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.
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.
Rating: 4.8, votes: 4