Resident Evil 4 & Resident Evil Code: Veronica X HD review

resident evil 4 code veronica x review hd 2

Way back in 1996, the first Resident Evil kick-started a franchise that would come to define the “survival horror” genre in gaming. Now, 15 years and countless sequels, prequels, re-releases, and console ports later, we’re getting high-definition versions of two of the most popular installments of the franchise: Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil Code: Veronica X.

The two games arrive as downloadable titles for Xbox Live and Playstation Network this month, with RE4 available now and Code: Veronica X available Tuesday, September 27. Given both games’ critical acclaim, it’s no surprise that they’re getting a fresh coat of hi-def paint for the franchise’s 15th anniversary — but are the latest iterations worth the dent in your wallet and space on your hard drive?

In short, the answer will likely depend on your history with the Resident Evil franchise, but here’s what we found on our playthrough of both games.

Resident Evil 4 2.0

While most gamers have already played Resident Evil 4 in one of its incarnations, this is the title that clearly benefits the most from the high-def treatment and re-release. Originally released in January of 2005 as a Nintendo GameCube exclusive (then later ported over to the PlayStation 2), the game’s latest iteration is a great reminder why the original RE4 was so far ahead of its time — mainly because the HD version doesn’t feel like a six-year-old game.

At its core, the new RE4 offers all of the same great elements that made the original such a hit, with players on a mission to rescue the President’s daughter from a village populated by a freaky cult, and a mix of exciting action and RPG elements that set it apart from other games of the time. It’s also as likely to make you jump out of your seat today as it was six years ago, which shows how well the game accomplished what it set out to do back in 2005.

resident evil 4 code veronica x review hd 1

In its HD iteration, RE4 gets a nice visual upgrade that does more than just smooth the rough edges — it brings the whole game up to the same level as today’s titles that it’s competing with for gamers’ attention. The graphics get such a boost, in fact, that anyone who’s not aware of the original release would be excused for thinking the game was developed for high-def consoles.

Along with the visual tweaks, the HD re-release also comes with all of the same bonus features and play modes present in the later installments of Resident Evil 4 — including the wild Mercenary Mode — as well as the requisite XBL Achievements and PSN Trophies.

However, therein lies one of the few faults to be found in the new version of the game.

Both Resident Evil 4 and Code: Veronica X each offer 12 achievements/trophies for players. And while it’s nice to have any unlockable goals at all, it feels like Capcom missed a golden opportunity with this element of both games.

Achievement Locked

The bulk of the achievements created for the game are of the checkpoint variety and not the sort that encourage creative play on subsequent playthroughs. You unlock one achievement when you complete a certain chapter or defeat a boss, then another at a later point in the narrative, and so on. The absence of achievements that unlock after killing a certain number of zombies (or infected villagers) or upgrading your weapons to a certain point is definitely conspicuous, given how common these types of achievements are in most games today.

Given the emphasis the game puts on targeted shooting and combining your use of weapons with hand-to-hand combat, the lack of achievements that recognize this aspect of the game is even more noticeable.

Even with that criticism, however, there’s a strong case to be made for Resident Evil 4 as not just a great re-release of a classic game, but as an excellent standalone game altogether. Not only does the HD version of the game hold its own among the available library of downloadable titles, it manages to prove yet again that it’s a great game overall, sans console or format qualifiers.

resident evil 4 code veronica x review hd 03Resident Evil Code: Veronica X 1.5-ish

Sadly, the case for Code: Veronica X isn’t as strong. Originally released back in 2000 and later released in 2001 with upgraded graphics and additional cut scenes (among other tweaks), Code: Veronica X definitely shows its age in its HD re-release.

While the character control in Resident Evil 4 felt simplified but intuitive, control of the multiple characters you play as in Code: Veronica X is the sort of nostalgia many gamers would be happier not revisiting. For those who haven’t spent much time with the Resident Evil franchise, the clunky, limited mobility of your character (and the very capable movement of the creatures looking to bite out of you) will likely be a harsh — and occasionally frustrating — reminder of how far we’ve come in the last decade.

And though Code: Veronica X has also received a significant upgrade in the graphics department, it’s clear that there’s only so much you can do with a game released more than ten years ago.

