Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 ReviewCain Dornan
The original Resident Evil Outbreak was the first title in the popular Resident Evil franchise to bring the zombie-slaughtering series into the online world. While the game offered a single player experience for those who lacked the ability to take their PS2 online, the only true enjoyment that could be soaked from the game was easily the online aspect, which required players to work together with people from around the world to survive various areas that were filled with horrendous flesh-eating monsters.
Fast-forward just over a year later, and Capcom has brought another Outbreak game to the table, in the form of Resident Evil Outbreak: File #2. The game offers virtually identical gameplay to what was found in the original, requiring players to guide a collection of survivors through various locales that surround the disastrous establishment that is Racoon City. While the game does offer a somewhat enjoyable experience for the die hard Resident Evil fan, after experiencing the fantastic Resident Evil 4, which introduced a completely new control scheme, gameplay style and presentation and ultimately took the series in a better direction, Outbreak File #2 simply feels too old.
Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 follows the horrific experiences of eight citizens of the former Racoon City, which now lays I ruins as zombies and countless other deadly creatures roam the streets. The game is split into several different missions, each taking place in different parts of the destroyed city, ranging from a zombie-animal filled zoo through to the gloomy scenery of the underground train station. With each mission, you are given the ability to choose the characters you wish to control and two others who will accompany you on your journey. Depending on the persons skill and personality, some of the characters will follow your every step, while others will rather venture through the dangerous lands on their own. In addition, each character offers their own unique traits, such as a young schoolgirl who can hold more items than any other character thanks to her schoolbag. A plumber, on the other hand, can use his trade to create new weapons based off of the objects that he finds around him. There is also a bulky security guard, who can use his immense strength to batter enemies with the various melee weapons, which includes broomsticks and metal poles, which are scattered throughout the stages. There is even a slick African-American male who somehow doesnt capture the attention of most zombies, allowing him to quietly make his way through locales without having to load each creature he meets with lead.
Character interaction is the key to survival. Not only can you trade items that you find with your accompanying party, but you can also give them simple instructions as to what you wish for them to do. These simple instructions are mapped to the right analogue stick, which allows you to quickly issue commands in the heat of battle. You can call for nearby friends to follow you at your command, or to help you when you are struggling to neutralize a flesh-eating pest. Furthermore, whenever one of your buddying pals becomes severally injured, you can lend your shoulder to guide them to safety in a quicker fashion than allowing them to slowly limp off. Its an interesting character interaction system, offering a welcomed change to the usual survival horror adventure on your own. Despite this, the character interaction system does come with its fair share of flaws.
While the character interaction system is a somewhat effective system in the online realm as it gives quick and easily understood instructions to the human-controlled characters around you, the troubling AI in the single player modes leads to occasional frustration as your accompanying friend refuses to listen to anything that you have to say. This can become especially frustrating when you are requesting help when a horde of hungry creatures are quickly advancing, yet your character stupidly stands there and ignores all incoming threats. It doesnt happen too often, however, it does occur commonly enough to lead to frustration.
Each of the different missions will vary slightly, however, each ultimately requires you to try and survive through the mission. Youll be spending a large amount of your time collecting various items to further proceed through the mission, which varies from collecting keys through to locating scrap pieces of paper that contain hints to important passwords. Its essentially classic Resident Evil gameplay, however, the absence of any strong storyline is rather disappointing.
While the visuals do manage to effectively present the game, they are far from the best seen in the series so far. The environmental detail is often solid, complete with blood stained walls and some pleasing lighting effects that manage to create an eerie environment. Unfortunately, the character design could be bumped up several notches, as the characters faces while in-game are rather bland, with the occasionally jittery movements decreasing the games visual presentation quality.
On the sound side, Outbreak File #2 mixes up the usual combination of screams, footsteps and gun explosions that have been featured in previous titles in the series. Unfortunately, in this new day and age of technology that pushes systems to their absolutely limits, the sound effects and accompanying voice acting fail to impress. The sound certainly isnt terrible, however, its rather average which is a disappointment when you would usually expect high production values from such a successful franchise.
For fans of the original title, Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 is a worthwhile purchase, as it offers identical gameplay that is pitted in completely new surroundings. Unfortunately, for the rest of us gamers, its hard to spend any decent time with a game that feels like one of the original titles to be released for the Playstation 2, which is certainly not a good thing by any standards.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.