sparklepuss's Resident Evil Outbreak (PlayStation 2) review

Multiplayer Survival Horror Goodness

For fans of the Resident Evil series "OutBreak" is a must own. It was the only Online survivor horror game of the PS2 generation and first multiplayer Resident Evil game. Play as a zombie for the first time ever after you die and get a chance to eat your team!


Overview
Released in 2004, Resident Evil Outbreak was the first of two Outbreak offshoots of the Resident Evil main story arch. Instead of playing one of the main story characters, in Outbreak you get to choose one of eight selectable characters. Each character has unique abilities, strengths and weaknesses. The stages are different scenarios that portrait the events of the initial T-Virus outbreak in Raccoon City and stories of the everyday inhabitants of Raccoon City. The game basically takes place over the events of Resident Evil 2 & 3. Players will instantly recognize the familiar  classic resident evil controls (no moving and shooting), mixing of herbs, limits to inventory, scarcity of ammo and at times, strange camera angles and locations like the Bar and Mansion. Players could play online with up to three human teammates, or play single player with up to 3 ai teammates. The AI teammates would not always listen to your commands because certain characters do not get along with other characters, which made for an interesting and sometimes frustrating gameplay. Enemies include classic Resident evil baddies like: Crows, Dogs, Zombies (various), Hunters, Lickers, Lurkers, Spiders, Leeches, etc.  Although this game retains the opening door load screens between rooms, this game has no item boxes or ink ribbons! Everyone has a "Virus meter" in this game. When your meter reaches 100% you turn into a zombie. Herbs and pills slow down the ever ticking virus meter. And when you die, you get the chance to stumble around as a zombie for a little while and attack your teammates that let you die in the first place :-)

Characters

Each character can take slightly different amounts of damage, has a different run speed, and they all have unique speech phrases. There are a total of 50 unlockable / playable characters, all of which are versions of the eight base characters. Some characters (as AI teammates) will refuse to take orders or co-operate with certain characters giving the game a unique twist.


Kevin Ryman - Raccoon City Police, Strong, Fast, Kick, comes with a .45 hand gun


Mark Wilkins - Security Guard, Stong, Slow, can block zombie attacks, comes with a hand gun


David King - Plumber, strong health, comes with a knife and tool kit, can do multiple knife swing move


George Hamilton - Doctor, comes with pill shooter, can thrust-shove attack, can mix herbs into pills


Cindy - Sluty Waitress, weak to atacks, comes with a box of various herbs, can duck away from attacks


Alyssa Ashcroft - Reporter, can pick locks, comes with a stun gun


Yoko Suzuki - Foreign Exchange Student, weak to attacks, can crawl away from zombies, comes with a backpack that allows her to carry 8 items instead of the typical 4.


Jim Chapman - Subway Janitor that can fake dead, can flip a coin for better temporary stat boosts, can swing items like pipes and brooms. *please note Jim has some funny ass dialog.


Review

Personally I love this game. At the time, there was nothing else like it. As far as I'm concerned OutBreak introduced online Survivor Horror in a real way. With limited voice commands, limited resources, you really had to work with your team to get through the scenario alive. The environments feel real, and the enemies are relentless. This game creates and atmosphere that can create that sense of dread that survivor horror game fans love. Forget the frustrating camera angles, slightly dated graphics, this game gives you a real sense of survival while trying to figure out puzzles. The first scenario entitle "Outbreak" makes the game alone. It's great to yell at teammates to pick your ass up off the ground or watch your teammates die and turn into zombies then ice them with your pump shotgun as they try to eat your brains. Sure there are only 5 maps, but there is so much depth in each map since can play them nearly endless ways and most of the maps have multiple endings. There is plenty of loot and unlock-able extras including up to 50 playable characters. The soundtrack is sorta lackluster, but the sound effects are spot on. The cheesy canned voice commands are pretty good in the same way cheesy one-liners are funny. Granted, Capcom took down the online servers... (as of 8/08 it's still possible to play online with a Japanese setup) and playing online was the best, this game is still a must have addition to any true Resident Evil enthusiasts collection.


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