Resident Evil: Code: Veronica X HD Review (XBL Games on Demand)

Posted by Jim Cook, Sep 30, 2011 09:11

The older games in the Resident Evil series have a very different feel from Resident Evil 4 and 5. Where those games let your characters do fancy finishing attacks to stunned enemies and issue plenty of ammo to defeat the monsters you face, earlier releases made your characters less powerful and issued less ammunition. The result was an emphasis on carefully planning out your fights and which routes you’d take, dodging enemies you didn’t need to kill, and making sure you brought enough supplies to accomplish the task at hand. Resident Evil: Code: Veronica X HD (’Code Veronica’ from here on) definitely subscribes to that older style of play, and this port to current systems is an interesting if very straightforward one.

Resident Evil: Code: Veronica X HD (XBL Games on Demand)Players take control of Claire Redfield (along with a few other characters at different points in the story, though saying more would likely be a spoiler), who is trying to investigate the circumstances around the outbreak of a ’zombie virus’ and how this situation has affected her brother. Given that the virus is actually a development of the Umbrella Corporation, certain parties don’t want Claire to succeed and the start of the game shows them bringing her to one of their ’prison islands.’ She manages to get out of her cell in short order, so it becomes your goal to guide Claire in her quest to continue the investigation and escape the island. Played in a third person perspective with predetermined camera angles, Code Veronica generally has you scrounging for supplies, figuring out how to handle each threat you come across, solve puzzles, and gather special items you need to proceed to the next area.

That probably sounded similar to Resident Evil 4 and they do have similarities, but Code Veronica places a much lighter emphasis on combat. Claire can’t do stunt attacks to weakened enemies like Leon can, and she gets far less ammo for her weapons. Likewise, players are only given a general estimate as to her health and how much damage any given attack is doing to her, so you have to err on the side of caution. With less ammo to go around, you also have to quickly decide whether to fight an enemy head on, carefully use the knife to save your firepower for other threats, or simply dodge the attacker and run past them in order to reach your destination. This sort of decision-making is the core of classical Resident Evil ’survival horror’ play, and it makes for an interesting change from the more recent, ’high action’ games in the series.

Though limited supplies do give Code Veronica a proper survival horror feel, the developers may have taken it too far in one way: You have to be careful when you save your progress. You don’t just have a finite amount of ammo and healing items, you have to use a limited number of ink ribbons in order to use save points! This does succeed in making the player even more careful, which is important for this kind of game, but doing so at the expense of being able to play on your own terms hurts. Sometimes you only have fifteen or thirty minutes to play a video game, yet having limited saves means you can only sit down to play Code Veronica when you’re confident you’ll have a lot of time for it. This is simultaneously a problem and works out regardless, since Code Veronica is a fairly long game unless you’re speed-running through it. There is one other downside to this system; between limited saves and resources, it’s possible to save your way into a position where the game can’t be won, though keeping multiple save-files can help with this.

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Our Rating for Resident Evil: Code: Veronica X HD Review (XBL Games on Demand)
6.5 Replay
A reasonably lengthy main quest will keep you busy for a while, and there are a few secrets to find.
5.5 Graphics
Working from Dreamcast/GC/PS2-era graphics means the basic HD update only goes so far. The environmental effects are actually pretty good for what they are, but the rest of the package is clearly dated.
7.5 Sound
A good soundtrack sets the mood whenever danger is at hand and is joined by plenty of the enjoyable "so bad it’s good" voice acting Resident Evil is famous for. Weapon effects are rather flat however, and some (not all, but a significant number) TV/speaker setups produce a very annoying ’pop’ noise when the game starts.
7.0 Gameplay
Survival horror play in a third person perspective is interesting. Limited healing items and ammunition means you have to pick how to react to each enemy; fire away, use weaker weapons, or dodge and run by them? It’s a neat idea and executed fairly well, though limited saving opportunities and stiff controls do enforce it a bit more harshly than was necessary.
0.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
N/A; this is a single-player game.
7.0 Overall
Despite some flaws and notably outdated mechanics, Code Veronica is a good game that provides a very different experience from Resident Evil 4 or 5. Anyone looking for a more methodical, ’cerebral’ take on the third person adventure/shooter will probably enjoy this, and the only other versions of it are on previous-generation systems.

Rating: 4.8, votes: 4

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