Released: Apr 2, 2018
On April 02, 2018 the 3rd game for the indie series Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles launched. I have recently played through the first chapter that is available currently and I am going to discuss details about the game as well as any likes and dislikes I have about the game. Right from the start, you can see this game is following in the earlier Resident Evil's footsteps both in looks and gameplay. When you press start from the title screen it even announces the Outbreak name in a similar voice that Resident Evil did, gotta love that!
In Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles the story continues from the previous game Outbreak: The New Nightmare which followed a group of survivors in a city overrun by zombies and other creatures. In The Nightmare Chronicles, you control a girl named Lydia who was one of many survivors you could pick from in the previous game. Unlike the previous game, this one is not multiplayer and focuses only on singleplayer. After the group escaped a bunker underneath an old asylum and triggered the bunker's self-destruct protocol they realized blowing it up did not contain the undead and the city was now full of them. They were chased by hordes of undead all the way to the edge of a cliff overlooking a river and had no choice but to jump and try to land into the river. Having landed in the river and then being washed away, Lydia regains conscience on the side of the riverbed and cannot find anyone else from her group. She hears the undead fast approaching her and continues to move on her own and upon doing so stumbles upon an old Manor. She finds an unlocked bedroom window and then climbs in and secures it behind her.
You start the game from this room and must find a way to survive by scrounging for weapons and items to use in helping you clear out the house of any undead and find a way to escape and maybe find out whatever happened to the rest of your fellow survivors. Each room you come across has items and puzzles you must solve scattered throughout them. Some items are in plain sight and others are hidden. You can read notes you come across to get a look into what has been going on in the manor as well as clues to help you on your journey. This includes passwords for locked doors or secrets hidden around the house. Your inventory is very limited and you must juggle items around since you can only carry 6 items max on you. Items such as keys or floppy disks waste 1 slot each so you must be careful to leave room for only truly needed items like guns, ammo, melee weapons, and health kits. Floppy disks are one-time use and allow you to save at any computer terminal in the game. Storage chests with an unlimited amount of space let you store anything you can carry in the game and are all linked to each other so you can access your items from any location. There are plenty of weapons in the game which includes pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, grenade launchers, magnums, knives, fire axes, and numerous others hidden throughout the manor.
There are many different types of enemies in Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles. They range from your average zombie to gargoyle statues that come to life. Zombies are very easy to kill and most are very slow, you can either kill them with a few swipes of melee weapons or about a half a clip or so of handgun bullets, headshots work best at close range or else they don't hit them. There are some acid-spitting variations of zombies and decaying ones that crawl on their bellies as well as ones that are bigger and harder to kill. Some boss-type enemies require you go through many handgun clips, shotgun shells, AR rounds or quite a few grenades from your grenade launcher. The gargoyles are slightly stronger than your average zombie and shoot acid at you. It's best to kill them with gunfire. There are also many other types of weirdly mutated creatures you must fight in the manor. Since ammo is scarce, you might want to consider saving it on the weaker creatures and use only melee weapons. Although the ax is a little stronger than the knife, I found the knife to be better because it is faster and allows you to aim a little easier as well. It is hard to tell where the ax is swinging and the knife seems to stun them a little as well. Some rooms allow you to skip them as well if your low on ammo and almost all rooms allow you to fire or stab an enemy and run out and reset them. When you reenter the room, any damage you have done to them before still counts and you can use this tactic to fight almost anything, even bosses. This tactic only seems to work inside rooms and not in most hallways because you get an “I must first clear all enemies” message when trying to exit a door in a hallway.
This game has fixed camera angles similar to the older Resident Evil games and can be quite challenging at times. The camera angles are set in certain areas of each room and when you get to a new point it changes. This could kind of throw off your navigation a bit, as sometimes it makes the controls the opposite of what you were previously using to move forward or side to side. Long hallways or corners can sometimes be certain death when the camera angle changes suddenly and you have enemies on your tail. This also makes it challenging when it comes to finding items hidden in each room as the camera angle changes a lot in a room, so you must pay attention to where things are before it changes.
The controls in this game are a bit clunky and take a few minutes to get used to, but that is expected with this type of retro gameplay. The New Nightmare offers both classic tank controls like Resident Evil 1 and 2 or a more modern tank control setup. I started playing with the modern controls first and then decided to try the classic and although the classic felt smoother, I was already used to the modern and had to switch back. I recommend starting with classic tank controls since they are easier and don't affect you as much when camera angles change. This game supports mouse and keyboard controls and gamepad controls all with fully customizable keys. Many different gamepads are supported including Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I played the game with an Xbox 360 controller that I use as my gaming controller and I highly recommend using one as well as it makes the game more fluid.
Other than the single-player story, there is a Battle Mode. The Battle Mode a tough mode where you scavenge for items, must kill enemies, and then reach the exit to beat the level. Currently, there is only one level, but the developer stated that he will include more in future patches. This mode is pretty similar to the main game, besides not having notes to read or a way to save and offers a break from the main game. You can even practice before you try the main game and get used to the controls as I did, which makes it easier for you in the long run. There are many difficulties as well in the main game which includes a Nightmares mode which makes everything one-shot kill you if you get hit. You become stronger as well and this mode is quite a challenge as there are fewer items littered throughout the map.
This game is quite good for it only being $4.99. It has some minor setbacks though such as some weird animations for zombies in combat, but you must remember that this is still an Indie game studio with only one developer on the team. This is quite a feat for any one person to do and more content will be available later for purchase in chapters, similar to the Telltale game series. If you loved the older Resident EviI games or just like zombie games in general, I urge you to pick up this game. You won't be disappointed!