Siblings, mutant worms, and a schizophrenic crossdresser, oh my!
There are few games that are as crazy as Resident Evil: Code Veronica. It can be considered the turning point in the Resident Evil series, where things just got plain nutty and were not worth caring about if it didn't make sense. The Redfields make their way outside of the U.S. in search of Umbrella Corporation and Wesker, previously presumed dead, has returned and cemented himself as the series' super-human ultra badass villain. Not to mention, a whole slew of newer and weirder creatures mutated by whatever alphabet letter virus has been unleashed, as well as a schizophrenic crossdressing weirdo bad guy and a hilariously obnoxious Canadian who everyone loves to hate.
Fans of modern Resident Evil games will scoff at how primitive Code Veronica plays these days. It's one of the last few, if not the actual last game in the series to feature the "tank" control scheme Resident Evil was known for. Funnily enough, even though it was originally released on the Dreamcast, Veronica plays relatively stiffer than Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, which came out around the same time and, although it was still cumbersome, featured some new nimble moves like dodging. For a fan like me, though, it only took a few minutes to reacquaint myself with the controls; granted, new players will hate it for a little while longer.
Combat is somewhat easier in this version of Resident Evil thanks to a built-in auto-aim feature, but that doesn't rid the game of some kinks that you would do well to learn early on, like not unleashing clips of ammo on monsters during their "stagger" animation that prevents them from being damaged. Code Veronica is also one of the stingier games in the series in regards to ammunition, with a finite amount that has to be used sparingly if you ever hope to make it through to the end. This is one of those games where it's extremely easy to get screwed out of options, forcing you to restart.
Frustrations aside, Code Veronica is still a very charming game. Characters are super cheesy and the dialogue is just plain bad, to the point of being hilarious. The story here, like I mentioned before, is ridiculous but a ton of fun to follow through for fans who might have missed this particular entry in the long-running convoluted series. The X version of Code Veronica added a few new cutscenes that add a little more backstory to Wesker's return, but besides some extra instances of horrible voice-acting, it was basically a re-release of the Dreamcast original.
Similar to the Resident Evil 4 re-release, Code Veronica X HD gets its share of Trophies/Achievements, but they are again limited to only 12. Most are earned with a normal playthrough, with a few exceptions like having you go through the game only saving once and not dying. Once you're done with the main game, you can savor the awesomeness of battle mode, Mercenaries mode's forefather, where you're locked in an arena and forced to kill enemies as fast as possible.
In terms of the HD in the title, there was very little actually done to this game's visuals or the presentation, per se. We do get a nifty widescreen aspect ratio to gaze at, but the graphics are the same thing you'd see in the original releases along with the intact soundwork. Coming fresh from Dead Island and hearing absolutely horrific "voice work" for the zombies in that game, it was absolutely laugh out loud funny to go back to the "ughs" and "aghs" of the old Resident Evil ghouls.
Even so, it's not really fair to judge Code Veronica solely based on how old of a game it is. Yes, it feels extremely stiff and archaic at spots, but it's still playable and totally worth diving into. Whether you are interested in discovering where this trip to a remote prison island takes you or if you only want to relive your early 2000s scares, Code Veronica is still a fun and relatively long Resident Evil adventure.
Review based on Xbox 360 version. Code provided by publisher.