Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
Nostalgia replaces anxiety, but we appreciate the plot points
Nov 21, 2007
There’s no doubt in our minds that at some point in the recent past, Umbrella Chronicles was a very different game from the one that has finally emerged. Far from being some elaborate mystery for us to unravel, the evidence has been there from the start - early interviews with Capcom’s team suggested Chronicles would be a game more like Resident Evil 4, while later interviews hinted at a change of tune. RE 4 is a tough act to follow, and it’s a shame we never saw Umbrella Chronicle’s original concept, but it’s hard to fault the game for what it’s not, when it’s ridiculously fully-featured and complete. As a light gun shooter, this isn't any great shakes. But as a treat for Resident Evil fans, it's truly special.
Chronicles is the most blatant example of fan service Capcom could have conjured, filling in every gap in the story with new cutscenes, lengthy dossiers, files and plot points to patch up continuity holes. Umbrella Chronicles is like a 1970’s exploit-o-movie version of Resident Evil’s story - not smart or especially stylish, with everything about it designed to appeal almost exclusively to the most niche of audiences. But what it does offer fans of the series, it offers perfectly.
You want levels? How about 12 hours’ worth; all set in the midst of the zombie holocausts from Resident Evil Zero, 1, 2, 3, and featuring a final, all-new level to wrap up Umbrella’s Story? You like guns? Capcom have provided every famous weapon from the series, all upgradeable using the points you earn on your missions and each handling uniquely. And how about the characters? Every chapter of Umbrella Chronicles features characters from the original games, with different introductory cutscenes depending on who you choose. Even better, further unlockable missions are based around untold side-stories from the series and help patch over Resident Evil’s big mysteries - like how Rebecca Chambers made it from the Umbrella management training facility to the Mansion, or what Wesker was up to while the STARS team was preparing to move on the Mansion.