I was excited when I saw that a game inspired by Resident Evil: Outbreak was releasing out of Early Access on the Xbox One. Words cannot describe how deflated I was when I played it, though, and saw just how terrible this game is. It's painfully obvious that it needed much more time in development, and because of that, I struggled to find anything was worth my time.
Story: The only thing that's decent
Before delving into the myriad of glaring flaws present in Outbreak: The New Nightmare, I want to acknowledge what it gets (somewhat) right first: the story.
Nothing here is anything special, but none of it is terrible, either. The background to the game is interesting: a zombie infection breaks out in an isolated town in the central U.S., and you are trapped within the halls of a hospital. Your goal is to survive for as long as possible, discover the outbreak's source, and try to escape. It's a tried-and-true premise that, while cliche, works well enough.
The best aspect of the writing is in the backstories of the characters you can play as. Each one has a detailed history that gives contextual information about their lives and makes them people I want to see survive this apocalypse. Backstories like these can go a long way.
Gameplay and performance: Pathetic
This clip from my playthrough should give you a good idea of how many issues there are with this game.
The worst thing about this game is the controls. They're clunky, unresponsive, and just fail to work in general, which got me killed on several occasions. This goes for the camera, too, and the inability to see into rooms I'm entering makes it impossible to see an ambush coming.
Then, there's the animations. Everything in Outbreak just looks wrong. A police officer kitted up in full body armor shouldn't walk like he has a stick up his ass and shouldn't hold his handgun two inches from his face when he fires it. Half the time, you can't even tell what your character is doing.
Next up on the chopping block is the user interface, which is confusing and difficult to use. It's impossible to navigate quickly and easily, which means you'll be spending several minutes just trying to figure out how to switch weapons or take pain pills.The enemies you encounter appear to spawn from thin air close to your character, unfairly giving you no time to react.
Finally, there's the piss-poor performance. This game fell victim to repeated frame-rate dips and screen hitches from start to finish.
All of this comes together to create an experience that's hard to play.
Presentation: Not worthy of praise
I had to make sure I wasn't playing my dusty Nintendo GameCube when I first booted up Outbreak: The New Nightmare, considering it has the graphics quality of a game from one. It would be one thing if the visuals were stylized, but it's clear that the developer wanted to create a grounded setting with this game. The fact the graphics are this lame really leaves no excuse for the performance issues, either.
The cherry on top is the out-of-place jazzy music that plays in the background, as if I was taking a stroll through a family park and not trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. It's not fitting at all.
Outbreak: The New Nightmare review conclusion
Outbreak: The New Nightmare is completely devoid of any satisfying experiences other than the backstories of its characters. Between the awful animations, clunky controls, poor camera angles, bad graphics and music, and more, you should avoid this game at all costs — unless you're looking for a cheap source of comedy.
- Decent writing.
- Literally everything else.
Outbreak: The New Nightmare is available now on Xbox One and Steam for $8.99.
This review was conducted on an Xbox One, using a copy purchased by the reviewer.
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