Tank controls, horrendous item management, archaic save system, inconsistent voice acting, simplistic box puzzles and pre-rendered backgrounds. It's hard to go back to a "classic" Resident Evil game. But that's exactly what Capcom is asking gamers to do with their release of Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Fans of outdated gameplay mechanics will be impressed by this sharp looking port, while everybody else will scratch their head wondering what anybody saw in this franchise to begin with.
At one time Code Veronica was the must-own game for the Sega Dreamcast. Hardcore gamers around the world flocked to Sega's final console just to see Capcom's walking dead in the highest of fidelity. A decade later and we're finally getting another chance to thwart Umbrella's dastardly plans and kick undead butt. This time around gamers will have a chance to see all the gory action in HD on the Xbox 360, the first time an older Resident Evil game has reached a Microsoft console.
Let's get one thing out of the way right off the bat: Code Veronica is a weird game. It's neither a spin-off nor a sequel, yet it manages to fill in some much needed context to the overall Resident Evil mythology. This is a game about siblings, scientific experiments run amok and ... cross dressing? Like I said, it's a strange game. But don't let that throw you off, there is still a traditional Resident Evil story full twists, turns and plenty of brain-eating zombies.
Code Veronica stars Claire Redfield on a mission to locate her brother Chris (one of the stars of the original Resident Evil). Unfortunately, while investigating an Umbrella facility in Paris, Claire is captured and imprisoned on a desolate island. But this isn't your typical island; it's the home base of some of the creepiest experiments ever conducted by the nefarious company. Before long our hero is knee deep in zombies, hunters, giant spiders and every other ghoulish baddie you can think of.
From here the story stays on a straight-forward path that will seem familiar to anybody who has battled Umbrella in the past. The idea is to locate items around the island and use them to solve puzzles, opening up new rooms that will provide you with even more puzzle-solving items to collect. Along the way you'll run into plenty of mutant bad guys, as well as a creepy brother/sister duo who aren't especially keen on you invading their normally peaceful island.
Don't get too cozy on the tropical island, because that's just the first stop in this 12 - 15 hour adventure. By the time the credits roll you will have met up with familiar faces and fought through familiar places. We all know that Umbrella's criminal activities didn't stop after this game (otherwise there would be no Resident Evil 4 and 5), but the work you do still manages to feel significant given the larger narrative.
When you strip back the fancy graphics and lengthy storyline, we're left with a product that feels a whole lot like the first three Resident Evil games. While that may not sound so bad, it's really a polite way of calling the game outdated. The 1996 original was created at a time when few game developers understood out to control 3D movement. What's more, that first game was released before Sony had a chance to debut their analog controller.
While we can defend those early PlayStation games, this Dreamcast installment doesn't get the same treatment. Five years in, Capcom knew a thing or two about making survival horror games. They knew the problems, yet for whatever reason they chose to ignore them (and in some cases exacerbate them). The result is a game that felt archaic even when it was new. Unfortunately this particular installment hasn't aged well, making this ten year old game feel like it came from a bygone era where people were impressed just to see color on the picture box. Looking at the game now, it feels like there's a huge neon sign pointing directly at every one of the game's flaws.
Resident Evil: Code Veronica is full of familiar faces, deadly locations, convoluted puzzles and ... cross dressing? It's true; this decade-old installment is definitely out there. The HD visuals and compelling story are marred by outdated gameplay, terrible camera angles and one of the worst save systems. If you can get past the game's clunkiness, you'll be in for a fun (but not mind-blowing) adventure!
This product was submitted by the publisher for review. As a rule, Defunct Games does not review games we spent money on. However, that does not always apply to classic/retro games. This specific product, however, came straight from a PR guy for the purposes of being reviewed!