Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles (Switch) – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Survival, Horror
Developer: Dead Drop Studios LLC
Publisher: Dead Drop Studios LLC
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch
Tested On: Switch

Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles (Switch) – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: A decent game, Good atmosphere, Runs great on the Switch
Bad: The headache inducing bad control layout
User Score
5.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The Outbreak franchise is the work of a proud single man development team. The earlier games are already two years old and are now getting ported over to the Switch.  These games wink back to the old Resident Evil titles, but they miss the million-dollar production budget that CAPCOM’s franchise has. Last month we reviewed the Epidemic port that wasn’t greatly received due to performance issues. Luckily, The Nightmare Chronicles runs much better on our little portable console.

Story

After the events of the first Outbreak game, our party gets washed up somewhere in the woods and our main protagonist is all alone and wounded. She has lost her squad and wanders to (what seems to be) an abandoned mansion. As she makes her way inside, she notices that she isn’t alone. The first thing she does is find some supplies and patches herself up and this is where the struggle for survival starts. The story clearly says that you are witnessing the final hours of our hero, yet you will be able to make a difference. One thing that this series does well all the time is the story flow and underlying lore. You get informed about the things that happened at the mansion, while not getting it shoved right into your face. This keeps your interest hooked and makes you want to continue playing to uncover the story behind the mansion.

Graphics

The undeniable fact about the Switch is that, in the current generation, it really lacks the graphical capabilities that other consoles have. This means that games must be adjusted to run smoothly on the portable home console. In this Switch port, the visuals actually look pretty good and the frame rate is smooth without any hiccups. On the other hand, the graphics are simple and the goofy ragdoll physics from defeating enemies quickly remove the sense of fright that the game tries to induce. Walking around the mansion is dark and unsettling and the visuals hint back to the eerie settings of the first Resident Evil games; so a job well done here.

Sound

The game’s music is pretty good. A simple piano playing does make you go on a nostalgia trip and it sets up the stage quite nicely. The music does change when exploring the mansion, such as switching over to a calming song when entering a safe room. There is no spoken dialogue in the game, yet the characters will make written notices on the bottom of the screen implying thoughts or maybe mumbled speech. The enemies make their own sounds but they aren’t as ominous as most zombie hordes in other games.

Gameplay

Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles is a survival game that resembles the old Resident Evil games in both its setting and controls. It all starts with our main character patching herself up in the safe room. Here you can grab some supplies from the item chest (which works as a storage/transportation device between safe rooms) and make your way out the door. During your exploration, you will find many notes scattered around the map, these will either be a hint for unlocking doors, clearing puzzles, or explaining the lore of the mansion. Even getting out of your first room is a small puzzle. It seems easy, but the second puzzle immediately ramps up the difficulty and this is only five minutes into the game. If you remember having a notepad and pen next to your gaming setup to write up hints from puzzles, then you will love the complexity in this game. Exploration does feel really linear but some puzzles are so complex that they will get catch you off guard, which is not always ideal if you are playing on the go.

One thing that is immediately noticeable, and happens to be annoying beyond belief, is the bad control scheme with the Switch having a slightly different layout than the classic controls. You will be constantly confused as to what button to press. Normally during the gameplay, the B button is used to interact with the scenery, yet you have to use A to confirm dialogues or equip items in the menu. During the gameplay, this led to a lot of frustration or missed items as we kept on confusing the buttons. This is the only bad part about the controls since you can decide between direct or tank controls. Both of these layouts play well and since the combat isn’t that intense, you do have some room for mistakes.

When playing on normal, the enemies could be considered blind as they won’t engage unless you are within smelling distance or when they are attacked directly. Even when you shoot and miss, they don’t even care. It feels like the zombies are poorly paid actors that exaggerate their death when their ragdoll flies over the map.

Probably the most important aspect is inventory management and looking for supplies. Your character emphasizes grabbing supplies so she is prepared for the things to come. It all feels like she has a foreshadowing about what is to happen, yet this is understandable after the events she just witnessed in the city.

As the original game was meant to be released in chapters, this version includes all four chapters and you can just access them all right from the start. This is great, as you can just skip parts if you feel like you are stuck or just want to look at the things to come. Each chapter also has a battle mode where you have to fight through hordes of enemies with limited supplies, which is great if you love a real challenge.

Conclusion

Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles plays like a decent game on the Switch, if you can look past the horrible control scheme. The graphics are decent and the music is good. It runs smoothly on the portable console and it feels like a great title if you like some horror on the go. Even though it has some quirks, it still plays like the classic Resident Evil games that we loved. The story picks up after the events of The New Nightmare, so you could enjoy the series on your Switch from the first game to the latest.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Outbreak: The Nightmare Chronicles (Switch) – Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
MC_JP


Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

No Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.