Resident Evil: Code Veronica - The Horror of Losing Access to Resources

in #gaming3 years ago

I've been making steady progress in my Resident Evil marathon and recently finished a lesser known installment in the RE series, Resident Evil: Code Veronica. This classic-style survival horror adventure combines the static camera angles with some camera movement and focuses on Claire Redfield's journey to find her brother Chris. I've dedicated a few articles about interesting and frustrating parts of the Resident Evil series and I'd like to highlight an especially odd design choice in this one.

Up to Code

Code Veronica plays much the same as other Resident Evil games of its time, requiring you to navigate various locations with tank controls and managing your resources while dealing with the undead and solving puzzles. The moment-to-moment gameplay is identical to other RE games in that regard, but there are a few differences in the presentation and structure.

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Like I mentioned in the intro, Code Veronica mostly uses static camera angles, but sometimes the camera moves with the character. On a few occasion, it's used effectively to build tension in a hallway where the camera slowly moves further away from you, or zooms in on a point of interest, but it usually feels unnecessary and unnatural. It doesn't add or detract much when it really comes down to it. The presentation itself is passable. It's clear what everything is supposed to be, but the colors are generally muddy and muted, with a fog hanging over almost everything. It's saved from being poor by some great music, character designs and a handful of interesting areas - the Private Residence comes to mind.

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In terms of structure, there are larger separate areas like in Resident Evil 3 or 0, but the game makes you backtrack through earlier areas a lot like in Resident Evil 1. This is not too big of a problem if you know what you're doing, but increases the frustration tenfold if you're not sure where to go or what to do because the solution could be anywhere you've been up to this point.

With the exception of a very shoe-horned in Albert Wesker, the story is quite interesting. In her search for her brother, Claire Redfield is captured and brought to mysterious island that she has to escape from. The antagonist is an interesting and somewhat tragic character and the twists and turns along the path of this game's narrative might surprise you.

All in all, RE: Code Veronica is similar to other Resident Evil games, with some odd design choices in its structure and visuals.

From Claire to Chris

Some time after the midway point, the perspective switches and you take control of Chris, Claire's brother. He starts with his own resources, but I immediately noticed that he could access the items I put into the item box as Claire. This is a departure from the character switch in Resident Evil 3 where Carlos has his own item box and cannot access Jill's items. This gave me a headstart as Chris, but at the same time, I felt a little worried about carrying Claire's items around as Chris. If this character switch segment worked like any of the Resident Evil games so far, we would finish Chris' segment and switch back over to Claire for the finale.

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To prevent a situation where Claire wouldn't have the necessary resources, I went out of my way to put all of Chris' items into the item box when the switch was about to happen - and I felt pretty smart about it when we did indeed switch back to Claire and she was fully equipped with enough firepower to knock down three final bosses and then some. So you can imagine my surprise when, after a brief segment as Claire, the game switched right back to Chris - instantly putting me in a boss fight with zero resources. To prevent an unwinnable situation like in Resident Evil 0, I had put myself in an unwinnable situation.

It required me to redo a segment, but I decided it was fair enough - this situation occurred because I overprepared for something that ultimately didn't happen. I let Chris keep most of his resources, went through Claire's segment again and defeated the boss when we switched to Chris. I was satisfied that I had given Chris enough to make it through the boss, while still leaving Claire with the most firepower. So imagine my surprise, again, when we never switched back to Claire and all her weapons were permanently out of my reach. For some reason, the entire finale is played as Chris, even though the game started out as a story about Claire. Story-wise, I thought it was a bit disappointing that Chris robbed the finale instead of letting Claire do it. Design-wise, it's just deeply flawed. To get the most out of all your resources, you need to put them in the box before switching characters, but doing that can get you locked into an unwinnable boss battle (both Claire and Chris have to fight a powerful boss in their segments). It's also just natural to assume that you'll finish the game with the character you started as, but that doesn't happen either - so if you gave up Chris' resources for Claire, too bad! You'll have to do the final boss with your knife and some scraps.

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This problem was so easy to prevent, too. They could've just given you a prompt that you would not be playing as Claire again, or they could've automatically put everything in her pockets in the item box. Yes, it would reveal ahead of time that you're going to end the game as Chris, so I understand why you wouldn't want to do it for narrative reasons, but this is a situation where good game design should be valued over keeping secrets. A good compromise might be to put all of Claire's items in the item box if you die to the final boss a few times - at that point, there's nothing left to hide.

With all that said, the final boss was still manageable. It took me a few attempts, but it wasn't a brick wall like Resident Evil 0 - and if my resources had really proven completely inadequate to complete the final boss, I would've had to redo a far smaller segment than Resident Evil 0 made me redo.

Closing Thoughts

I enjoyed Resident Evil: Code Veronica. It's a lot longer than other Resident Evil games, to the point that its original release required two disks, and tries a few new things to varying degrees of success. Aside from the fatal design flaw I discussed in this article, I'd say it's a challenging but fine installment in the Resident Evil series. I'll remember the challenging bosses, story and music for a long time to come, but I've already forgotten the visuals.

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It feels nice to be getting my thoughts out about some of the classics I've experienced lately. Thank you for reading! I hope you'll join me for whatever's next, and of course, your suggestions and feedback are always welcome.

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I managed to drop by for a few streams and I have to say this game was fun and gave me a laugh. Some of those character lines XD

Wish I could make it by more streams, but I normally have work or class when you're on :(

Hey Carn, I'm glad to hear you had fun! The dialogue and voice acting was definitely very weird in a few places. ;)

I understand, we all have our own schedules after all. I appreciate any time you decide to stop by, even if it's just a short time.

For some reason, out of all the canon RE games, this was the one i like the least. Never much a fan of the tank controls. Started playing with RE 1 through 3 and then CV, so maybe the reason why i didnt enjoy it as much was i got tired of the tank controls and the game felt repetitive to me. RE 4 was the bomb though, was definitely refreshing to play that with its 3rd person view. Great post by the way, nice to reminisce my past gaming days. Hehe

Hello Andy, thank you for your comment!

I feel the same about tank controls, but I understand it was a necessity for games with fixed camera angles. Code Veronica definitely has a bit more backtracking than its predecessors, and even though it's much longer, there isn't much more enemy variation - maybe that's why it feels so repetitive? I actually played Resident Evil 4 just a few weeks ago and absolutely loved it too.

yeah thats probably it. all i know is that when i played RE4 for the first time, it was quite a refreshing experience with its novel 3rd person perspective. are you excited for the upcoming RE3 remake? im stoked! looking forward to your review about it!

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