There’s something terribly sinister about pretty much every single corporation in the Resident Evil franchise - including but not limited to hiring mercenaries to go on shady missions. Capcom’s dabbled with the lives of mercs in the past, but Umbrella Corps puts them front and center.
See, Umbrella Corps is a Resident Evil game all about… the stuff that’s kind of tangential to Resident Evil. Basically, several mercenaries companies are working to wipe each other out for reasons while avoiding the zombified people and critters typically associated with the franchise. You don’t usually think “team-based shooter kind of like Counter-Strike in a way” when you think Resident Evil, after all.
Which is really what Umbrella Corps is: an online, team-based shooter. It's all about the killing of your enemies which are ostensibly rival mercenaries. Have to make that money somehow in a world infested with zombies. It differentiates itself from the pack by including zombies in missions, which players can use to their advantage, and sound mapping so that loud noises can alert other players.
For example, my demo had one particularly smart player. Let’s call him Avery. Avery played the game much like everyone else, with guns, grenades and such, but Avery wasn’t content to let this be his only contribution. See, Avery liked to crouch behind several of the shambling corpses to mask his own movement. Enemy players would pass him by, and Avery would pop out with what I can only assume was a mental shout of joy and murder them without mercy.
One other interesting aspect to the game is the zombie jammer. Every player starts each map - which have many different ways to traverse them - with a high-tech pack strapped to their back. While this is functional, all the zombies ignore them. It’s why zombies are mostly obstacles. But should an enemy damage this pack, suddenly all the zombies are very aware of that player’s existence.
And then the feasting begins.
For my part, it takes a long time to figure out shooters controls. I’ve been playing them for years and years, but every one is just the slightest bit different, and adjusting to those differences is what gets me killed time and time again when I pick up a new one. It’s also what gets me killed in all but one of the matches I played during the Umbrella Corps demo.
But even with my clumsy hands, running around, aiming, and shooting felt oddly sticky when it should have been smooth, and too swift when there should have been a bit more weight to actions. While I’d have liked to have been a bit more precise, ultimately spraying and praying was my ticket. This is likely in part a sensitivity issue (and maybe even a personal one) that can fiddled with to make it feel just right for each player.
In short, Umbrella Corps is a game designed to please shooter fans that also like Resident Evil and maybe less of the other way around. But that’s okay, and it’s honestly quite a bit of fun if touchy. Just don’t expect to find a place to camp and snipe people in silence.
Umbrella Corps is scheduled to launch as a digital title in May for $29.99 on PlayStation 4 and PC.