Resident Evil – Code: Veronica: Better than Resident Evil 3

It looks like 2020 is going to be another big year for gaming. We are going to get the long-awaited Final Fantasy VII Remake this coming March, Cyberpunk 2077 in April, The Last of Us Part II in May, Ghost of Tsushima sometime in the middle of the year. Not only that, Capcom recently revealed that they have secretly been working on a remake of Resident Evil 3 and is slated to be released in April!

This means that Capcom will have remade or remastered practically all of their earlier Resident Evil games. The only one that hasn’t received the update treatment is sadly also one of my favorite games in the series. It’s the one game that made me decide to buy a Dreamcast.

That game, of course is Resident Evil – Code: Veronica.

I do find it rather strange that, in the grand scheme of things, not many fans talk about Resident Evil – Code: Veronica. Even when the Resident Evil 2 Remake was released, there were definitely more fans clamoring for Capcom to remake Resident Evil 3. While I do like Resident Evil 3, I just think it doesn’t hold a candle to how awesome Code Veronica is. In fact, I would even say that it’s the most underrated games in the series. In my opinion, of course.

A lot of my thoughts as to why I hold Code: Veronica up to a higher standard that Resident Evil 3 is the progression of the story. In Resident Evil 3, you take control of Jill Valentine, the female hero from the first game, and Carlos Oliviera, an Umbrella operative, for a short time. The game takes place in Raccoon City but not in several locations sprinkled throughout the city. This time, Jill does go running around Raccoon City’s alleys and streets, which is cool and all. She does this while being stalked by Nemesis, a Tyrant programmed to hunt STARS members.

This is all well and good but Resident Evil 3 always struck me as odd. It felt like a placeholder for something different. For one thing, the game is set concurrently during the events of Resident Evil 2. By the end of Resident Evil 2, I was pretty much done with Raccoon City and I was ready to see where the series would go from there. I mean, they already nuked it in the previous game!

I also felt that Resident Evil 3 had a lot of issues with the level design. I know that backtracking is a trope for survival horror games but Resident Evil 3 seemed to take things up a notch. This is probably something Capcom is going to fix in the remake, hopefully. But all that backtracking did get on my nerves, which is something that never bothered me before.

I also think the game tried to be more action oriented but the folks at Capcom couldn’t figure out how to execute it properly. I say this because of the addition of the dodge mechanic. Dodging in the game is a pain for so many reasons. Thanks to the fixed camera angles, it’s hard to really get a good angle of the zombies and Nemesis, making it very difficult to see when to dodge. It also doesn’t help that you’re usually going to be in a cramped corridor so, even if you do dodge, you’ll probably still get hit. Overall, I do think Resident Evil 3 is a good game but it’s just the weakest of the original series, especially after the phenomenal Resident Evil 2.

Resident Evil – Code: Veronica on the other hand was the sequel to the series that I wanted. Not only did it feel bigger, it advanced the mythos of the Resident Evil franchise.

While it has been hinted that Umbrella is a global corporation but much more nefarious than your regular pharmaceutical company (or are they?), you never really see how far reaching their influence is in the earlier games. Code: Veronica does. In the intro, you see Claire Redfield infiltrate an Umbrella office in Europe in the hopes of finding a clue to where her brother, Chris Redfield, is. Code: Veronica not only takes place in a prison island but in a base in Antarctica. This does give the game a feeling that things are bigger.

It also does a great deal of fleshing out the characters even more. Claire Redfield returns from Resident Evil 2 and is still searching for her brother, as mentioned. The thing is, she does finally find him, or rather, it’s Chris who finds her when she gets captured for a second time. It’s hinted that Chris has joined forces with the government and with Leon Kennedy. This was the start of Chris Redfield being more of a badass as he has to scale a mountain cliff just to infiltrate the prison. He even takes on an enhanced Wesker a couple of times!

Speaking of which, Code: Veronica reveals Wesker’s fate, which was one of the best reveals for me at the time. In the first Resident Evil, I always thought that Wesker went out like a punk, getting killed by his own creation. How cliche! In Code: Veronica, it’s revealed that Wesker managed to save himself by injecting himself with a sample of the T-Virus. But somehow, he managed to gain superhuman abilities without losing his intelligence and not becoming a super-deformed monster! That redeemed Wesker in my book. It did leave me scratching my head as to why they don’t inject all their soldiers with that virus. But that’s a different story.

As much as I’ve ragged on about Resident Evil 3 and have been heaping praise on Code: Veronica, I am still super happy Capcom is giving Jill Valentine’s last escape from Raccoon City the remake treatment. I have a feeling it’s going to be great, especially if they improve the gameplay (and fix the damn dodging mechanic) and remove some of the long backtracking that extended the playtime unnecessarily. They did that with Resident Evil 2 Remake so they’ll give Resident Evil 3 the same treatment for sure.

However, I do wish that Capcom doesn’t forget that Resident Evil – Code: Veronica exists as well. It’s one of the better games in the series, even though it is not mentioned all that often. I hope they will eventually get around to remastering this classic gem after Resident Evil 3. Hint, hint.

Which game is better in your opinion? Resident Evil 3 or Resident Evil – Code: Veronica? Let me know in the comments section below!

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