Umbrella Corps

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Umbrella Corps Game Poster Image
Violent online shooter of zombies, humans repetitive, dull.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Some cooperation, teamwork, but this game entertains mostly with bloody ranged, melee combat. Slender story depicts a recruit being tested in combat by series of experimental zombie scenarios. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player's character, a mercenary working for a morally questionable corporation, is nameless, faceless, doesn't talk. The only thing we see him do is shoot, stab his enemies.

Ease of Play

Simple shooter controls, but online difficulty largely dependent on skill of other players in session.

Violence

Players use rifles, pistols, shotguns to shoot zombies (humans, dogs); other humans controlled by players. Successful hits can decapitate enemies, cause blood, gore to splatter across ground. Players can also use a jagged implement called a "brainer" to initiate vicious attacks upon heads of enemies. Camera gets splattered with red blood as player takes damage.

Sex
Language

Moderate profanity, including "damn," "asshole," in game text.

Consumerism

Spin-off of Resident Evil franchise, which covers games, movies, other merchandise, but not promoting other games.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Umbrella Corps is a downloadable team-based online shooter presented from both first-person and over-the-shoulder perspectives, where players take on the role of a mercenary working for a corporation with an interest in biological weapons. They fight zombie humans, zombie dogs, and other mercenaries using guns, grenades, and a particularly vicious melee weapon called a "brainer." Kills often result in decapitations as well as large amounts of blood spatter and gore. There's not much of a story and even less in the way of character development, leaving players to speculate on the motives and morals of their avatars. Parts of the story delivered in text contain occasional profanity, including the words "asshole" and "damn."

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What's it about?

UMBRELLA CORPS is a Resident Evil spin-off that puts players in the uniforms of mercenaries at war with each other as they try to recover biological-weapons data for the morally suspect corporations that employ them. The single-player campaign sees players fighting alone, working through small levels with simple objectives such as collecting a number of specimens from the zombies they slay, or recovering a handful of briefcases scattered throughout a building. Online play is a little more complex. Players are placed in groups of three and pitted against each other as they compete to accomplish goals amid swarms of zombies. Mercenaries are outfitted with jammers that keep zombies from attacking them. If the jammers get destroyed, the player will be targeted not only by other mercenaries but also by the walking dead. Online missions are varied and may involve killing the enemy team, collecting zombie samples, or defending locations. Depending on the play mode, players might be limited to a single life per round. Ranked play allows players to level up and unlock new weapons, items, and perks as they progress.

Is it any good?

There's not a lot to like about this tactical shooter beyond its admittedly nifty gimmick of setting the action amid hordes of zombies in some of Resident Evil's most iconic locations. This includes the street in front of Resident Evil 2's Raccoon City Police Department and the dilapidated Spanish village from Resident Evil 4. The single-player missions are extraordinarily repetitive, with players tasked to undertake the same activities -- such as killing 20 zombies and collecting the biological samples they drop -- multiple times on the same levels, with little in the way of any sort of long-term rewards.

Online play is a bit more engaging thanks to the inherent and unpredictable challenge of human opponents, but the maps are so small and the tactics so simple that most players are unlikely to remain interested for the long haul. Many matches quickly degrade into "brainer" fights that see nearly everyone wielding the game's one-hit kill tool in hopes of quickly dispatching anyone they run across coming through doorways or around corners. The progression system could keep some players going for a while, perhaps for the minor satisfaction of increasing level rank; but without the sort of meaningful rewards earned through play in more sophisticated shooters, there's no strategic advantage to be gained by investing more time in this game. Umbrella Corps is a thoroughly middling online shooter bound to go down into Resident Evil's annals as yet another experimental misfire.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Do you feel like you get keyed up when playing violent games? What's a good way to safely release tension after playing a game that gets your blood pumping?

  • Families can also talk about online safety. Online games often allow players to talk to each other through voice and text communication systems, but what steps would you take if someone you were playing with began saying hateful or threatening things? What would you do if someone asked for personal information?

Game details

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