Originating on the Dreamcast, Resident Evil Code: Veronica is remembered as a superb entry into the Resident Evil franchise. It was so loved, in fact, that it received two updated ports under the new title of Resident Evil Code: Veronica X on the Playstation 2 in 2001 and the Gamecube in 2003. Now, here in the year 2011, where HD remakes are the latest fad, Code: Veronica X has been re-released once again on current-gen consoles to allow old fans of the series to recall the simpler (and frustrating) times of Resident Evil’s roots.
Will visual enhancements and nostalgia be enough to draw players back into this decade-old title? Or have game mechanics evolved too much to appreciate what once was?
Here are the HOTs and NOTs of Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD.
With few exceptions, Resident Evil games have always had wonderfully crafted stories. Code: Veronica X tells its story well, as I’m sure some of you remember. It begins with Claire Redfield searching for her brother Chris (before he was modeled after a COG soldier) who was under investigation by Umbrella. While looking for answers, Claire gets a little too close for comfort for the Umbrella Corporation and she is captured while on one of their remote islands, but not after taking out several militia and dodging a trigger-happy helicopter. After an attack, Claire is freed by her captor and set free to continue tying up the loose ends, which just happen to be lying on the other side of countless zombies. From here, her quest intertwines with many characters, some of which have become iconic. The story is everything Resident Evil once stood for before changing its focus drastically.
For those Resident Evil fans out there that have been invested in the series from the start, this remake is for you. Long before Resident Evil became an action game (I’m looking at you, Resident Evil 5), it was a respectful survival-horror game that provided thrills and chills to anyone who partook in it. Strip away the modern dynamic camera, the well-light and sunny environments, the over-the-shoulder aiming system, etc. and you’ll be thrown back to a more rudimentary time in video games. This is the past where preset camera angles, cumbersome controls, logic-based puzzles, and semi auto-aim targeting ruled Resident Evil.
If any of these characteristics were listed in a modern day game, it would most likely be met with ridicule and disapproval immediately, but here we’re talking about the overwhelming nostalgia that sets in once you readjust to the more basic and clunky control scheme that we all had to overcome as we were trying to defeat/avoid zombies. The first instance this became apparent was when Claire picked up some handgun ammo and a zombie broke through the nearby window, landing at her feet. Upon trying to run away, two more zombies stumbled out from the other side of the hallway.
After numerous pistol shots only one undead stood, but even one can be a challenge (mainly because the knife is nowhere near as powerful as it is in more recent entries). The only option left was to run past and get to the door. Moments like this reinforce both ideas “survival” and “horror” as the tension can be great. Surprisingly, most of these listed aspects don’t cause too much trouble while getting in your groove again, however, those new to the series (or those who have only played RE 5) may find this HD remake stuck a little too far in the past for their tastes.
This section was hard to place. Are the graphics a HOT or a NOT? Well, when it came down to it, the answer is as follows: this is the best looking version of the game available. So, yes, when given an option of which version of Code: Veronica X to play, this is the obvious choice. The graphics aren’t great, but they have received the necessary upgrade to put them ahead of its PS2 and Gamecube counterparts (obviously), therefore, this improvement should be acknowledged as a positive, even if it doesn’t reflect the same quality that other HD remakes have. You’ll still see plenty of rough edges and blurry textures, but when your alternative is resorting to playing the 2001 or 2003 version, this game clearly wins in the graphical department.
While the nostalgia factor can override certain issues of the past, the outdated controls may be too much for some people to get used to. The slow and clunky controls that plagued early entries will be brought to your attention once again. This is only an HD remake, implying that the visuals were the only real focus for the re-release. Virtually everything else has gone untouched. For some, this is the way to go when reminiscing with old games, but for others this might be a difficult obstacle to overcome as current releases have spoiled us with more in-depth control schemes and mechanisms. It really does come down to personal preference and patience.
One thing many enjoy about these HD remakes is the full set of trophies/achievements included within them. The HD remakes for God of War 1 and 2 came with the ability to obtain two Platinums and the Sly Cooper collection had three available. Following those, Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD disappoints in this regard as it comes with a small selection of trophies (no chance for a Platinum here) and achievements. Most of them are tied into main story points, so chances are you’ll earn most of them just by beating them game. This isn’t a deal-breaker, but it’s hard to not feel as if they slapped this part on at the very end, almost forgetting it all together.
Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD brings back the true survival-horror elements that were once a part of Resident Evil and reminds us all of a time when this series was the defining factor in this genre. The story will still engage players and the “HD” graphics help make the game easier on the eyes… somewhat. Being almost a decade old now, the game’s age can be easily seen through its flawed camera system, clunky controls, and so on, but the reason to play this game isn’t to pick out what’s wrong with it by today’s standards, but rather to once again enjoy the game that our younger selves got so much entertainment and scares from years ago.
[Editor’s Note: Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD was reviewed on the PlayStation 3 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD Review,