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Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles – Wii

Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles – Wii

box artPlatform: Wii

Developer: Capcom

Publisher: Capcom

Release Date: November 13, 2007

Genre: Rail Shooter

Nerd Rating: 8/10

Reviewed By Steroid Gamer

The Resident Evil franchise has always been about hunting down zombies and popping off some gnarly headshots.  Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles takes away your ability to control your character in favor of an on rails control scheme, but there are still hundreds of undead waiting to be dealt with.

"Excuse me! Excuse ME! When is the food cart coming by?"

“Excuse me! Excuse ME! When is the food cart coming by?”

The Umbrella Chronicles is the first new Resident Evil game to hit the Wii and it makes terrific use of the console’s motion controls.  The game is mostly a rehash of events from previous games, specifically Resident Evil 0, 1, and 3.  It’s not all old territory, there are some chapters in the game new to the franchise that provide more details on the events of previous games, or tell how Umbrella really came to an end.  The game is divided up into four sections with various chapters in each.  As you can imagine, the four sections represent the aforementioned games as well as the new “Umbrella’s End” section.  For the most part, the chapters cover in good detail the events of the previous games, so if you’ve never played Resident Evil 3, for example, then Umbrella Chronicles is a great “catch-me-up.”  Capcom even went as far as to include “more” details as to some characters whereabouts that fans have previously brought into question.  How did Albert Wesker sneakily move around the mansion?  What was Rebecca doing before Chris and company arrived on scene? What was Ada really up to in Resident Evil 2?  All of these questions and more are answered throughout the game.

The most interesting scenario is “Umbrella’s End.”  Since this game was released after Resident Evil 4, a lot of fans have been wondering what the heck happened to Umbrella.  They didn’t just fall off the earth did they?  Well, this entire scenario is dedicated to that answer.  The gameplay doesn’t take a backseat to the story by any means, and there is actually a great balance between the two.  That being said, it is worth noting that some of the story plots or “answers” to specific characters’ whereabouts feel a little forced or contrived at times to fit in the game’s environments.  Remember, this game is on-rails, meaning you have no control over your character’s movement.  The game does that for you so during some chapters (Wesker’s specifically) you’ll enjoy seeing how or what he was up to, but at the same time series die-hards will call into question the route he chooses to take.  Would he really backtrack through here? Wouldn’t he have run into Chris or Jill?  If you can look past these minor blemishes, The Umbrella Chronicles really shines.

Better not to look and just to shoot.

Better not to look and just to shoot.

The gameplay is fairly simple.  You point your Wii remote or Wii Zapper (more on attachments later) at the screen and shoot all sorts of zombies, hunters, crimson heads, spiders, and more.  Even some of the best boss battles from the series show up here and are more than welcome.   While the game moves your character along for you, you still have a little bit of control with the camera.  Moving the joystick on the nunchuck takes care of that.  Swiping the Wii remote makes your character swing their knife around on the screen in surprisingly accurate fashion.  In single player you won’t have any issues with hit detection, or your on screen reticule not going where you want.  However, when two players try taking down zombies as a team you might find your reticule not always going where you want it to and the hit detection is a little off at times as well.

There are a variety of guns in the game from shotguns, assault rifles, and the series staple Samurai Edge handgun, to super guns like the RPG and TANK.  All of the guns are a joy to shoot and give off an impressive feel, particularly through the Wii remote’s sound and vibrations.  Occasionally, you’ll blow up a door, window, or perhaps a bench.  When you destroy objects in the environment you sometimes find hidden collectibles, or more specifically files.  The files in the game are bitter sweet.  On one hand, it’s a cool treat to be going along fighting various T-virus infected monsters only to accidently shoot out a light bulb and BOOM a file pops up.  The problem is you don’t automatically get that file, you have to shootout the object it’s hidden behind (which you have no way of knowing what’s where) and then you have to hover the reticule over the file and select it in order to “pick it up.”  Now, in any other game this would be fine, but in Umbrella Chronicles the lack of camera control can make file collecting an irritating chore.  Some of the files provide insight into the games characters and story that haven’t been seen before.   These are worth the effort of fighting the camera to pick up the file, as opposed to the files that are simply recycled from previous games.  The problem is you have no idea what you’re collecting when you find one.  It’s not the end of the world though….that’s what the zombies are for.

Albert Wesker always was a fan of melee moves.

Albert Wesker always was a fan of melee moves.

