Resident Evil fans are understandably feeling left out in the cold lately. The sixth numbered entry in the series diverted significantly from the franchise's survival-horror roots. The next core entry hasn't even been announced, and fans are understandably skeptical about the upcoming budget-priced Umbrella Corps.
I played a number of matches of the upcoming three-versus-three shooter at PAX East. I didn't have high hopes for the $30 digital game, but I was pleasantly surprised.
You'll start out by choosing your loadout before you're dropped into maps based on familiar Resident Evil locations. Resident Evil 4's village, as well as notable places from Code Veronica and Resident Evil 5 have been confirmed.
Each player starts with a "zombie jammer" that makes them invisible to the undead lumbering through the halls. Should the jammer be destroyed, you'll have a trail of undead chasing you at top speed. It's amusing to watch it happen to a foe, but terrifying to stay one step ahead from the zombies and steer clear of enemy soldiers.
Games typically start a bit slower paced, thanks to a cover system and an incentive to be a bit stealthy up front. There isn't a traditional minimap; rather players can see sound spikes to localize gunfire and explosions. Sneaking up to use the brutal "brainer" weapon on an enemy soldier is effective and darn satisfying.
Once the teams encounter one another, the match tends to wrap up quickly. Busted jammers and blending in with a group of zombies are the best ways to keep foes distracted. In the game type we played, One Life Match, the three-round, no respawn fights played out quickly.
Other game types will ship with the title on June 21. DNA Hunter makes the zombies more than a potential hazard, as you'll need to kill them to harvest tissue samples. Multi-Mission mode is reminiscent of Killzone's Warzone game type, with objectives randomly selected from a possible pool of eight.
While Umbrella Corps is set in the Resident Evil universe, it is used largely as a wrapping for the quick third-person combat. It's not going to take the place of the fan-requested Resident Evil 7, but what is there is quite enjoyable.