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by Capcom

RECVX03-01.jpg (3061 bytes)I should start off by saying that this Resident Evil was the first one I’ve really played through. My friend Doug had the original RE a few years back, so I tried it. I got bored after awhile and quit, without getting to the meat of the game. I did get the basic feel though. It should also be said that I have played through Silent Hill extensively, so I do know a thing or two about survival-horror games. I know it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges, but it’ll have to do. On with the review!

RECVX07-01.jpg (3169 bytes)After I was done drooling over the XXL shirt Capcom sent (perks!), I decided to get my ass in gear and start playing. The game is (initially) based on Claire Redfield trying to escape the Umbrella (bad guys) island she is being held captive on, making friends and blasting zombies along the way.

RECVX06-01.jpg (4193 bytes)One thing that I noticed right away were the superb graphics. Be it the CG cinemas, real time cinemas, or just hands on playing, blasting caps into zombies has never been shown with such vibrant clarity. A minor gripe: the loading screens, that whole opening the door cinema and going up the stairs. Isn’t the PS2 powerful enough to make these unnecessary? It’s much easier to tell what monster is coming at you from a distance now. This isn’t all good however. I assume the developers wanted to show off their artwork as much as possible, so they were rather reluctant in atmosphere. I’m talking about not being able to tell what’s coming towards you. Fog. I know that Silent Hill’s fog was there for technical limitation as much as atmosphere, but it added a certain feel to the game. Not knowing if you were about to face a horrific monster or just a little baby ghost who couldn’t harm you added tension without cut scenes. What I’m saying is that the graphics are marvelous, I just wish they would’ve tried to use the atmosphere to scare you a bit.

RECVX05-01.jpg (5157 bytes)The audio is great. I remember how the first Resident Evil had horrible, atrocious voice acting. It was almost a comic relief. This go around you actually care about the dialogue thanks to the skill of the voice actors. The voices really, to put it the best way I could, emote. They are more of a window to what the character is feeling than facial expressions. The sound effects are equally impressive. I had this baby hooked up to my $200 stereo for most of the time and I was never disappointed. The sound effects were not only well-recorded, but downright perfectly in sync with the on screen action. I wasn’t surprised at this when a zombie popped through the window, but minute detail such as typing on a computer keyboard just floored me. It’s a small detail, but it’s the small details that really immerse you into an adventure game. The music was typical, but I loved how they had false climaxes. The music would get more and more dramatic till you couldn’t take it anymore, thinking that some horrible hideous monster must be right around the corner, and then the music just stops. A great effect.

RECVX10-01.jpg (5295 bytes)As for control…yuck. You’d think that if they overhauled the graphics so much that they would have done the same with the control, but Capcom hasn’t quite caught up to the times. Navigating your character is the exact same as it was five years ago, except for the addition of the 180 degree turn maneuver. Now, There are two sides to every issue, and I’ll address them both. If you did not know, the control of movement in RE games is character based; meaning that you press up to go in the direction that the character is facing and left and right to rotate, as opposed to regular game control that is camera based meaning that you press up to go up the screen, left to go left, etc. Why did they do this? Two reasons.

RECVX02-01.jpg (5298 bytes)First, in games with as many sudden camera angle changes as this, camera dependent control doesn’t usually work. If you’re going to the top of the screen (pressing up) and then the camera changes to a different angle, your character will begin to go in a different direction, because the direction of up has now changed since the camera has changed. This could mean that you go back and forth between camera angles by accident – not good when zombies are on your six. The character based control solves this problem: up is always forward, down is always backward. But there is a much better solution, and Capcom came up with it. In the included Devil May Cry demo, the control is camera based; except for when the camera angle changes. Then the control becomes character based until you change direction again. Meaning that you press up to go up the screen, then the camera angle changes, now the direction you want to go is down, but as long as you keep pressing the up button, you’ll be going the direction you want.Sorry if that was a bit confusing. Just rent Devil May Cry to find out what I mean. And finally, reason number two: This is a survival horror game. In order to create suspense, you must feel in danger. A limited control does the trick nicely. But this control is a bit too limiting. I’m sure if Capcom tried, they could solve this problem for the next RE.

RECVX01-01.jpg (4400 bytes)Now, onto my biggest gripe: No real fear. I never got really concerned. There were a couple things that surprised me, but nothing that made me too scared to turn off the lights. I mean, sure, zombies busting through windows is cool and freaky at first, but after five years it’s gotten a bit stale. What they need to do is to use more suspense and foreshadowing. A great example is found in (once again) Silent Hill. In one part, you go into a room with a ton of drawers. One of them is rattling and shaking like hell. You open it up (with a swelling musical score no less) and a cute little kitty jumps out. Later in the game, in the alternate reality (don’t ask), you back to the same room. The drawer is rattling again. You assume it must be the cat. These assumptions are proved by the lack of dramatic music; just the normal score. So you open it up, and nothing’s in it. You’re confused, and think that something must be in that room (or that this is a sign that you better go save). So you turn to leave, and SMACK!!! A dead decomposing body falls out of a locker. It was by far the creepiest scene in a game I’ve ever seen. I hope to see the Resident Evil series go to that style more. Instead of the current "BOO!" scares that the games offer, I want some psychological spooks.

Don’t get me wrong, Resident Evil: Code Veronica X is a very solid game. It's sure to give you a good couple weeks of enjoyable playtime. If you have enjoyed the RE series in the past, you know exactly what you’re getting. Just don’t expect anything revolutionary.

David Logan   (09/27/2001)


Ups: Great visuals; great enemy design; excellent if you don't mind more of the same in RE games.

Downs: Not enough spooky ambiance; control scheme is dated; story is getting old.

Sony PlayStation 2