SG Review: Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD
I can honestly assert that I like the Resident Evil series. Yet, I’ve only played the fifth game, which everyone else didn’t seem to like very much. That’s why I can also state that I’m a fan of re-releases, because there are some gamers out there, such as myself, who didn’t get to enjoy the classics at the time they were original published. My parents tried their best to subdue my gaming habit back in the day, but now they can’t control me! I’m such a rebel! A rebel reviewing Code Veronica X HD.
Considering this is my first playthrough of the game, I can’t really compare visually this new version to its original format, not from actual experience at least. But what I can tell you is that we take for granted how advanced video game graphics are today. Code Veronica‘s graphics aren’t horrible, but certain details do stand out that show the game is past its prime. Some textures look like blocks when they’re meant to resemble rubble or ice. The polygons that make up the characters’ bodies give them odd appearances. At least the dynamic lighting that was implemented helps take away from some of that peculiarity.
Difficulty-wise, this game is not forgiving, especially for a newcomer. The mechanics are hard to master at first, particularly for gamers not used to fixed cameras. It’s problematic to walk, let alone shoot at times, when you’re surrounded by the undead. Using the analog stick isn’t practical. You have to use the “interaction” button just to go up a flight of stairs. Code Veronica also forces you to stop and shoot, a Resident Evil staple it seems. Thankfully it does have auto aim, which is necessary when you can’t see the zombie off screen crawling your way.
What Code Veronica does offer that Resident Evil 5 didn’t achieve is terror. I was actually nervous while playing the game. I was scared to enter certain buildings because I had barely any ammo and I didn’t want to deal with four zombies at once. You feel somewhat helpless wandering alone, turning corners where you’re not sure what’s to come. The sense of dread is amplified by the prisoner diaries and corpses you find lying around.
Furthermore, the game forces you to be very selective of what you carry on your person. You can’t carry everything you want in your inventory, especially since you’ll often need to pick up key items that you may not have room for. Saving isn’t so easy either, as you need to have ink wheels for the typewriter to write your file. Granted, you technically gain three saves since you usually find three wheels next to the typewriter, but I’m a frequent saver when it comes to these type of games.
Continuing with this selective theme, you also have to be picky on what to shoot at. I learned very early on that sometimes running away is the better alternative to just standing there firing at zombies. You’ll need all the bullets you can find, which deplete pretty quickly if you shoot everything you see. This is especially important if you’re a first timer like me, not knowing what’s going to happen next in the story. Should you run out of bullets before an upcoming bum rush, and you have no herbs to heal yourself, then you’ll have to restart from your last save.
Story-wise, the narrative is somewhat intriguing. Code Veronica takes place after the events of Raccoon City and follows Claire on her ongoing quest to find her brother Chris Redfield. During her infiltration of an Umbrella facility, she gets captured and is sent to a private island as a prisoner. As always, the virus spreads and chaos ensues, leaving Claire to search for some way off the island. A certain points in the story you also play as Chris, prior to his steroid days.
There’s some considerable backtracking in the game, which can become tiresome due to the controls alone. Another aspect, although minor, about the game that annoyed me was the sound effects. Every time I was bitten by a zombie, it sounded like I was walking around in wet shoes. When a certain boss threw fire my way, it sounded like trickling water. I understand the limitations of the times, but I’m sure they could have executed this a little better. But considering the voice acting is not the best either, I don’t think the sound department is their strong suite.
Once you complete the campaign portion, you can try some battle mode. All you do here is run through rooms killing everything in your way, with options to play as different characters and unlock outfits. The entire run is timed and ranked so you can see compare how well you did. It is a bit more fast-paced than the game itself, but it didn’t hold my interest like RE5‘s Mercenaries did.
Code Veronica X is a game you should play if you’re a Resident Evil fan or a lover of the classics. Otherwise, this game will just be too frustrating to get through. Had Code Veronica had the option to play with the Resident Evil 5 controls like Resident Evil 4 HD does, then it’d be a different recommendation. Still, Code Veronica X lets me see what Resident Evil fans have been demanding of the series: true survival-horror. This is something Capcom should start considering again.
Sarcastic Gamer received a review code for Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD for the Xbox 360.