Preview: Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 (PS2)

Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom / Genre: Survival Horror / Release: 04-26-05

I read an article from a valid news source today about how girls are becoming more involved in gaming and the game industry, though the story was basically marketing for The Sims (with the “official” quotes coming from a female EA game designer) and a couple of quotations — literally — thrown in from girls talking about what they like about games. Sure, this seems terribly off-topic, but trust me, it does relate…sort of. Anyway, after reading the article, I found myself feeling as though the writer was insinuating that women like to play The Sims because they get to “play house.” Blech. I, personally love the most violent of games; I could hack-‘n-slash all day long! I also find myself giddy when it comes to games like this — Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 — whose purpose is to be as creepy as possible. See? I told you I had a point.

Now, to move right along from my (and I’m sure many of my female gamer contemporaries’) taste in games and the stereotyping of us in the media, Resident Evil Outbreak File #2‘s premise is to answer a prompt question that comes up regularly in creative writing classes: “What would happen if a plague of some kind was unleashed upon the earth and there were only a handful of survivors?” The plague, or outbreak if you’d prefer, is caused by what Capcom calls “a secret biological weapon” that transforms the citizens — human and fauna — of Raccoon City into flesh-eating zombies (Yummy!). So, basically, it’s a combination of the 1995 movie Outbreak and Dawn of the Dead. The eight survivors, however, must find a way out of the city without becoming the crunchy snack of a hungry neighbor.

Let’s take a moment and talk about these survivors, shall we? As mentioned, there are eight. Each of them is fully playable and, like average citizens, have individual strengths and weaknesses. Also, you can take any three characters on the mission (in single player mode, obviously) with you as, unlike the predecessor, no specific character is required for each scenario, and even the characters you unlock (who are virtually the same) may be used together. Furthermore, an interesting aspect of the game and its characters is that the makers understand how subjective life is, and the result is that each character in the game perceives reality differently. These “realities” lie in five scenarios. However, as a player progresses from one level to another, they will receive one of these scenarios randomly, as well as the random placement of foes, so two players can have completely different experiences. To complete the individual playing experience, the game offers multiple ways of progressing through a mission, though the tasks will essentially remain puzzles that require you to go treasure huntin’.

You will find yourself placed in locations that may seem okay during ordinary circumstances, but are quite sinister when you are fresh meat. For instance, there is the always clichÃƑԚ© hospital, as well as the zoo. In addition to the locations, there are several new updates that set this game apart from its predecessor (as well as the numerous Resident Evil games of the past). First of all, and most importantly, is the fact that you will finally be able to aim your weapon and move at the same time! You can also use a number of found objects as weapons — and pick these things and others off of the ground. The game will also keep up with player statistics, such as the distance walked or the weapons used, much like that seen in Grand Theft Auto games. Additionally, the communication between online multiplayers (which the game will support up to four of) will be greatly improved, as will the actual controls. This game offers two types: D-pad control, for those players who like the classic method, and analog controls that are very similar to the ones of the Devil May Cry series.

Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 is set for release on April 26th.