Umbrella Corps takes place in 2015, taking place two years after the events of Resident Evil 6 and twelve years after the collapse of Umbrella in 2003. They’ve left behind a great deal of biological data and information that is valuable to competing organizations – so valuable that they’ve contracted mercenaries to search for these valuable trade secrets. You play as one of these mercenaries in Umbrella Corps’ single player and multiplayer game modes, but the background to your objectives differ depending on whether you’re playing single player or multiplayer.The single player experience, dubbed “The Experiment” has you playing as a mercenary test subject called “3A-7” sometime before the events proper between 2012 and 2013. You’re thrown into the deep end, some real situations and some simulated ones, to defeat enemies and retrieve Umbrella’s trade secrets. That’s literally it. Those who were intrigued by the idea that this game had a single player mode should definitely not use the presence of this mode to justify a purchase – it adds nothing to the Resident Evil canon beyond vague inconsequential scraps of story and there’s no appearances by any characters you know and love.For the first time in the franchise, Umbrella Corps is powered by the Unity engine which comes with it some benefits and consequences. There’s no easy way to put this so I’ll be blunt. Umbrella Corp is ugly. It’s incredibly ugly. Perhaps what makes this even worse is that it lifts some locations from games that look better and were released several years ago and manages to even make them ugly. Visually, it’s just a mess and I don’t even know where to start.
The game’s locales are all based on previous Resident Evil games – though the developers have taken some liberties with a few of them. El Pueblo from Resident Evil 4, Kijuju from Resident Evil 5, Antarctica from CODE: Veronica and various Raccoon City locales make their appearance from previous games. The problem here is that these environments are modified to suit the Umbrella Corps style of gameplay, and have been notably downgraded (visually) to run on this engine. The result is a game that looks like what can only be described as a low rate fan made project – cobbling together assets from other games and mashing them together until it works.Another major issue with the game’s presentation is that it just doesn’t run that well. It was encouraging to boot the game up and see that it ran at a buttery smooth 60 frames per second only for the whole thing to fall apart and devolve into less than 30 frames per second whenever anything moved. As with any game, your sensitivity to frame rates may vary but I consider myself fairly tolerant to drops. To make matters worse, the game throws so many obnoxiously intrusive overlays (like blood, broken glass, text and icons) that almost every match of Umbrella Corps becomes a sluggish, unplayable mess.
Besides it being hideously ugly and poorly optimized, there are some praises to sing about Umbrella Corps, though not a lot. The soundtrack is surprisingly good even if it is the edgy techno rock that you’d expect to find in the Resident Evil movies rather than the games themselves. The sound effects are similarly lifted straight out of Resident Evil games, though this 1:1 duplicating just further emphasizes how much this feels like a fan made product. Voice work is almost non-existent, but passable.Umbrella Corps is team based shooter where two teams of three battle it out on a selection of maps, either attempting to kill each other or complete certain objectives. Each map is populated with AI controlled enemies – usually unique to that location. Expect to see zombies, dogs, crows and other more powerful enemies in your battles in Umbrella Corps. Your actual mercenary can be decked out in all kinds of equipment and take a select amount of weapons into battle. Objectives can be as simple as collecting objects across the map, defeating enemies or defeating players. It’s a rather by the numbers premise.