that it won't change a thing). Remove it, play only with the Wii remote, it won't change a single thing in the gameplay and you'll keep more batteries in your remotes.
This game can also be played on two players right at the beginning. No need to unlock useless stuff, just sit down with your friend and shoot it all. This game is very addictive, my friend and I kept playing for hours without even asking ourselves if we should do something else. Each level is a new surprise, and we never get tired of it. New monsters, new weapons, new locations at every level. The monsters are greatly designed : you won't only be shooting zombies, you'll also aim at red zombies, lizards on steroids, hyperactive albino monkeys, many swarms of different bugs (just lob a grenade in these, you'll make a fast and easy 100 kills with absolutely no effort), crows (not only is it frustrating to get pwned by a crow, but you'll also have to deal with your laughing friends who can't stop rolling on the floor after a 20 cm tall bird killed you with a peck) and more mutant creatures. Each of them have a weak point, but it's pretty difficult to hit it, so most of the time it's better to just fire in the hole.
One of the nice things about this game is the destructible environment. Everything can be destroyed. Everything. That means walls, windows, portraits, lights, Chuck Norris, everything. A nice thing is that shooting lights is encouraged : you get points for destroying items and you might find precious data files hidden inside the objects, so when you're starting to get the hang of it you'll be shooting every source of light in the room. Of course, you'll end up in total darkness, but it's one of the best ways to score points, so it's your choice.
Like in many arcade games, you'll also have some cutscenes where you'll have to press the right button at the right time. In this game, you'll often have to use these to dodge an attack, to counterattack a zombie's bite (each character has its own counterattack, but Rebecca's is definitely the greatest!) or to escape death during a cutscenes. Some are pretty cool, but other are just stupid (I died because my friend didn't press A when a zombie walked on a land mine).
The boss fights are great and action-packed, they're not too hard and not to easy either, but some are frustrating and repetitive. Wesker's battle against Umbrella's henchmen are a good example : it makes you feel like you're in The Matrix, jumping at incredible heights and shooting stuff, but you'll be doing the same jumps, same attacks and same dodges for the whole fight, which may last nearly ten minutes. Feels great for the two first minutes.
Also, the game lacks a bit of life span, but the many unlockables make it pretty long if you intend to clear every level and to find every unlockable. Clearing every mission on S rank is hard, and it's a pretty good game if all you want is playing a nice co-op shooter with your friends (or girlfriend, since it's a pretty good game to play in couple, as the other dude from the original review said). It's a great game to rent, but I don't suggest buying it.
In conclusion, Resident Evil : Umbrella Chronicles is a great game for arcade lovers, even if they don't know a thing about Resident Evil. Even if the voice acting lacks a bit of work, it's a nice and simple game that's easy to enjoy. I suggest renting before buying, since it's pretty easy to clear it in a few hours. And one more thing : don't let the trailers influence you. I've seen the trailers for this game, and they suck ass. They're full of glitches and the voice acting is ten time worse than in the actual game (they changed most of it). I've seen no glitch in the actual game, so don't worry about that : Wii is more reliable than it looks like.