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Resident Evil: Code Veronica X (PlayStation 2) artwork

Resident Evil: Code Veronica X (PlayStation 2) review

"When it comes to Resident Evil, I openly admit to being a fanboy. I buy the comics, the toys, the skins and any other gimmick I can find; most of it in anticipation for Resident Evil 5. I’m so eager, in fact, that I was willing to play Code Veronica based solely on a rumor that it contained a very short—albeit significant—plot revelation for the upcoming RE 5. "

When it comes to Resident Evil, I openly admit to being a fanboy. I buy the comics, the toys, the skins and any other gimmick I can find; most of it in anticipation for Resident Evil 5. I’m so eager, in fact, that I was willing to play Code Veronica based solely on a rumor that it contained a very short--albeit significant--plot revelation for the upcoming RE 5.

“How bad could it be?” I asked myself. I played the Dreamcast version so many years ago, but for some inexplicable reason, couldn’t remember it. So it wasn’t memorable. Okay. That doesn’t mean it’s horrid…right? “I’ll play it. No problem.” I committed. I had to see the mythical scene.

And for a short time, everything seemed decent. A little clunky and visually inferior, but decent. Yet the further into it I got, the more I was stung by a phrase I uttered several years ago. One that can now be reiterated, this time with much more emphasis:

Someone just made a bad mistake…

Veronica started out with such promise. It finds series’ favorite Claire, still on the hunt for her brother Chris, infiltrating a high-security Umbrella facility in the opening cut-scene. Though she attempts a fancy acrobatic escape, she’s eventually out-gunned and overwhelmed by nearly a dozen soldiers. She’s then taken into custody and flown to a desolate broken-down prison owned by Umbrella.

You’re an inhabitant for all of about five minutes before a “strange” commotion erupts outside and a guard, who’s oddly compassionate, decides to let you free. Apparently there are worse things to worry about. And what are those "worse" things? If you said “Someone was playing keep-away with the vial of T-Virus, dropped it and now the island is infected and overwrought with Zombies”, you guessed right.

So now it’s up to Claire to battle her way through a plethora of flesh-eating undead humans and monstrous experiments gone wrong. All the while deciphering overly elaborate yet easily solvable puzzles to escape an island that will probably, eventually blow up.

Yay. Never seen that before.

I appreciate that Capcom brought Claire back, as she was one of my favorites in the series, instead of introducing new people no one will care about. What irritates me is when they mold them to fit a campy, dramatic, emo story.

Originally, Claire was a gun wielding, leather clad biker babe who could slay an army of Zombies with half a roll of toilet paper. Veronica’s Claire was completely different; shy, timid and constantly needing to be rescued. All to format her into a babbling, tragic love story Capcom tried to create between her and Steve--another doomed prisoner from the island. God-forbid they have a powerful female lead fall in love and still manage to save the day. That might actually be original.

Far too much emphasis is placed on the romantic aspect. Romance? Survival-Horror? Right. As Otacon once asked “Can love bloom, even on the battlefield?” Yes, but I don’t want to watch the entirety of it unfold when I’d rather be bursting half-rotting undead heads with a Magnum slug. Not to mention it’s happening between a cliché damsel and a whiney, Goth poser. This is supposed to be Resident Evil damn it. I want guns, not goo-goo eyes. I want severed guts, not broken hearts.

And correct me if I’m wrong, but survival horror games are supposed to be…oh, horrifying. And scary. Yet Veronica is so far down the line series wise that the formula--by now--is tired. Previous installments had frightening aspects--Lickers, Nemesis, Tyrant--but Veronica is lacking even that. Yes it has Hunters and a new enemy called Bandersnatches, but either of them can be avoided quite easily. For the most part, you’ll deal with Zombies, and allow me to play out a typical scene for you on those: “Oh my God. That undead prison guard is only fifteen feet away and I need to reload! Okay. Open my menu, reload, get my feet planted, turn a bit, aim, calibrate my sight, organize my inventory, re-aim, breath…Oh my god. He’s fourteen feet away now!”

Yeah, I’m real scared.

In fact, one of the only truly terrifying things in Veronica is wondering when and if it’s going to screw you.

Take, for example, the Magnum. One of the most powerful--and quite possibly the coolest--weapon ever in a Resident Evil game. Yet if specific, miniscule things aren’t done at the beginning, ones you probably won’t even know to do without a hint book, the Magnum is lost forever. And it’s really lame, considering how helpful that gun can be.

But Veronica doesn’t stop there. Mid-way through you’re thrust into a very difficult, very crucial boss battle. One that you don’t even see coming. And as with other Resident Evil games, if I encountered a boss I couldn’t beat, I would re-vamp my strategy, search for more ammo, first aid sprays or anything else that would help. Congratulations, Veronica! You managed to take that away. Thank you for having me race to a plane on a trail filled with powerful enemies that I have no choice but to kill. Then, only after I’ve spent my second to last bullet, allow me on board. And well after we’re in the air and there’s no possible escape route, pit me against a massive, clawed monster in a tiny room that can kill me with one hit. “Steve? I know we’re escaping Hell, here, but would it be possible to set the plane down? The one .45 bullet and the one arrow I had left didn’t stop this behemoth. No? Oh. Okay. I’ll just go back in there then and die for the umpteenth time! You stay in the cockpit where it’s safe! You hack! Where are you to rescue me now?! Give me the damn machine gun back at least! And take that stupid collar off.”

If you can’t tell, that part irritated more than anything else in the game. Because it left me with two options: Kill it with my knife (HA!) or start over. Had it been at the beginning, that would have been one thing, but it was eight hours into the game. And when you take into account all the back-tracking that’s required, all the “collect five things strewn all about the island before a simple door will open” structure this game has, starting over was something I could barely stomach.

