Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles HD Review

At times, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles HD is awkward. The menu voiceover is awkward; some of the dialogue is side-splittingly bizarre; the occasional trudge through an empty corridor, glowing PS Move brandished in hand heroically, makes you feel less like Bruce Willis and more like Bruce Forsyth — with a glowing phallus in his hand. And that’s awkward. However, for the occasional moment of discomfort, Umbrella Chronicles delivers the best meaty, decayed shot of on-rails shooting this side of House of the Dead: Overkill, and also boasts one of the best HD conversions yet seen on PS3.

Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Reviewed on: PS3
Release Date: Out Now

Based on – chronicling, even – key events from the PlayStation original, Resident Evil Zero and third title Nemesis, it’s a fanboy’s wet dream, revealing more details of the shifty, titular corporation behind everything undead, mutated and scaly. Five scenarios introduce familiar faces and drop them into new situations with zombies, half-eaten dogs, monkeys and leeches, and arm them to the teeth with upgradable pistols, shotguns and rocket launchers. Undead things bleed, fall apart and generally die. For the second time.

The premise is simple enough, and this translates equally to the pitch of gameplay. Exclusively on-rails, Umbrella Chronicles grants users some control over their surroundings, and a Move & Dual Shock/Nav Controller set-up comes recommended to enable both aiming and peeking around the edges of the screen to find hidden extras and ammo. While not altogether scary, the slow pace allows plenty of time to line up perfect shots, occasionally jolting you with the odd fast-moving creep – easily dispensed with a rapid switch to the shotgun. But in terms of conventional scares there’s nothing unexpected: the odd zombie throws itself through a window, or creeps up behind you – the Resident Evil equivalent of dressing up in a bedsheet and shouting “awoooh”.

Every chunk of zombie and piece of background detail has been carefully attended to.

Occasionally, the HUD gets confused, to fatal effect. The reload message prompt shares screen real estate with quick time event gestures, and the former will always win out over the latter. This makes some attacks from super-powered enemies unblockable, depending on your time of reloading. Unfair death is occasionally inevitable, but always redoable. As long as the checkpoint doesn’t set you back fifteen minutes, which they occasionally do.

Interface issues aside, Umbrella Chronicles is a real looker. The freshly created HD assets look especially great when compared to the pre-rendered cutscenes, produced with Wii textures and therefore noticeably gloomier and fuzzier in comparison. In HD, flat textures become chunks of head, or rotted teeth, and extensive environmental damage is a nice touch.

Slow-paced but fine-tuned shooting
Great refreshed visuals
Fatally flawed HUD design

In a world of dusty Move controllers, this is an ironic saviour, dressed up in garlands of apocalypse and a top hat filled to the top with rotting innards. Better presented than its motion control rivals, full of side missions and fanservice, it’s a steal for £12 on its own, or for a tenner more with its bigger brother, Darkside Chronicles. If you read this review and glance guiltily at your Move in contemplation, be sure to do something about it before it catches you out and holds your glance with an accusatory stare of its own. That’d just be awkward.

Review copy provided by Capcom.
Official Game Site

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  1. Lukas Heinzel

    I played all those lightgun games on the wii, they were perfect and worked pretty well with the wii technique.

    The problem with move, though, is that the camera almost never detect you when its darker, which is really stupid, because you are primarily playing the game in the dark. So i like the graphics and obviously the technique

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