Outbreak: Contagious Memories | PS5 Review
Developed and published by Dead Drop Studios, Outbreak: Contagious Memories is a nod to classic survival horror games of the 90s. It is available now on Windows PC, PlayStation, XBox, Nintendo Switch, and for the purpose of this review I was playing on the PlayStation 5.
As the resident survival horror fanatic at g1a5w3g1an.com, I was more than a little excited when I got the chance to play what is a clear attempt to pay homage to the classic Resident Evil games. You play the role of Lydia who wakes up in a warehouse in the city, and you must try to escape as it is overrun with undead creatures. As Lydia, you will need to fight your way through the different areas while picking up and reading files and memos that are scattered around the city. These files give you clues to solve various puzzles which you will encounter in your bid for freedom. Unlike the classic Resident Evil games where these files and memos help to create a terrifying picture of what has happened in the lead up to current events and really create a wonderful backstory, the files in this game feel lazily written and really only serve as a means to give you clues to some really poorly thought out puzzles.
The developers, at the beginning, ask you to “embrace the cheese” but it is clear that this is just an excuse to hide the fact that this game is truly horrible. I really struggled to decide what to talk about first, because everything in this game is really unpleasant. So let’s start with the voice acting, which, in true 90s survival horror game style, is ridiculous. I presume, and really hope, that this was done on purpose to make it feel more “authentic”, but it really does not work and makes the game seem more like a bad spoof than a tribute. It isn’t even cheesy at this point, it’s just horrible and annoying and does not work in the slightest.
Moving on to the controls and… Wow. Just. Wow. These are absolutely awful. They are so clunky and unintuitive. You can not move while aiming your weapon, which I know was a feature in the earlier Resident Evil titles, but it just doesn’t work any more. It seems like everybody has moved on apart from Dead Drop Studios. The whole controller layout just didn’t make one little bit of sense. There were so many times I clicked the right stick when I tried to turn and run away from an oncoming zombie, which kept putting me into photo mode. This is extremely annoying and really a terrible place to put the photo mode button. The inventory menu was also poorly thought out. It has no descriptions of the items until you actually click on them, which is super frustrating and just needlessly wastes your time having to do this. Inventory management is crucial to survival and progress in the game, as you only have a limited number of slots to hold items. You need to make sure you only take with you the absolute necessities for the upcoming sections of the game, otherwise you will find yourself doing a lot of backtracking to the storage boxes which are found in the save rooms dotted around the city. They have also included the classic typewriters as save points, where you will need to collect ink ribbons in order to save your game. This is quite obviously stolen straight from Resident Evil and just shows laziness and a complete lack of imagination. You also get different coloured herbs, which can be combined to give various health benefits and gunpowder which can be mixed to craft ammunition, all of which have been blatantly copied in what is a dire attempt to recreate the magic of the classic Resident Evil games. One mechanic which was not copied from old Resident Evil titles was the degradation of weapons. It wasn’t copied, but it also wasn’t a good addition, in my opinion. The more you use your weapons, the more they will degrade and eventually become useless and unusable. You can find repair kits scattered around the levels or even just find replacement weapons, but in all honesty, this just felt like a totally pointless and unnecessary addition.
Visually, Outbreak: Contagious Memories looks pretty terrible. Bearing in mind, I was playing the PlayStation 5 version. The movement of the characters is janky and unnatural. The colours and textures are all horrible. The developers have made all the areas so dark that it takes a bit of effort to really look around and try to soak up the environments and their atmospheres, but I’m sure this is just to hide the fact that they have been so poorly designed and implemented. The whole thing just feels very lazy and poorly executed.
I actually quite liked the music in some parts as it did help to set the atmosphere and make things a bit more creepy, but overall, they have just shoehorned in the same kind of music throughout the whole game. It felt very forced and unnecessary. Gunshots sound very artificial and unrealistic, and the noises the zombies make are dreadful.
If you are looking for a survival horror game similar to those classics of the 90s, I would point you towards Heaven Dust or better still, just go buy the old Resident Evil games or even the amazing Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes, but I would recommend avoiding Outbreak: Contagious Memories AT ALL COSTS. This is the eighth instalment in the Outbreak franchise, and it has left me absolutely gobsmacked as to how it has survived so long. I genuinely have very few good things to say about this game. It was horrible from the moment I started playing it until the moment I uninstalled it from my PlayStation 5. Outbreak: Contagious Memories is right up there with the worst games I have ever played and will have me remembering it for years to come, for all the wrong reasons.
PaultheBrave09’s Rating: 0.5 stinking decaying corpses out of 5.
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Many thanks to Game If You Are for the Review Key.