Capcom's latest spinoff to the Resident Evil franchise is a competitive multiplayer shoot named Umbrella Corps. Read on to see if it does the franchise justice.
Capcom announced that it would be producing a multiplayer Resident Evil spinoff game almost a year ago, and judgment day has come for Umbrella Corps. The game puts players in the roles of trained mercenaries hired by various corporations, each of which are attempting to steal research from the now defunct Umbrella Corporation. The plot more or less stops there, and Umbrella Corps immediately throws players into the action - which, as we discovered, is a mixed bag of confusing gameplay mechanics.
To be fair, things start off well for the game. The first thing players will be able to do is customize their soldier, and Capcom gives plenty of options here. Players are free to decorate their soldiers as they see fit, and will unlock more customization options as they rank up in multiplayer and accomplish more tasks. Players can put patches on their helmet, change their outfit colors, and even put a logo on their jammer, one of the most interesting additions in the game.
Each player is equipped with one jammer, and it makes them invisible to the undead hordes which litter each map. If it gets damaged by a stray enemy bullet, zombies will be able to detect the player and make things much more difficult for them. It's a neat concept that we really enjoyed, but the rest of the game sucks out all the entertaining potential this idea brought to the table.
Multiplayer throws players into one of two 3-vs-3 modes: one-life deathmatch, and an objective-based mode that swaps objectives every round. The maps are set to a very small scale to increase the pace of gameplay between the 6 players and a never-ending stream of zombies. Though the maps all manage to bring unique locations to the table, they're so tiny that players can be instantly killed upon spawn, which is a frustrating experience.
Once players get a chance to enter the fray, they will immediately be confused by the various game mechanics Capcom has thrown together in the shooter. Players fight from an over-the-shoulder view, which switches to first person when they use iron sights. Movement of the game is fast, but turning in close quarters can be agonizingly slow. Crouching and going prone are also possible, though Capcom has made it so players barely get a decrease to movement speed when doing so. There needs to be a balance to actions in tactical games, but Capcom has thrown this concept right out the window. The result is hectic combat that isn't really fun, and undermines the need for teamwork among squad mates.
Unfortunately, all of the above mechanics are negated by the inclusion of a brutal melee weapon called The Brainer. Players can charge up this weapon, but even without doing so it seems more than capable of granting one-hit kills on both living and undead enemies, and is effective from several paces away. Unfortunately, since players can run at a fast pace with the weapon with zero downsides, this means matches almost always devolve into a frantic melee showdown. Most games give weapons advantages and disadvantages, but The Brainer is simply so overpowered that it changes the game completely.
Players can also lock themselves into cover, a half-baked mechanic which doesn't lend itself to the kind of fast-paced game Umbrella Corps is - players who find themselves locked to cover are at a serious disadvantage the moment they need to move. Since changing directions from a stationary location is an agonizingly slow process in the game, this allows both enemy players and zombies an easy chance to come in and kill the player. To be honest, we're not sure why Capcom really included the cover-based mechanic, as it is awkwardly out of place with how the game is designed to function.
Those looking for a story to rival Resident Evil should certainly look elsewhere too, as the single player campaign dubbed 'The Experiment' boils down to a series of multiplayer tasks done by a solo player, with a brief introductory paragraph added to each new challenge that the player completes. Those who've played multiplayer first will become instantly bored with the mode, which presents less challenge than its online counterpart - and adds absolutely nothing to experience.
What it boils down to is that Umbrella Corps is an interesting idea that had potential, but was ultimately ruined by poor execution. A boring excuse for a single player mode combined with a series of non-complimentary game mechanics have turned Umbrella Corps into its own version of a confused, shambling husk. The game doesn't know what it wants to be, and as a result, this is another lackluster spinoff from Capcom - one we're eager to forget. And judging by the empty game lobbies, we're not alone.
Umbrella Corps is currently available for PC and PS4. Game Rant was given a PC code for this review.