ARGH! Deja Vu!
I can’t begin to tell you the frustration that I have as a lover of the Resident Evil franchise right now. Resident Evil 5 was bad enough; a game that lost that wry, delicate sense of camp humour that just lifted the scares and kept it being too heavy and dark. It was also not as polished, refined or fun as Resident Evil 4.
Then last week, Resident Evil 4 HD. Actually, let’s scratch the HD from that because it is a limited, upscaled game with no optimisation for modern screens or controls. It’s still Resident Evil 4, mind you, but it’s a half-arsed job.
And nothing screams half-arsed than another shoddy upscale of easily the campest, most ridiculous and at times scariest installment of the franchise, Code: Veronica X.
C:Vx is one of my favourite Resident Evil games – not least the sheer size of the game, and the difficulty (it is the hardest of all the games because it is so claustrophobic and cramped for so much of the game, so conserving ammo can be a pain). And it’s not just because of Alfred Ashford, who is one of the most brilliant baddie inventions of all time, camp, yet sinister. Naive, yet very self-aware. And manly, but – as his secret reveals – ultra-feminine at the same time. There’s no doubt Alfred is very, very gay. In the nicest possible way. But it’s the stylised, cruel and sharp delivery that makes him one of the most delicious human threats the series has thrown up. He is brilliant. I applaud whatever booze-fuelled brain-storming session came up with him. Bravo. And you may now take them back to their padded cells.
So to see this game not in HD, just upscaled (badly), is heartbreaking. This was the best of the pre-Resi 4 era titles. Even better when they expanded it with C:Vx (Dreamcast version came sans-Wesker, who popped up in the PS2 re-write). This is a case in point of a crime against gaming – one of the finest, most brilliant survival horror games of the pre-Gears era being thrown out there in a sloppy, half-arsed fashion.
And there is no recourse here. For Resident Evil 4, we at least have the luxury that for the PC Version, the fans HAVE truly made it HD. They’ve tuned the models, the textures, the resolutions and crafted superior controls for it. Code: Veronica isn’t as fortunate, and it pains me deeply to see that Capcom couldn’t treat this game with the appropriate level of reverence and respect that it deserved.
Should we buy it? Gah. I have to say no. This is Capcom needing to sit on the naughty step again. They’ve rushed this stuff out to capitalise on the 15th Anniversary of the series, and it’s like being treated to those two girls you used to fancy. Yet now they’re kind of stretched, like a facelift gone bad, and you kind of think, “Eww. Was that REALLY necessary?”
If this is how Capcom are treating two of their best games, then Operation: Raccoon City is a game I am dreading…
I smell the unmistakable stench of a reboot on the way. Let’s hope they keep Alice away from it all…