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September 22, 2005
Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
26/8/2005THQCapcom1, 4 MA15+Medium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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That's one bad-assed elephant!
Ah what a great year it has been for the Resident Evil franchise. First of all being one of the few Australians that does own a Gamecube, I have had the pleasure to experience the stunning Resident Evil 4. It is truly one of the greatest games I have ever played in my life and will be a great pick up when it arrives on the Playstation 2 later in the year (with several enhancements - Dave). Then I heard the great news that Resident Evil Outbreak: File #2 was coming to Australia with online play intact. Last year when Resident Evil Outbreak was released it arrived without out the much hyped online mode. This was a huge blow to me and many other PS2 owners as it was meant to be the game to really show off the Sony online experience. The game was online in the US however and received fairly mixed reviews due to a clumsy online experience. So has Capcom learned from there previous mistakes and made a killer online title or is it more disappointment for Australian fans? Letís find out.

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Not a sterile room!
After learning that the first game was not online I lost all interest and never played it. So this is my first experience with the Outbreak franchise. The game picks up shortly after the events of the first game; with 8 survivors teaming up the best they can to escape Raccoon City once and for all. The 8 characters are Kevin the police officer, Mark the security guard, Jim who works in the subway, George the doctor, David the plumber, Alyssa the reporter, Yoko the student and Cindy the waitress. You then must work your way through each of the games half a dozen or so areas, with the standouts being the Zoo and a police station that will be familiar to Resident Evil 2 fans. To be honest the story is not really what this game is about.

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Ohhh scenario selection.
File #2 features team based gameplay, with you needing to use teamwork and your characters various skills to advance through the game. Each of the characters has at least one skill which proves to be useful. Kevin starts the game with a powerful handgun is best suited for the combat, Alyssa has the ability to open all locks, Yoko has her backpack which can be used to store more items in etc. Finding and using all these skills is crucial to your success. You can give them simple instructions like Help, Letís go, Follow me or you can offer them items. In theory that sounds ok, until you notice how poor the AI in the game is. Getting the computer controlled players to follow is just as much of a challenge as the games enemies and puzzles are.

Sadly after experiencing Resident Evil 4 earlier in the year, the gameplay on offer here is really disappointing. You see there has been no series overhaul here folks, no not at all the characters in this game move and control just as they did on the PSone nearly ten years ago. It has the same clumsy controls for moving around and for combat that make playing this game more of a chore than it should.

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A scene from Eraser?
It is clear from the word go that this game is designed for multiplayer action. Having 3 humans online to work with will be much more enjoyable than lugging around the unresponsive AI right? Well sadly no you see online your human teammates can be just as annoying as in the single player game, and it is no fault of their own. You see Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 has no voice support, so you can not talk to your teammates and plan a strategy, so you are again limited to the few phrases used in the single player game. To make matters worse you canít even type a message in game, instead you must type your strategies to each other in the pre game lobby. I find this inexcusable to be honest, fans of the original game in the States really kicked up a stink about the ordinary online mode last year and it is really annoying to see that Capcom have done nothing to fix it this time around. This game had the potential to be one of the greatest games yet for Sonyís online service instead it turns in a less than stellar performance.

The complaints that I have already pointed out may seem a bit harsh, but there is a reason for it. You see the game has so much potential that it really annoyed me at how little effort seems to have gone into this game. Basically the developers have put together an online game with no voice support and wrapped it up in a ten year old game engine and hoped that the name will sell it a few copies. I am a huge Resident Evil fan and this has turned into one of my most disappointing games in a long time.

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Get ready for a surprise!
One thing the game does pretty well is the graphics. The characters and environments do look superb and uphold the Resident Evil standard in terms of the visuals. The only downer on the visuals is the way the characters move, they are all so stiff and they look funny when they are moving.

Another Resident Evil trademark is cheesy voice work, and File #2 is no exception. Pretty much all the characters have annoying voices. The sound effects are not too bad though, with the enemies sounding pretty good and the music creating a reasonably tense atmosphere.

Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 is probably the most disappointing game I have played this year. Mainly this is due to the high expectations that I had for the game and after playing Resident Evil 4 I was really looking forward to seeing an enhanced game engine. Sadly what we ended up with a game engine that is really showing its age now with a pretty much useless online mode. So while this game is a major let down, please take my advice and check out Resident Evil 4 when it gets released, it is everything that this game is not.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version) or Amazon (NTSC Version).
GRAPHICSPretty good throughout, with highly detailed characters and environments. Let down by some poor character animations.
SOUNDThe music and sound effects are pretty solid and do help the games atmosphere.
GAMEPLAYBoring, clumsy and stale. This game is about 5 years behind the times.
VALUEIf you find some friends to play with online you may get some use out of it. As a single player game though it has little life in it.
OVERALLDo not waste your money on this title, you are much better off waiting for the superb upcoming Resident Evil 4 instead.

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