Resident Evil Code: Veronica was originally released on the Dreamcast in 2000. It became Resident Evil Code Veronica X when it was updated and released on the PlayStation 2 in 2001. It was then released onto the GameCube in 2003. Now, more than 10 years after it’s original release (and, we’re told, as a way to help celebrate the 15th anniversary of the franchise), it is being released with (somewhat) updated graphics on the PSN and Xbox Live Marketplace as Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD.
Code Veronica is the last of the “main” (or is it a sides story? Bah, let’s go with main even though it doesn’t get a number) games made before the powers that be opted to switch away from survival horror and into a more action-oriented franchise. For my money, while the action-oriented titles do have great things about them, I long for the series to return to its roots. That isn’t to say that everything about the original games works brilliantly (and playing this rerelease makes that abundantly clear), but I don’t think the feel of the new titles is quite as good.
But, let’s move away from thoughts about the franchise as a whole and directly into this game With Code Veronica‘s mostly static camera providing weird—and often not very helpful—views, and an awkward control scheme, you’re going to find yourself spending a lot of time working out how to stay alive — which is totally the point of survival horror. That is right, the camera angles are part of the title’s charm, but the control scheme most definitely is not (nor is it the only RE title to use the scheme). Essentially, the left analog stick controls your character’s movement, and up is always forward no matter what direction you’re facing. Be forewarned – you will find yourself moving in the wrong direction by accident during crucial early moments in the game, once you get the scheme worked out, it will get better, but it will never be brilliant. It is one of those elements better jettisoned (as happened in later titles) for a more traditional control scheme.
The story in Code Veronica revolves around classic Resident Evil-type stuff – Claire Redfield is on a desperate search to find out what happened to Chris and finds herself captured on an Umbrella-owned island. The game opens with her being let out of her prison cell because (and you won’t find this in the least surprising) the zombies have taken over the facility. Your goal remains the same essential object from earlier titles – figure out what happened and escape before the zombies get your brains. Eventually you will get to play as Chris in the title, but it would totally be ruining a 10-year-old game if I went fully into what goes down and how that happens (okay, it wouldn’t really hurt because it’s Resident Evil, and while there is a story it is always delivered in convoluted fashion with horrible voiceovers, but I’m still not going to do it).
Resident Evil Code Veronica X HD most definitely feels its age here. Some of the aspects of the game are great and things I would love to see return in the future. Chief among these are limited saves via typewriter ribbon; dark, scary gameplay; difficult to parse camera angles; and play in confined locations. Other things about the title are better left behind – that’s right, I’m still harping on the control scheme (it kind of always gives me the impression that it was designed by someone after the zombies got to them).
Of course, the question you’re asking is whether or not downloading the game (with its updated graphics) to your PS3 or Xbox 360 is worth your money. It is if you’re a huge fan of the franchise. It is if you’re into the whole retro gaming thing. It is if you like zombies. However, you might be able to find used copy of Veronica X somewhere that your current gen system can still play (depending on your system). The graphics are better here, but they’re not anywhere close to a modern day game (not that anyone was expecting as much).