The game has a “star” rating in place that judges you on accuracy, time completed, and total deaths among a few others.  While there are no online leaderboards the game is fun enough that I did want to go back on harder difficulties and earn a perfect rating.  You can also buy upgrades for your weapons along the way that are permanent.  So if you play through a level on normal first, find a shotgun, than keep playing the game and buying upgrades for your shotgun you can go back and use it on expert difficulty.  The game doesn’t lock out your upgrades which is really nice and adds a ton to the replay value.

Two Player Mode

Umbrella Chronicles has the option to be played with two players at a time.  For the most part, the game’s experience is similar to that of single player, in its core gameplay at least.  The enemy count stays the same, and it didn’t feel like they were any tougher to bring down when playing with a buddy.   I’m not 100% positive about this next point, but it appeared as if even the weapon/ammo locations remained the same as well.  While playing with another player, myself and my buddy found ourselves frequently running out of ammo or only one of us “hogging” it all, and the other being forced to use their infinite ammo handgun.  The way the ammo system works is whoever “finds” the gun in the environment and picks it up, gets it.  This might seem like a good idea, but I found that more times than not one person would focus on collecting all the ammo while another person took out the enemies, so you end up having your team somewhat unbalanced.  If you’ve played through levels before and have your guns and ammo carrying over this really isn’t an issue.  Basically, what it comes down to is playing the game from the beginning in two player mode isn’t ideal, which is dumb.  It’s more rewarding if you go through a level, or a couple chapters, solo first to build up your ammo and gun stash; then it’s time to tackle things with a friend.

I always heard snakes were dangerous, but this takes it to another level.

I always heard snakes were dangerous, but this takes it to another level.

Playing with a friend fits in really nicely with the game’s story and setting.  Even if you’re playing by yourself (there aren’t any A.I. controlled players) multiple characters travel with each other.  For example, Jill and Chris are always going to be together during the “mansion incident” scenario and Rebecca and Billy will always be paired in the “train derailment” sections.  Even though playing with a friend may be more chaotic it’s a total blast, and really brings that “arcade” feel to your home console.  Some of the games chapters are single-player only (Wesker’s chapters) which is really disappointing.  After you’ve beaten the game you unlock the ability to play the single player chapters with a friend, and a second reticule, but it’s still a bummer.  This is one of the ways where the game’s story takes priority over the gameplay in a negative way.


Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles doesn’t require you to use anything but the Wii remote and nunchuck.  There are however, a few peripheral devices that you can use that make the game even more fun.  First up, is the famous Wii Zapper.  Now, to my knowledge, a bundle wasn’t released in the NA region, but I highly recommend picking one up to play the game.  Holding the zapper feels like you’re actually holding one of the game’s weapons, and honestly, the zapper allows you to pull off even more precise shots than the Wii remote offers.  As previously mentioned, the game does a great job of making the guns feel “real” in your hands and the Wii Zapper only enhances this feature.  The Zapper does have a slight flaw.  When the occasional quick-time event pops up and requires you to shake the nunchuck, not only is it awkward to do so based on the Zapper’s design, but it hardly registers.  You really have to put your back into it for the game to recognize it.

Magna Blaster and Knife.

Magna Blaster and Knife.



Then there were the “Resident Evil Shot Blaster” and “Resident Evil Magna Blaster and Knife Set.”  Both of these attachments offered awesome looking skins (look more like a gun than the Zapper, as well as being decked out with Resident Evil decals), but didn’t do much in the gameplay department.  The knife plays identical to the nunchuck and the Shot Blaster and Magna Blaster play pretty much identical to the Wii Zapper.  All of these peripherals aren’t required, but further the enjoyment of the game.


"Like my jacket man?"

“Like my jacket man?”

Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles is a terrific on rails shooter that brings an arcade atmosphere to your home couch.  Diehard fans will find some nitpicking here and there but it’s nothing major.  The gunplay feels terrific, the sound effects and soundtrack are top notch as well.  Playing with a friend or using one of the many peripherals heightens the experience to unprecedented levels of fun, especially if you do both.  If you’re looking for a way to pump some bullets into zombies, than look no further than the bone crunching Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles.

Written by Sean Collins

Sean Collins

Sean Collins (aka Steroid Gamer) started playing video games when he was 8 years old. His first console was a Nintendo 64 and his first game was Mario Kart 64. He fell in love immediately and has been playing games ever since.

My current systems include; N64, Gameboy Color, Gamecube, Wii, 3DS, PS3, Vita, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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