Turn off the Lights

Resident Evil: Code: Veronica X HD Review

Full disclosure: I never played Resident Evil: Code: Veronica before this HD release.

Sometimes, a game is a classic despite glaring problems.  Sometimes, a game is a classic because of those same glaring problems.  Sometimes, gamers fall in love with a gameplay element that is very “of the moment” and really only exists because of a technical hurdle.  Sometimes, gamers look past an unwieldy control scheme and awful acting to enjoy the tense atmosphere and startling scares.  The first Resident Evil was all of these things. Resident Evil: Code: Veronica more or less continued that tradition ad nauseum, and the HD release of Resident Evil: Code: Veronica X brings it all back.

Following the end of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, Claire Redfield is desperately searching for her brother, Chris.  Caught while infiltrating an Umbrella facility, she is subsequently jailed on Rockfort island.  Claire’s imprisonment is brief, as an unexplained outbreak of the T-virus occurs and her captor releases her since, comparably, she’s no longer a threat.  Now, Claire must escape with the help of fellow inmate (Steve Burnside) and then continue her search for Chris, fighting unbalanced aristocrats, solving unrealistic puzzles, and avoiding zombie rottweilers along the way.  Although the game is eleven years old, I won’t spoil the story for any potential newcomers.  I will say that the quality of story-telling is largely unchanged from the previous games in the series and the same applies to the gameplay.  In addition, the level of voice acting is still below B-movie standards.  Code: Veronica really is more of the same, as compared to its pre-2000 franchise brethren.

For the younger among you unfamiliar with the way older Resident Evil games handled, let me explain:  In an era before analog sticks were on every controller, developers had to find a way for a character to maneuver 360 degrees with an 8-direction input.  The folks at Capcom went with what’s known as “tank controls.” Left and right pivot the character, while up and down move the character forward or backward to  whichever way they’re facing.  It was a somewhat cumbersome and polarizing solution and became a staple of the Resident Evil franchise until Resident Evil 4.  Further staples include a crippling inventory system and constant back-tracking to trade key items for necessities like weapons and health at magic item boxes that store all of your things across every similar item box in the game.

For what it is and as old as it is, Code: Veronica can work in a weird way.  It’s an antiquated control scheme, but the old Resident Evil story formula continues to deliver in over-the-top absurdity.  Ridiculous puzzles (ludicrous in their placement in the world, not their difficulty) continue to abound as well.  Every locksmith in the Resident Evil universe is clearly insane and very into geometry and color-coding, there’s a little too much backtracking and running in circles due to the extremely limiting inventory system, and action scenes are more difficult than they really should be due to the archaic control scheme.  Despite enjoying my time with it, it’s difficult not to look at this game and feel its age.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something that needs to be understood.

Speaking of looking at the game, I don’t usually gripe about graphics, but this game kind of looks bad in HD.  The in-engine graphics are okay (crisp, if a little old), but the FMV is terrible.  It’s grainy and blocky and could really have used a touch-up before shoving it out there for my $20, especially since the resolution seems like the only thing they changed.

So, in closing, Resident Evil: Code: Veronica X is a piece of history, and not quite an important one.  A footnote of “more of the same in every way” and the result of a series not taking any chances.  I personally think it’s a fun game, but it’s an over-priced and unnecessary re-release.  It’s difficult to say who I would suggest this game is for, except maybe someone who insists on owning every iteration of a Resident Evil game, no matter how similar it is to the original release.  All I can say is anyone reading this needs to understand what it is: an old-school Resident Evil game, with all the great and/or awful things that come with it.  If you really liked the first three Resident Evil games, but somehow never played this despite its various releases, check it out.  But frankly, I don’t think I can recommend it for $20 based on souped-up graphics alone.  You’re better off finding a used PS2 or Gamecube copy for almost half that price if you feel you’re missing an integral piece of the Resident Evil story.


Meet the Author

User not found.

Follow Us