Whenever I play Resident Evil: Code Veronica X, I'm always reminded of something a character once said in a cartoon show I used to watch a few years back. "New packaging, same product. Losers." While Code Veronica X does not deserve the latter part of this statement, the first sentence found in it pretty much sums up my opinion of this game.
Normally, a sequel that brings nothing new to a series will not necessarily harm the franchise. Unfortunately, Code Veronica X also represents a transitional change for it brought the Resident Evil name from the Playstation and Nintendo 64 over to the 128 bit consoles. The main problem I see with this title is that it seems to suffer from an identity crisis. On one side, the game strives to push for realism while on the other; it is serious about preserving core elements of the series which simply do not have their place in this game. The shift over to the PlayStation 2 and the introduction of real-time graphics only serves to widen the gap between these two sides.
While I welcome the use of real-time graphics in Code Veronica X, the camera system this game harbors is deplorable. The attempt to shift view angles as the character moves forward as it was done in previous games does not work very well here. Claire is often shown from odd angles and doors are often difficult to see, even sometimes fairly easy to miss. Im probably the only who thinks this but a permanent third person view camera angle, as seen in Silent Hill 2, would probably have worked better. Than again it might only take away a part of the gaming experience that a Resident Evil game offers.
Aside from now sporting real-time graphics, Code Veronica X does not offer much in terms of originality. Once again the main character, in this case Claire Redfield, is stranded in an area stuffed with more secrets and hidden passageways than an Aztec temple. After all, it is common knowledge that hanging a painting in a specific location in a military training facility will reveal a concealed section of a room. This isn't to say that this kind of concept should be disposed of. After all, many would argue that it represents a vital part of the game. Yet, as the series becomes more realistic, puzzles such as medallions opening doors and symbolic plates revealing hidden sections of a prison facility, when inserted in the right location, seem even more implausible.
Once again the trademark Resident Evil control scheme is back. As Matt pointed out, I don't believe any other type of control would truly fit the survival horror genre. Unfortunately, the current controls are not what I would consider as being friendly. Granted, actions such as aiming and shooting are executed much faster than in Silent Hill 2, another survival game to utilize the same basic controls. However having only the up button to guide Claire forward in a situation where speed of movement determines whether she defeats a fast enemy or becomes a snack for some genetically altered animal can prove to be frustrating at times.
Code Veronica X isn't necessarily a bad game. Granted, it should have dropped some features and introduced other to have a more balanced game, instead of retaining most elements found in the earlier games and joining them with new technology, which in turn created an unstable mix. However, this game stayed true to its nature, offering countless zombies to shoot at and cheap attempts at frightening the player along the way, two concepts which seem to have had players coming back for more with every sequel.
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