Resident Evil Outbreak: File #2 PS2 Review

Despite the crushing disappointment of the original Resident Evil Outbreak not making it online over here in Europe, we still had a lot of praise for the game, especially commending the classic style Resident Evil gameplay elements that we so feverishly love such as the gore, gruesome zombies, simplistic puzzles, and yes we even have a soft spot for “that” archaic control method that involves depressing a button to run.

But in hindsight we think we may have been over generous with the game as the AI of your teammates was abysmal, with them often refusing to do things you asked and just generally walking around aimlessly as if they had already joined the hordes of the undead.

And in single player terms, Resident Evil Outbreak: File #2 sadly doesn’t fare much better, although there are some improvements that result in solo play being a bit less painful of an experience than it was in the first game. Being able to command partners to heal themselves with any items they may have at hand is an appreciated addition, however that still doesn’t change the fact that the AI is dreadful, they still run about in random directions like headless chickens, and still refuse our commands with frustrating regularity.

But once you get online and as long as you are with the right people, things improve considerably. No longer are our partners mindless drones; they’re living breathing people who generally don’t walk around in circles. Of course you’re going to get the occasional idiotic lone wolf who goes off and does his own thing, but largely we’ve been in a pretty cooperative posse, who seem glad to help us in times of great need.

With a lengthy connection period and bouts of dreadful lag, online performance is sadly a bit hit and miss. The connecting length we can live with, but more of a problem is the lag, which has zombies teleporting around the screen in a way that should never be possible for such creatures. This results in much confusion and guesswork when it comes to shooting your enemies. Fortunately this doesn’t happen regularly enough to be a real sore point of the game.

Communicating with your partners online is done in the same method as offline, which means there’s no form of voice chat. Detractors of the game especially, regularly speak of this as one of the bigger flaws. We disagree with them entirely however as atmosphere is of great importance in the genre, which is the very reason why we don’t wish for some loud idiot laughing manically or shouting a clichéd one-liner every time he blows a zombies head off. Though still detrimental to your immersion within the game, text chat still would have been a more viable alternative, which would have allowed you to get a helping hand from your partners on some of the puzzles and the like. Overall though we’ve found the limited commands that we can give to our partners, to be just enough to see us through any given scenario.

Ah, yes the scenarios, sadly there’s only five of these, with no means for downloadable levels. On the good side at least all of them are sizeable and better still, they’re interesting locations for our zombie hunting exploits to take place in. Particular highlights are the Silent Hill like hospital, where you are pursued by an axe wielding madman and the zoo, which introduces of all things: zombie Elephants. You’ll also see a familiar location from the ancient but fantastic Resident Evil 2.

This isn’t all that’s familiar about File #2. The gameplay still consists of puzzle solving and shooting an assortment of creatures (elements that had been a staple of the series for years until Resident 4 came along and reinvented the series). A welcome addition is the fact that you can walk whilst shooting, which is a godsend, particularly in the smaller rooms, and when you’re up against the quicker moving enemies. Why on earth are there no new characters to pick from though?

Just as long as you can put up with dumb AI and the lack of voice or text chat for the online mode, Resident Evil Outbreak: File #2 will be best enjoyed by people who still find the more traditional Resident Evil appealing even after its dramatic reinvention with Resident Evil 4. On the other hand, people who were pleased to see the back of this style of gameplay are advised to steer well clear. Far from Resident Evil’s finest hour, but File #2 is still a good game in the classic RE mould that we seemingly could never tire of.