Released in late 2003 in Japan, and 2004 everywhere else. Resident Evil Outbreak has been the gap in my RE series experience for 15 years. Developed primarily as an Online Co-op experience, I never tried the game as I was the only person I knew with a PS2 Network Adapter. A follow-up, Outbreak File 2, was released, but I still never played it. Eventually the servers went offline, and I figured I’d never get the chance to play the game as intended. I thought maybe I’d eventually play through it single player one of these days, until I saw an article a few months ago…
Obsrv is a fanmade server for the game that has been running for a number of years. Some fans were able to reverse engineer the Japanese server for the game, and bring it back online. Another group went the extra mile, and created patches that translate the Japanese games into English, allowing people unfamiliar with the game to experience it!
That’s what @Socksfelloff and I have been doing the past couple of weekends. We’re both playing on original PS2 hardware, going through the game with each other across North America, and have both been surprised with how well it works, even 15 years later!
The game itself is great. It feels a lot like classic Resident Evil, with puzzles to solve, backtracking to do, enemies to avoid and ammo to conserve. You pick from a number of characters, each with their own special skills and/or starting items. The game is divided into “Scenarios”, as online there’s no way to save and resume. Each Scenario lasts around 30-60 minutes, and tells a continuous storyline, complete with cutscenes and (terrible) voice acting.
There’s an element of randomness: items can appear/disappear/change location on different playthroughs. We’re still trying to finish the second scenario, which takes place in an Umbrella lab. Near the start of the scenario, you have to climb through a duct, and each character is separated and exits through a random duct somewhere in the facility. On our first attempt, we were only a few rooms apart; the second time, we were floors apart and had to solve puzzles to reunite.
Being a multiplayer experience, the whole game runs in real time: menus don’t pause the action so things can get hectic quickly. I’ve been surprised by how well the co-op aspect works too, such as being able to shoot off a zombie that grabs your friend, or helping your buddy up off a ledge.
I’m happy I’m finally able to play this game, the way it was meant to be played, and of course on real hardware too. The game is up to 4-Player as well, so if anyone wants to give it a go, I’d love to get an RGB session going! Socks and I could use more help, the game is insanely hard! It doesn’t scale the difficulty depending on how many players, so we’ve been playing on Easy: NO SHAME.
If anyone has any questions on how to get the game running in 2019, please ask and I’ll be happy to help where I can!