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September 14, 2004
Resident Evil Outbreak - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price

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Graphics are vastly improved.
When Resident Evil Outbreak was announced way back in May 2002 the biggest addition and talking point was that the game would support a 4-player online mode. Why then does the Players Data in the table above only say "1"? Well, sadly, the PAL release of this game won't include any online gameplay. Apparently Capcom had problems getting it running on the multitude of ISP's in Europe - and if Europe doesn't get it, nor does Australia. Before you close this preview in disgust read on, this is still one extremely impressive title, and is certain to take the series to new heights.

Resident Evil Outbreak may be the game that saves Capcom's legendary series from moving into the "has beens" of game series', and with Capcom's Devil May Cry series stumbling badly with the second title, this game couldn't be more important to Capcom. The events in this game take place at different times of the Resident Evil universe, from the first Resident Evil to Resident Evil 3.

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4-players together.
So there won't be an online game, but the offline mode promises to be just as exciting. Through the game you will be joined by two computer controlled characters - at least they won't refuse to take your orders like online human players. You take on the role as one of 8 survivors of an outbreak caused by a secret biological weapon. In previous titles the characters that players control were all members of S.T.A.R.S., and experts in their respective fields. In Resident Evil Outbreak the eight characters that the players choose from are regular people such as a doctor, journalist, plumber and a barmaid which adds a brand new element to the gameplay. You will need to select the most appropriate characters to help you complete the mission.

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Nice cut scenes.
While playing Resident Evil Outbreak the player can give commands including "go", "wait", "come" and "help" to them. The player can give items and weapons to the AI characters. Since certain characters will like or dislike other characters, your AI characters may act differently depending on the combination of characters you choose. It's important to get the right combination to succeed.

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Not the damn crows!
Yet another change in the game is that everything not takes place in realtime. So, for example reloading a weapon or checking out your inventory does not pause the game and stop you from being attacked so players will need to perform these actions much quicker than in previous games. Also, zombies can now break down doors so just because you enter a room that to begin with is empty, don't think that it will necessarily remain so. Speaking of entering rooms Capcom are promising that the slow door openings and loadings have been eliminated as well.

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Great fire effects.
Grphically this game easily beats Resident Evil: Code Veronica X but is really quite a step down from the massively impressive Resident Evil 4 on Gamecube. Then again that title isn't pushing around a playable character and 2 other NPC's, as well as online gameplay (well, it was developed for that in mind anyway). The effects are impressive again, particularly the fire effects, and the number of enemies on screen seem to have been increased significantly.

It is such a disappointment that the online gameplay won't be included in PAL territories, we'll have to wait for Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 which is already well into development (and which has just been released in Japan this week with sales of 58,000 units in the first week). Fortunately as an offline title everything else is still shaping up very nicely indeed with great graphics, solid gameplay and plenty of Resident Evil type scares.