One thing that’s interesting to note about the HD version of Code: Veronica X is the way in which the footage added in the later version of the game (when it went from Code: Veronica to Code: Veronica X) appears to play nicer with the high-def upgrade. At times, the game seems to offer two very different styles of cinematic: one filled with sharp edges and errant pixels, and another with a smoother (albeit more blurry) take on the action. This was an issue with the original Code: Veronica X, and the high-def treatment seems to have accentuated the difference between the cut scenes rather than helping them to meet in the middle.

Still, even with these criticisms, there’s a lot for faithful Resident Evil franchise fans to like about the re-release of Code: Veronica X.

resident evil 4 code veronica x review hd 1

Despite its shortcoming by today’s standards, Code: Veronica X was a bona fide hit when it originally hit shelves, thanks to an immersive story that starts you off as a prisoner on a remote island prison complex filled with shambling zombies and other assorted creatures. The game featured a number of innovative (at the time) elements that gamers take for granted today, and the bonus game modes and extra features that accompanied it and are included in the HD re-release remain a great example of how to encourage play well beyond the main narrative arc.

As we mentioned earlier, the achievements/trophies are a nice addition, though they’re just as checkpoint-based in Code Veronica X as they are in Resident Evil 4.


All things considered, the takeaway on Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil Code: Veronica X is this: For anyone who hasn’t played Resident Evil 4 or has played it and enjoyed it, the game’s HD re-release is a must-have title for your console’s library. Not only is it one of the best games from one of the industry’s most popular franchises, but it’s a great game on its own, capable of holding its own against the best games available on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network.

As for Resident Evil Code: Veronica X, the real appeal of the HD re-release lies in both its nostalgic value and its place in the greater Resident Evil franchise. Diehard Resident Evil fans will enjoy the touch-up the game received, and both the story and replay elements retain a lot of the fun that made the game such a hit when it was first released. However, it seems unlikely that anyone without that personal attachment to the game will find the same level of enjoyment in revisiting Code: Veronica X.

Resident Evil 4 is available for download on Xbox Live and Playstation Network now, while Resident Evil Code: Veronica X will be available Tuesday, September 27. Both games will cost $19.99 or 1600 Microsoft Points.

 (This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360 on a copy provided by Capcom)


PlayStation Classic hacked in less than a week to play games via USB drive

Hackers have already managed to crack the PlayStation Classic, with programs now available to allow users to play additional original PlayStation games on the system via a USB drive.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.

Psychedelic 'Spider-Man,' Superman goes evil, 'Star Trek: Discovery' trailer

This week on Between the Streams, we'll talk about the wondrous, psychedelic adventure that is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. We'll also discuss Dr. Strange 2, the freaky trailer for Brightburn (Superman goes evil?), and more.

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Find the perfect weapon in 'Call of Duty: Black Ops 4' multiplayer with our guide

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has several different guns to choose from in its multiplayer mode, and they're split across multiple classes. Here's a guide to all of them and when you should use them.

New ‘Stardew Valley’ content on the way, as game’s maker freezes next project

Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone said that he will continue working on new content for the indie farming simulator. The developer previously said that he will devote all his time to his next game, but that has been placed on hold for now.

Underwater survival game ‘Subnautica’ free on Epic Games’ online store

The award-winning underwater survival game Subnautica is currently available as a free download on the Epic Games store. The Steam challenger looks to attract players with a new free game every two weeks.

Kanye West wants to meet ‘Metal Gear Solid’ creator Hideo Kojima, for some reason

Rapper Kanye West wants to meet video game designer Hideo Kojima in New York. Nobody knows the reason behind the meeting, but fans are speculating that it may have something to do with Death Stranding for the PlayStation 4.

Sharing your best gameplay moments is quick and easy on the Xbox One

The current generation of consoles make it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.

‘Kingdom Hearts III’ out in the wild, director asks for support to stop spoilers

Kingdom Hearts III has been leaked, with several copies of the game out in the wild. The game's director, Tetsuya Nomura, responded to the situation, calling for help from gamers to stop spoilers from spreading online.

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.