Another week, another Resident Evil title to review for all of you zombie loving people out there. This week we cover Resident Evil Code: Veronica X. This title takes place 3 months after the events of Raccoon City with Claire Redfield searching for her brother Chris in a heavily guarded Umbrella facility in Paris. During the infiltration, Claire is captured and imprisoned on the mysterious Rockfort Island. Once imprisoned, the deadly T-virus is released upon the island and Claire must fight her way through zombified corpses, mutilated prisoners and flesh-eating pooches to continue the search for her missing brother off the island.
Originally released for the Dreamcast in 2000, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X, Capcom’s fourth installment in the survival horror series released to fairly decent reviews from fans and video game industry. Code: Veronica was the first game in the main series to use 3D backgrounds instead of the traditional pre-rendered backgrounds that were used in the original titles. Although the game is now 11 years old, a fresh coat of high-definition polish has been added in hopes of luring old fans and new fans of the Resident Evil universe back to this classic survival horror series for another spin in HD.
Being released on both the Xbox 360 & PS3 as updated versions of the original, the “updated” HD graphics are some of the first things you notice. As the story begins, we are shown a very long cut scene involving Claire and the infiltration of the Umbrella facility. As I stated in my previous review of the HD version of Resident Evil 4, I was a little disappointed in the cut scene graphics here. The opportunity to pull me in from the very beginning is lost because of the insufficient cut scene graphics. This first scene is so pixelated, grainy and jagged, it appears as if these scenes were pulled directly from the original release and weren’t touched at all for this upgrade. While this may have been fine back on the Dreamcast, if you are going to tout the whole HD line, then please use the appropriate funds to upgrade ALL graphics to HD not just a few! It makes me feel like these recent releases are being rushed out to market in hopes of cashing in on the current zombie craze.
With that whole rant aside, once the actual gameplay begins and you take over as our hero Claire, this is where you begin to notice that fresh coat of polish I mentioned before. The main character models and background textures look nice, detailed and are crisp. The menu items are bright, colorful, easy to read and look very nice in HD. It’s obvious that the majority of time and money spent were used in making these portions of the game shine. While these portions of the game do look very nice, there are still those darn cut scenes that take away some of the enjoyment I had while doing this review. I would have liked to see Capcom spend a little more time on the cut scenes and upgrade them along with the other visuals in the game. I guess when you’ve become accustomed to the near life-like visuals of todays top-notch games, you just expect more.
As for the controls, any fan of the original Resident Evil games will probably tell you that they just flat-out sucked. Using the D-pad in any of the originals to move your character was just plain horrible and that fact still stands true today. Even with todays updated controllers and thumb sticks the controls are still horribly clunky….and I think that’s what made my time with Code: Veronica X just plain fun!!!
The one thing the Resident Evil series can proudly tout is that it was and still is the true originator of the survival horror genre. How many games today can you say put the fear of God in you just by trying to maneuver in and out of danger with the controller? I mean, we’re all used to using the right and left thumb sticks to maneuver in games like Halo or Gears of War, but do you remember what it was like when we only had the D-pad to move forward, rotate and move side to side? The controls in Code: Veronica are so old school that they make playing this game a blast and felt very nostalgic compared to todays games. I don’t know how many times I stood there, fired away at 2-3 zombie freaks, dropped them, watch them get up while I reload my gun and not be able to move while I fire thinking I have to kill these damn things before I run out of bullets. I remember that feeling of dread 11 years ago and I still have that feeling of dread today as I write this review.
As with any of the early games in the Resident Evil universe, the voice acting and any music used during the game feel like I’m watching an episode of Days of our Lives. I don’t know that this has ever been one of the series strong points, but it kind of adds to the nostalgia of the series. If this type of voice acting and music were used today in any new release games, it’d soon be in your local Gamestop bargin bin faster than you could say “Superman 64.”
Overall, fans of the original release will love this update and eat Resident Evil Code: Veronica X up! If you were a fan back then and you just have to play it, log on today and download this sucker. If you have never played the original or you are on the fence about making a purchase, I have a hard time recommending this title to you. If you find yourself in this position, I’d probably suggest waiting for a price drop and go for it then.
Resident Evil Code: Veronica X will run you $19.99 on both PSN and XBLA and is available for download now.
A copy of Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD for Xbox 360 was provided to us for this review from Capcom.