Pros: Gives fans of the series more of what they want, like new monsters
and larger environments.
Cons: No major changes to the game with all of the same problems as the
Even though Resident Evil Outbreak was released just a mere three months
ago in North America and was just released in Europe it already has a
sequel out. Maybe that's because Biohazard Outbreak managed to have high
sales in Japan, has become part of the Playstation the Best series and
was released over nine months ago. Like most Capcom sequels, Biohazard
Outbreak File 2 gives players exactly what they expect more of the same
game with a few tweaks here and there.
For those of you who don't know
the premise of Resident Evil Outbreak it's a Resident Evil game you can
play online. You can play with up to three people who select from a cast
of characters. Each of the characters are just ordinary people, meaning
they're not great marksmen or in the best physical condition (unlike
Jill Valentine) to take on groups of Zombies. Although, these people
tied by a common meeting at a bar have to escape the zombie threat.
Players get a wide variety of "ordinary" weapons to use against zombies
like kitchen knives, iron pipes, and mace on top of guns. One of the
important features of Biohazard Outbreak is that you can pick from eight
different characters, who all have different abilities. Playing with a
different character changes your strategy on how to survive against the
All of the characters you either loved or hated return from the
original Resident Evil Outbreak. Each character also has their signature
item and ability from the original game, but they also get an added item
that can be traded with other members on their team. For instance the
police officer Kevin starts out with a loaded pistol and he gets an
extra clip of bullets. Alyssa, the journalist, comes prepared with a set
of lock picks from the first game and a stun gun so she can stun enemies.
George, the resident doctor, still has the ability to make types of
medicine and now comes equipped with a capsule shooter that can cure
players or heavily damage zombies. These extra items and the ability to
be able to trade them between players makes the initial start of a level
a bit easier for players. Capcom also has a couple of different tweaks
for all of the characters. The most important one is the ability to move
and shoot. Finally, players don't need to stand around and be zombie
food while their aiming their gun.
Most of the other gameplay tweaks are designed to make the single
player game more enjoyable than it was in the first. The single player
mode was plagued with AI problems, some of which are addressed. For
instance, players can tell their AI partners to use an item on
themselves. This allows players to decide when their partners should be
healed instead of having the AI wait until its too late to use an herb.
Another change is the communication system is much more responsive. When
you call an AI player they respond as quickly as possible to your call
instead of doing what they want first. The catch is this makes the game
a bit easier because you can call in a computer player to attack a
zombie while you flee in terror. Instead of having fixed partners Capcom
allows you to pick all three characters to play with in single player
mode. This leads to interesting combinations, more variation and some
more replay value than the original game offered.
For both online and offline players there are four new areas to
explore and a tutorial level. You can select any of the four levels,
right from the start. Although, it is recommended that you play them in
order for story continuity. The new areas are in a bunch of different
locales, including a zoo and the Raccoon City police department. The zoo
level has more than just your standard zombie, the virus affected
animals hyenas and even a huge elephant. These brand new monsters keep
the game interesting. Another level places players in the wide outdoors
inside a dense forest area with a guide leading them to safety, or so
they think. The most intense level is the last one where you're inside
the Raccoon City police station. This level has zombies popping up all
over the place, which is sure to cause you to jump out of your seat.
When you beat levels you'll unlock new costumes and items to customize
your characters. If that's not enough reward for beating levels you can
unlock extra stages too.
The four scenarios would get boring fast if it wasn't for the game's
online play. The main highlight of the game is beating a level with
three of your buddies. You'll need to exchange items with one another
and cleverly battle off zombies to win. While playing with an extra two
people is certainly fun, it is also a challenge due to the restricted
chat. One of the greatest problems with the game is that there is no
voice chat, there is no typed chat. All you can do is "say" a number of
basic pre-set things like "help me", "over here" or "let's move" in so
many words. Capcom's theory was that if there was voice chat it would
distract from the fear level of the game. Instead not having anyway of
communicating makes solving puzzles a frustrating affair. The other
problem with the online play system is the constant exchanging of items
with others. Since each character, except Yoko, can only carry four
items you'll always have your hands full. This means you'll need to
trade items to solve puzzles, which can be a problem when you don't know
if another player grabbed the item you're looking for. Even if you know
they have it, you have to track that player down and request the item
from them. While the system works for one player it's a bit bothersome
with two more players.
The graphics have a slight upgrade from the first Resident Evil
Outbreak. Character models look smoother and the environments are much
better. Capcom continues to have an excellent use of lighting effects.
They have dim lights that give players just enough sight to see where
they're going, but not what's around the corner. There is also a greater
variety of monsters that Capcom produced over the first game. The sound
effects and ambient noises are just as good as you'd expect. You have a
slight background tune that sounds like it's made for a horror move.
This song is complimented with the hard breathing of your character
running, the screams of a jumping zombie and the pitter patter of
footsteps from your partners.
Resident Evil Outbreak File 2 has more challenging puzzles, larger
levels and new zombies to battle. All of this will please people who
liked the first game and none of this will change the minds of people
who hate the first game. Some of the key problems with the game like the
lack of communication between players still hasn't been solved.
Although, many of the problems that made the game tough to play in
single player mode have been addressed. Another thing to consider is
that the game only has a few levels to beat. Sure, you can play them
over with different character combinations, but Capcom should have added
at least more than four scenarios to beat. All of this makes Resident
Evil Outbreak File 2 a great game for fans of the first and a mediocre
game for everyone else.
While all of the voice acting is in English all of the menus and
item names are in Japanese. This can prove to be a huge problem when
trying to solve the game's puzzles. One thing nice about the auto chat
system is that you can play online with Japanese players and still be
able to communicate with them.
Resident Evil Outbreak File 2 is slated for 2005.
If you liked the first Resident Evil Outbreak you're sure to enjoy this.