Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD Review
- Posted September 27th, 2011 at 05:21 EDT by Michael Harradence
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Code: Veronica X offers a compelling dose of classic survival horror zombie-blasting, though the game's archaic controls will undoubtedly be a major turn-off for some.
- The classic survival horror blend of puzzles and combat
- One of the toughest classic RE games conceived
- The new real-time lighting and water effects
- The tank controls
- Poor dialogue and voice acting
- The lengthy door and stair loading sequences
Let’s get one thing abundantly clear right away: if this is your first time playing Code: Veronica after having survived on a diet of RE4/5 for the past few years, then forget any preconceptions you may have of the series. This is another kettle of fish altogether, chaps. Code: Veronica epitomizes old school survival horror to the T, offering up the very best (and worst, for that matter) that the genre has to offer. Yes, it’s cumbersome and laborious at times, but also compelling and brimming with quality moments throughout. If you can look past some of its aging components, there’s still plenty of opportunity here to enjoy a thoroughly satisfying retro-fused horror spectacle.
CVX takes place at the tail end of 1998, some three months before the U.S. government wiped Raccoon City off the face of the earth to quell the T-Virus outbreak that had decimated the mid-western metropolis. You hop into the skinny jeans of lanky Claire Redfield – and later, her burly brother Chris – after she’s captured for snooping around Umbrella’s Paris facility. Now imprisoned on a military base on Rockfort Island, the brown stuff soon hits the fan after an unknown party attacks the installation, spreading the T-Virus in the process. Cue marauding zombies, brutal BOW’s and plenty of monotonous door loading sequences (are those really needed on modern consoles?) as you attempt to escape the facility and lift the lid on Umbrella’s unscrupulous activities.
What follows is a quintessentially classic survival horror fest, and something that will no doubt be a bit eye-watering for those who hopped on board the zombie bandwagon with RE4. Rockfort itself is a sprawling base, complete with many sights including a cemetery, training complex and creepy mansion among others. You’ll also eventually stumble into an Umbrella base in the Antarctic later on, though I won’t spoil the circumstances. The game unfolds in a typical linear RE style, with the meat-and-potatoes of gameplay based on an amalgamation of puzzle solving, combat and exploration. Being the first major game at the time to incorporate 3D backgrounds, CVX takes place from the traditional third-person perspective, albeit with a dynamic and flowing camera in place of static viewpoints. Unfortunately for some, that also means tank controls and a fiddly aiming system to boot.
Personally I’ve never had a problem with the control setup, and even after surviving on a diet of the likes of Assassin’s Creed and Mass Effect for the past few months, I slipped back into the old routine like a comfortable pair of slippers. However, that’s not to say folks have plenty to moan about – far from it. The setup was showing plenty of wrinkles back in 2001, and by today’s standards it is so old it could probably be used as fossilized fuel. Basically, there’s no analogue precision here; like with RE4, you have to hold down the X button to run, and navigation is all but impractical on the analogue stick, forcing you to use the D-pad. Aiming is done via holding down R1, with square used to shoot. However, there’s no precision targeting, with the Redfield siblings able to only aim straight ahead (standard), up or down. Aiming ahead will do the trick for most of the slobbering mutants the game throws at you, though a few enemies – notably the zombie dogs, bats and spiders – require you to adjust your targeting slightly to land a hit. It’s horribly basic, though weapons such as the sub-machine gun, Shotgun and Grenade Launcher inject a welcome pinch of variety into gun battles, especially when you can blow a zombies’ scalp apart and decorate the walls with blood and brains.
So, not the most elegant of setups, but once you become accustomed to the antiquated controls, you’ll get over the shock. No, where CVX does excel is in the suspense of the unknown, that fundamental desire to push forward into undiscovered territory, finding out what horrors lurk behind yet another locked door. Perhaps more than other game in the series, CVX is the thinking man’s Resi, with plenty of riddles to ensure your thinking cap is fixed firmly to your noggin. Puzzles aren’t going to win an award on Mastermind any time soon, but they’re certainly varied ... (continued on next page) ----