Yet another Resient Evil title that tries to do too much, and falls short.
Finally, a chance to kick some zombie butts with your friends online... not that we needed the help! This game reminds me a lot of the Resident Evil: Gun Survivor games. When they were first announced, there were so many features that sounded really cool, that would work well for the series. However, execution is everything, and when the final titles were released, the games didn't live up to what we expect from RE by now.
To me, this game reflects Capcom once again not being able to decide what to do. First, they pull GunCon support for the Gun Survivor games, then they decide to leave out voice support in Outbreak. For a game that can be so rewarding for well planned teamwork, why is there no voice support? Instead, you get a very small list of responses that have little to no use in online game play. Not being able to communicate properly online was a huge frustration for me. Resident Evil is already a mature game in nature, so please: next time don't worry about what some politician might say, and give us the features we want. At the same time, thank you from saving me from cursing out my teammates online.
The control scheme has been reworked this time around. While players move around a lot more smoothly, you will need to take aiming lessons all over again. Be ready to unload a few rounds into the wall, or die because your view gave you a horrible perspective at the shot. It takes a little while, but it works really well when you get the hang of it.
As far as single player goes, it was much more rewarding for me. This time around, there are no S.T.A.R.S. members. Instead, you play as a civilian in Raccoon City, struggling to survive. There is very little story, but do you really need one? Getting out of the town without having a strange yearning for human flesh is just fine by me.
Single player does not come without its flaws though. First let me say that the environment is beautiful, some of the best yet. However at the same time that's where the game suffers most. Load times. Get used to them. Each room (or area) is very small, and after every single one, you are going to have to load again. Sometimes, you have to load right in the middle of an area! It was very exciting to be chased by five or six zombies, low on health, low on ammunition... and then all of the sudden, you have to wait 25 seconds for the game to load. There are some very fun parts in the game with the type of adrenaline rush you got in RE1 and 2, but when right in the middle of it you are forced to wait, the word frustration comes to mind again. Teammate AI will also cause a lot of problems. You can leave them to die most of the time, but if you want to get all of the secrets and unlockables, you are going to save their butts time and time again.
Multiplayer is very similar to single player. Just add another dimension to what kind of half-wit you will have for teammates. It's hard to believe that anyone could get dumber than the AI in game, but somehow the servers are swarming with them. There are certain people who will join a game, use all their ammo, and then disconnect or go idle. Find some friends to play with online if you are going to play online at all.
Load times can be reduced in half if you have the PS2 HDD, but they are still very annoying. If you have one, great, if not, this is not enough reason to go and pick one up. If you are a die-hard fan of the series, make sure to pick this one up, however, its not quite the online zombie purge we were promised. Let's hope they try again.