When you get shot in Umbrella Corps your character will occasionally utter a remark describing how miffed they are at the situation. One of these statements, bizarrely, is 'Fucking Hell'. While it doesn't really fit - despite its lashings of violence there's no swearing approaching this level anywhere else in the experience, and 'Fucking Hell' just seems, well, weird in that context - it's an almost perfect description of the game itself: a bizarre mishmash of styles and elements that don't fit together at all.
It's a team-based tactical shooter which encourages cover at literally every turn (a massive prompt attaches itself to anything the player can), but it moves so fast - your prone movement speed is almost the same as your walking speed - that it negates that cover. It's got zombies and other bioweapons in it, which should make for interesting three-way battles, but the zombies themselves aren't really up for said battle, and don't do much bar stand there and occasionally get shot. It's got an in-depth upgrade system for weapons, gear, and other items, in order to incentivise extended play, but the default pick-axe melee weapon makes you move faster, has an insane lock-on, and is a one-hit kill, so everyone's just using that. It's got some interesting Resi-inspired maps, but they're far too small for the game's spawn system, meaning you'll often kill (and be killed) within seconds of materialising.
Umbrella Corps' problems don't end there: they're just the ones which happen to best show off problems with the game's design. Other choices, however, are nearly as baffling. Perhaps the most obvious - being as it's visible the entire time you're playing the game - is that the FOV is far, far too low. Your hulking avatar, kitted out in shields and helmets and special forces gear, takes up a massive amount of the screen: nearly a third, in practical terms. It makes actually seeing anything on that side rather difficult, enables enemies to easily get the drop on you, and renders close-combat clunky and awkward. Going into first-person solves this issue, but also hilariously shows how fucked-up the sizing is: as some internet wag noted, the way your weapon appears (dead centre) makes it looks like the gun is drawn not by the character on screen, but by the cameraman following him around.
It's a bizarre choice in a game full of them, and it undermines the shooting, which in and of itself is not terrible. The time-to-kill ratio is closer to Halo than it is Call of Duty, and the weapons pack a satisfying punch, even if they take months to reload. And yet, despite this solid basis, Umbrella Corps still manages to shoot itself in the foot: the game drops your sensitivity when aiming down the sight, leading to some maddening deaths, and the chargeable pickaxe melee weapon means you can leap through barrages of fire, even when struck in the head.
Readability as a whole is also a big issue, especially in the more cramped maps such as the RPD. There's so, so much going on that acquiring your target can be difficult, let alone killing them. This would be a case of interesting design if it was just zombies getting involved in the fray, but throw on top of that massive HUD elements - BRINK OF DEFEAT/VICTORY, it shouts, conveniently obscuring the screen, fighting for space alongside the sheer size of your character and other HUD gubbins signalling cover and reloading and even the reticule, which is gigantic - and you've got a problem. It's an issue not helped by the poor quality texture work (some of the Multi-Mission instructions are hilariously low-res): nothing pops, everything appears flat.
Despite all these problems, there will be times when whatever it was Capcom was going for peeks its head out and you kind of, maybe, get it. The maps are generally quite boring, all dull corridors and offices and science labs (some are directly lifted from the old games, like Resi 4's village, but the rest being so dull is a crime given the back catalogue on offer), but sweeping through them with your team can be enjoyable, and stabbing your pickaxe into someone's brain is delightful, in a disgusting sort of way. With randoms, however, the whole thing falls apart far too easily: Multi-Mission Mode (think Ground War) cycles from deathmatch to domination to Kill Confirmed-alikes quickly, but the game's sheer speed often sees people just pegging about.
The other online mode (there 's a terrifically boring, tutorial-like single-player campaign as well) gives you one life and as such is more tactical, functionally more akin to Counter-Strike of Search and Destroy. But it still can't make up for Umbrella Corps voluminous problems elsewhere, and £25 is too much cash for too little in the way of quality.
Version Tested: PS4