Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps is a team deathmatch game in which humans fight other humans, with zombies as an accessory.
I found that immediately weird. There are zombies lurching about, all over the place, ready to each the brains of the living, but we humans have decided to shoot each other in the head. Priorities! But there’s a gameplay reason for this: the jammer. Every players starts with an electrical pack which tells zombies “Hey, it’s cool. I’m one of you.” Should you shoot a zombie, however, they’ll exercise their famous social skills and detect that you’re just faking being a zombie and attack you.
You can also destroy an opponent’s jammer to make zombies attack him. I never saw a reason for this, when I could just shoot my opponent instead. It was more of a nice bonus thing that could happen if my grenade didn’t finish the job. It was a nice idea for a gameplay twist, but didn’t serve as much of a purpose as Capcom was hyping before I played. In this trailer below, check about the 38-second mark to see what I mean. (They call it a “jammer” in the video, but Capcom producers called both it and the melee weapon “the Brainer” during instructions and gameplay time. It’s been pointed out that this was a slip. Thank you.) If I have the time and accuracy to hit that thing, why not just shoot the guy instead?
Similarly, one can shoot a zombie to get it pissed off, then grapple with it with a timely X tap to use it as a shield. Perhaps this’ll change in the final version, but in this demo, I could see no advantage to this. I’d see someone coming at me with a zombie shield and drop him just as easily as opponents who didn’t have one. Conversely, when I was using a zombie shield, I didn’t notice any advantage. We all jumped to try it, but most people kind of gave up after zombie shield proved ineffective.
One can use the analog sticks to adjust their different levels of cover, but matches were starting and ending so quickly, no one seemed to be using much cover. There wasn’t really any time to be strategic, and trying to do so gained no one any advantages.
Capcom is going for quick matches with Umbrella Corps, and few were quicker than the single-death mode we were put into. While it should up intensity and make players a little more careful, it also made it hard for first-time players (everyone in the room) to learn from their mistakes and get better. So, will matches really me more than simply running at each other with guns blazing? Capcom made it hard to know the answer.
If so, Umbrella Corps lends itself well to casual multiplayer fans. It has the appearance of a deep game, but really, there was nothing gained by taking advantage of the little tricks and moves.
At TGS, Capcom’s team made a weirdly big deal out of unveiling this game’s logo, because, I don’t know, I guess there’s not much else to make a big deal about? It was decent, but of the two “deathmatch” style games I played at the Tokyo Game Show, Metal Gear Online was easily the better.