It was the 16th of September 2015 when Masachika Kawata took the stage at Sony’s Tokyo Game Show conference. You could feel the eagerness build when Capcom unveiled the 20th anniversary logo of its most decorated gaming series, Resident Evil, with every fan’s heart beating at the same pace ‘7…7…7…’
All the hopes of ‘7’ were dashed and fans of the series were introduced to Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps, a third-person multiplayer shooter set in the Resident Evil universe.
Capcom describes Umbrella Corps as short and brutal multiplayer battles designed with a purpose of quick and extreme gameplay. The game will also feature a first-person aim and cover system, allowing players to fire from range. Though it was not what fans expected on the 20th anniversary of the series, for hardcore fans such as myself it is a fresh breather in the series introducing a blend of tactical shooter and survival horror. Capcom announced a similar spinoff, back in 2012 – Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City – set between the events of Resident Evil 2 and 3. The reviewers were absolutely unjust in giving it 2 stars out of 5; I for one thoroughly enjoyed the game for its intense campaign. However, the critics got their wish: Umbrella Corps will not feature single-player.
In a recent 5 minute gameplay preview of 3-on-3 team-based death match, we notice that the zombies will not primarily attack players. However, if special ‘zombie jammers’ on the players’ backs are damaged, nearby zombies become aggressive towards them. Another touch of tactical teamwork is opening shutters. A teammate near you can crouch down and shoot his way out while it’s still opened and you can provide cover fire for your other teammates to enter or leave an area. Another factor is that the gameplay is so intense that there is no hope for campers. As with most shooters, headshots can be really devastating; however, Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps gives us a kind of ‘headshot shield’. Let’s say your opponent is relying on critical shots to keep you off your feet. You can run towards him with your shield up and gun him down with shots of your own or you can use a deadly new melee weapon called ‘the Brainer’ for a quick finisher. The blade can be used for silent kills as well, and duels can occur if two Brainers strike at exactly the same time.
For now Capcom is keeping the details under wraps. However, what really impresses me is that Umbrella Corps is not trying to compete with the likes of Battlefield and Call of Duty. Bottom line, it’s a refreshing start and Umbrella Corps is more than a half-baked endeavour on the multiplayer shooter bandwagon. Umbrella Corps is headed for PS4 and PC digital download early 2016.