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Resident Evil: CODE Veronica HD

Score: 71%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Survival Horror

Graphics & Sound:

There are things we remember fondly, because they are from yesteryear. Maybe we even remember them in a kinder light than they actually were at the time; call it the nostalgia factor. When it was released, Resident Evil: CODE Veronica looked fantastic, but a number of years have passed since then. That being said, the game doesn't look that bad. Is it what we are used to in this day? No, of course not. But it's definitely not painful to watch. The foreboding scenery still holds true today, even though it is accented by some jagged lines, but, overall, the aesthetic isn't too bad and things look pretty decent on an HD set.

The voice acting, however, is as terrible now as it was back then, maybe even a little worse. I don't remember wanting to punch Claire Redfield's on-again/off-again sidekick, Steve, in the face nearly as much back then as I do now. Every time his voice rang out in its pseudo-young man staccato, I wanted to scream. The dialogue is terrible, as always, and, while it used to be endearing, for some reason, I found it grating. The evil twin baddies of Resident Evil: CODE Veronica HD, Alexia and Alfred Ashford, are truly creepy and when you hear a maniacal laugh or a twisted comment from either of them, it will feel like Freddy Krueger's nails on a chalkboard. In stark contrast, the background music is as eerie as ever and works hand-in-hand with the surround sound to completely unnerve you. I noticed there's even a faint "shave and a haircut" tone/vibration/tapping in the background in certain areas that would catch me off guard every time I heard it. Mind you, I was playing in the dark, which only served to add to the creepy ambiance.


Gameplay:

Resident Evil gameplay has always focused on solving minor puzzles while creeping about scary environs, in the hopes of avoiding deadly creatures out to kill you, all with the barest minimum of ammo and health. This same gameplay premise holds true today in Resident Evil: CODE Veronica HD and, along those lines, the gameplay holds up well. However, the truth is that the Resident Evil series has evolved and so has its players, even those as stalwart as I. When Resident Evil 4 came along with its shiny, new gameplay style, I was none too pleased. After all, I had grown to love the clunky control scheme that had become the standard style of play for survival horror games and I didn't appreciate this new style at all. Going back to this old style of play and method of control has been a rude awakening and, admittedly, quite painful. More on the control woes in Game Mechanics, though.

The storyline of Resident Evil: CODE Veronica HD focuses on Claire Redfield, Chris's little sister, who is captured at an Umbrella facility in France and transported to Rockfort Island as a prisoner. A zombie outbreak causes the security to go a bit lax and Claire is able to escape and along the way she meets Steve, a teenage prisoner of the island, Rodrigo, a former guard in need of Claire's help, and the Ashford Twins, two hefty servings of blonde and creepy. Eventually, Claire and Steve will escape Rockfort Island only to find a completely new hell in Antarctica. Then, you'll pick up playing as Chris, as he tries to save Claire from Rockfort Island. You'll battle many creatures, including the typical zombies, evil bastards called Bandersnatches that reach out and claw-slap you to death, Albinoids, Gulp Worms and Tyrants. The list goes on and on.

Puzzles range from simple fetch quests requiring you to find keys and plates to advance, to pushing crates into a particular formation, to pressing buttons in a certain order. It's basic puzzle fun and it works. Along the way, you'll save your game with the archaic typewriter ribbon, heal yourself with red, blue and green herbs or first aid sprays, and pick up as much scarce ammo and weaponry as you can.


Difficulty:

In Resident Evil: CODE Veronica HD, I fought more with the controls, at least initially, than any zombie I came across. While a variety of ammo isn't exactly plentiful, there are lots of handgun bullets to be found and, after a while, you can tell which zombies you can run right past and which ones are best put down. Normal Mode is the only thing open to you, initially, but once you beat the main game, you can play Battle Arena, a timed run, for more challenge.

Some enemies are easy enough, like the basic zombies, but if they gang up on you, (especially in the early stages of the game where you are still stumbling around like a drunk due to the horrible controls) they can easily overwhelm you. I swear, in the beginning of the game, I almost threw the controller in frustration, swearing to never pick it up again. And this is coming from a well seasoned RE veteran! It's amazing what we can get used to and also what we can forget when it's been a while.


Game Mechanics:

Resident Evil: CODE Veronica HD has hideous controls. Hideous, I tell you. Maybe it's because I haven't played this control scheme in so long. Maybe it's also because I always played the game on the PlayStation consoles. Who knows? What I do know is that it was so bad that I had to restart the game because initially, I couldn't make it out of the first graveyard. That was a hard pill to swallow, considering all of the many hours I have logged on RE games over the years. But these controls are just not easy to use.

To move your character, you'll use the Analog Stick, but instead of simply pushing the stick in the direction you want to go, you push up to go forward, even if your character is going the opposite way. It's convoluted at best, but I found that the clunky 360 controller only seemed to make things worse and more difficult to handle. My character would spin about like an idiot and it was really frustrating, at least until I got a decent handle on things. While you would use the (X) button pick items up, since it is not located int he standard place that a PS3 (X) button is located, it caused more problems for me, personally. There is an auto-aim feature for locking onto enemies, but it was spotty, at best. At least it could be used to tell if there was a creature lurking when the camera would work against you.

Resident Evil: CODE Veronica HD costs $20, which is a lot for a "download game." On the other hand, you are getting a lot of content here, as Resident Evil: CODE Veronica HD is a pretty long game. It's extremely dated, however, and speaking as a hardcore RE fan, it took me quite a while to warm up to it, revisiting it after all of these years. Play the demo to get a feel for whether you will want to shell out the money. Once I got into it, I had fun, but there was a warm-up period and some may be turned off by the wonky controls straight out of the gate. Those folks could feel they wasted their money. Just be sure before you buy.

Resident Evil: CODE Veronica HD is definitely not for everybody, but if you don't mind the crazy controls, there's an even more crazy storyline behind the characters themselves.


-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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