And when I finally did pass that part, it only got worse. I appreciate that Capcom allows you to play two different characters. It gives you a diverse view on things you've already acomplished, much like Project: Ada did. Veronica is no different. After the plane debacle, and a brief stint in Antarctica, you take the role of Chris. Usually, this leads to originality. In this case, it’s re-hashed garbage. The only thing you do as Chris is re-trace Claire’s steps and the game has you commit the same acts in the same environment. Where’s the excitement there? “Oooh. They moved that barrel. Awesome! That door wasn’t locked before! Yay for two characters!”

I know now why I didn’t remember playing Resident Evil: Code Veronica the first time. I blacked it out. It was that bad.

And yet, I can’t hate it. It’s boring, redundant, sappy and about as scary as an episode of Teletubbies. Though brief insights are given into how Umbrella came to be, and some cut-scenes are intriguing, it has no other redeemable qualities.

But I truly believe, if it wasn’t this bad, Capcom would have never decided to rebuild the series, and the world wouldn’t have seen Resident Evil 4 and eventually 5.

Code Veronica, I believe, was the catalyst that gave us one of the best games ever made, and a sequel, potentially, just as grand. So I can’t hate it. In truth, in some sick, demented way… I love it. Though, for what it’s done, not what it is.

True's avatar
Community review by True (March 02, 2009)

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bloomer posted March 02, 2009:

Hm, I don't think this game can be said to be personally responsible for RE4. And I found your talk of emo strange. I also recall Claire spent lots of RE2 being all motherly towards a kid. I don't recall being struck by some extreme personality change in this episode. On the other hand, I do remember the boss fight. And I know some people put the game down at that point.
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draculasrevenge posted March 02, 2009:

I can't think of anything I could care less about than the story of a Resident Evil game.
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True posted March 03, 2009:

I suppose it could go either way, but only Capcom knows for sure on what caused the re-vamp. Had it not been at least somewhat succesful, I don't think they would have moved it from the Dreamcast to Playstation. But logically, Veronica was the last "true" sequel in the line before 4. If it was popular and it worked, why would they opt to completely restructure the entire premise?

As far as Claire goes, I can't recall one time in 2 where she needed to be rescued, and in Veronica I can count four. There's a difference between being protective/motherly as she was in her original appearance, as opposed to timid and insecure as she was in Veronica.

You can be compassionate and still be bad ass. Look at Degeneration for example. Claire takes it upon herself to watch over yet another young girl and keep her from harm. When that girl is knocked down and surrounded by zombies, Claire jumps down to shield her. She cowers at first, and had it been Veronica Claire, she probably would have scooted back and waited for Leon to save her. Instead, he tosses his gun down to her, she spin kicks one zombie in the head, then buries bullets in the rest. That was the Claire I liked--compassionate yet fierce.

In the end, I guess the point I was just trying to make was that they did a really good job with her in 2, and they lost it--as they did most things--in Veronica.
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draculasrevenge posted March 03, 2009:

"as opposed to timid and insecure as she was in Veronica."

Jesus, did you not watch the intro FMV?

"And well after we’re in the air and there’s no possible escape route, pit me against a massive, clawed monster in a tiny room that can kill me with one hit"

You had an item box, a type writer, and a cutscene that suggested something was about to go down.

"“collect five things strewn all about the island before a simple door will open” structure this game has"

That's also the structure of every other Resident Evil game.
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True posted March 04, 2009:

Jesus, did you not watch the intro FMV?

Jesus, did you Jesus read the part where I Jesus mentioned the cutscene Jesus in my review? Call me crazy, and I don't think I'm the only one, but I don't base a character on the introductory cutscene. If we did that, we would all believe that Snake is just old for no cause, Shinra is the ultimate bad-guy and Aries is unstoppable. My opinion on Claire is derived from the entire game, not just that one scene in which--yes--she did kick "some" ass.

You had an item box, a type writer, and a cutscene that suggested something was about to go down.

What are you going to do? Huck the typewriter at him? The item box is useful, yes, if you're the player who drops a zombie with one shot, then runs up and hacks at him with your knife to conserve ammo. I shoot shit. I blow shit up. I went into that boss fight with very little ammo because--and I left this out for the sake of spoilers--I had to fight him all the way to the plane, and in one section I couldn't get passed him until he was unconscious. And I made the fatal mistake of using that typewriter which was so conviently placed to save the game in only one slot, and had no option but to start over. There was no way out for me, and probably a lot of other gamers like me who don't read ahead in the hint book and plan for such an event.

That's also the structure of every other Resident Evil game.

Again, you're taking what I say out of context. Not once in the review did I ever state Veronica was the first to impliment such a structure. I don't even find this idea--in itself--a problem. My issue is quite possibly having to endure it for a second time, because of the reasons mentioned above. Doing it once is mildly irritating. Doing it twice is downright grating.
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draculasrevenge posted March 04, 2009:

Ok, yeah, being completely out of ammo would change things.

I had a similar impression to yours after replaying CV after several years. But there are better examples you could use of the game being unfair. For example, there's a boss fight near the end of the game against Steve that is literally impossible unless you have like, 4 first aid sprays in your inventory.

But I still have an overall positive view of the game. I think maybe it's because I played more cautiously than you, (isn't that how all RE games are meant to be played?) conserving ammo and health items throughout.

Part of your frustration with the game seems to be your not being properly prepared. Maybe you might like it more if you tried it again (and skipped all the cutscenes)? Now you'll know to take the empty fire extinguisher with you to get the magnum ;). The knife is very useful. Use it against zombies.

I don't think the return to the island as Chris is "rehashed garbage" because you get to see a lot of new areas. Didn't the first RE do the same thing?

I wouldn't fault it for not being scary. I think there were several disturbing things, like the torture chambers in the prison.

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