Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD
Developer & Publisher: Capcom
Platforms: Xbox Live Arcade (Reviewed), PlayStation Network
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Price: $19.99 or 1600 MSP – Purchase Here!
Many things can happen in ten years. A few more things can happen in eleven years. This can pertain to any number of things, whether it is on a global scale or even just in one industry. The video game industry has evolved much since the year 2000, so much in fact that no one could imagine the type of titles we are treated to today on a regular basis.
Eleven years can change a franchise as well. The Resident Evil franchise can be seen as perhaps one of the most evolved franchises as their formula evolution helped drive Capcom to release a title widely released to be one of the best in the entire series. However these changes all occurred after one last title sustaining the old guard, Resident Evil: Code Veronica. Now Capcom has released an HD remake of this eleven year old game, but does the whole experience simply hide behind nostalgia-blurred goggles?
Despite its age, perhaps some aren’t familiar with the game’s storyline. Resident Evil 2 co-protagonist Claire Redfield is still on the search for her brother after surviving the zombie outbreak at Raccoon City and has ended up being captured while she was raiding an Umbrella headquarters in an attempt to find out more information.
She has been whisked off to a strange prison on Rockfort Island but of course, things aren’t going to be so simple. Shortly after being thrown in a jail cell a T-Virus outbreak has occurred and bio-weapons released. She now must survive and escape from the contaminated island and also come across a few extremely strange characters along the way.
Resident Evil has never been a series with an amazing storyline and the characters which you come across are extremely cliché but in Code Veronica it is part of the charm. The storyline is still rather interesting and as you learn more about Rockfort Island and the very odd Ashford family.
While the story may be interesting the first time through, many gamers should already know the song and dance with the story and won’t be surprised by anything they are seeing. As such, there are really no branching paths or anything to encourage a second replay other than obtaining a better scored ending.
Now with any HD remake, you would expect a number of things to be changed and upgraded. However there is little actually upgraded here. The remastering of the title is rather appalling and to be honest is something that shouldn’t be encouraged. There are a few plusses to the HD upgrade, such as the menu’s being completely redone so they look great and the game being upscaled to HD.
On the other hand there has been little actual improvement to the game’s graphics. The textures are just shabby looking and the characters themselves look just a little crisper at best, with very stiff animations that make it look like they are all puppets on a stage. Something that is very badly done are the cutscenes using pre-rendered footage as they are just atrocious in appearance and let us not even begin on the way the doors look. You would think with the amount of opening doors or climbing stairs, which used to hide loading times in the old game, you have to spend they could have upgraded it a little. But they are just plain terrible and from a game that is supposed to be in HD are inexcusable.
When you imagine an HD remake you would hope that the original audio has been upgraded a little bit but that isn’t the case here. Everything sounds the same as the original title on the Dreamcast, though if there was any enhancement it is so miniscule it is unnoticeable.
Despite this, the game’s soundtrack still holds up rather well and hearing the zombies moan is always something that will send a shiver up your spine as you remember yourself ten years earlier playing the title. Then again, the voice acting is just so laughably terrible you may find yourself laughing at dramatic moments simply due to the way the characters sound.
Code Veronica came at a time before the Resident Evil franchise turned a bit more towards action and over the shoulder cameras. This means that those unfamiliar with the Resident Evil series before #4 will encounter one of the biggest issues with Code Veronica, the controls.
Now, albeit truthful to the original game, the player must control Claire Redfield in such a strange and stilted. She drives more like a tank to be honest, having to stop and turn left or right in place before walking forward or backwards. This is just lovely for fighting zombies, and this is only combined with the fact that the controls and movement are entirely different from the camera perspective.
As you make your way through the world you will quickly learn why camera angles are no longer fixed in most titles anymore. The camera angle is fixed in a certain position and will not change until you move to a certain area, this can make for a great experience when you are right at the edge of these camera angle shifts and are shooting a gun. Combine this with the movement being independent from the camera and you will often be pushing the wrong way to move forward and instead turn around or walk backwards making navigation something quite hard to grow accustomed to in today’s world. Still, you have to give the game a bit of credit for remaining true to its history and replicate the good ol’ experience.
Also, remember the above mentioned doors and staircases which used to mask loading times in an interesting way? Well they are still in the game and will be enjoyed by purists and are still good to see occasionally they are just completely archaic. There is no way to skip climbing a flight of stairs or opening a door, which is inexcusable considering it is impossible for the loading to take that long for a title as un-advanced graphically as RE:CV.
Still through all of this you will find an enjoyable game here and surviving against the zombies and bio weapons that you will come across is very exhilarating and also a bit scary as well. This comes through having a limited amount of inventory space for not only healing items, but also weapons and quest items to unlock doors and advance further in the game. This creates a steady stream of anxiety as you play through the game and is very enjoyable.
Also once you finish the game you will unlock Battle Mode which will give you five characters to choose from and allow the player to kill waves of enemies as fast as possible to advance to the next area. These modes are done in first person so it is a nice change of pace and gives the player an extra way to kill time and get some more life out of the title.
Unfortunately there is little else added to the title besides an Online leaderboard system which may be intriguing to some who are trying to outdo their friends in some way. But for others this will simply be a feature that is left alone or ignored entirely as they continue to play through the survival horror experience that is Resident Evil: Code Veronica HD.
Resident Evil: Code Veronica is a lovely survival horror title and can be remembered as the last great game from the past of a franchise. It is a great representation of the old title and purists may have a great time, but others will find a different experience visiting the past. Code Veronica’s dated graphics will certainly hold down the enjoyment for many especially for a title touted as an HD release. Every game ages, and HDing up a title from eleven years ago with no changes may make gamers feel like the company is simply cashing in on nostalgia here.
I give Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD