There was a new generation of consoles coming and there needed to be a new generation of Resident Evil with it, and this is what RECV was going to be on Sega’s new console, the Dreamcast.
It had boosted graphics, all new backgrounds that used the games engine. No more pre rendered backgrounds for this instalment. The game was drastically more detailed than the previous incarnations and needed to be on two discs despite the increased hardware.
Also back was Claire Redfield from Resident Evil 2 and it was no longer set in Raccoon City, meaning this game was a full fledged sequel that aimed to progress the storyline a lot more than Resident Evil 3. Also back was Chris Redfield, but appearing much later in the game.
There was a lot of hype behind this game with it being a name addition on top of being on a new console so Capcom, but with the initial screens it was looking good and the reviews showed it too. Critics didn’t hail at as the best, but it was good. And I’d probably agree with that as well.
The drawback for the game initially was that you needed a Dreamcast to continue the Resident Evil storyline if you were a fan, it did get ported for the PlayStation 2 with CVX but for the time being if you were a Resident Evil fan, you probably had a Dreamcast.
The game follows Claire Redfield a bit after the events of Raccoon City. She investigated an Umbrella facility in Europe and was captured and moved to a seemingly Umbrella controlled prison island somewhere.
The prison was then attacked and being Umbrella owned zombies were never too far away, and that’s where the game takes you, trying to escape from a new nightmare created by Umbrella.
The plot line for does start to move the series in a more comical way with cross dressing nonsense and a genius child experimenting on herself. Everything was somewhat normal before CV and it’s argued this is the starting point of RE taking a comical view.
However, the game did provide some good twists and turns, not only with the main storyline but with a returning character after 3 sequels whose appearance expands the series plotline further and further which was not finalised until Resident Evil 5. It also showed that Umbrella were still going even after the Raccoon City incident. More so, CV helped shed some light on a bit of the history of the organisation and its foundation.
Aiding to the plot was a larger storyline covering two massive levels, where there were a few sub plot a main plot and a hidden plot. All of these did add up to give a much richer and rewarding overall. Even if it was wacky at times.
The gameplay formula really hasn’t changed, even if you played RE1 straight after you’d be comfortable. It is STILL very tense having these types of controls, however there doesn’t seem to be any upgrades here, even the dodge option in RE3 was removed. However good it works, it does leave a feeling that something could have been updated whilst still keeping the same feel of a Resident Evil game.
Item boxes, inventory screen, herbs, weapons. Just some of the things still in CV and haven’t changed, this section of the article is very negative, but it is a good game. It was just this aspect was left untouched. There was nothing really wrong with it, but it was just stale.
There really isn’t much to say here, there weren’t any improvements or even big changes in the gameplay with CV, it more or less stayed exactly the same. One of the mini games had first person mode, but that really was it.
How to deal with monsters had stayed the same as well, and the monsters themselves still behaved quite the same. It was all still quite stiff, there is one particular boss fight that is made more difficult because of the tank controls on the plane, and this is the kind of fight that shows how desperate the series needs to improve in this department.
The puzzles were still the same format of fetch, push and a riddle, so no change there. Some puzzles were imaginative and hard such as the gas mask conveyer puzzle, but nothing really new here. If you played the previous RE games you’re well equipped for this one.
Finally, a bit of positivity. The graphics for CV were drastically improved over its predecessors. Character models were much, much more smooth and detailed. Their hair, clothes, movement and facial expressions were all very, very impressive at the time.
A major change were the pre-rendered backgrounds…they were gone! Replaced with CV’s own graphics engine so that everything looked in place. No more puzzle solutions ruined because it obviously looked out of place. It looked gorgeous.
The monsters obviously got a makeover and were much more detailed, particular the B.O.W there’s not much you can do with a zombie but the hunters and bandersnatches look great. However, one gripe I have with the graphics is that the gore was reduced and zombie’s heads won’t get blasted off. This was a disappointment because that was one of the better parts of a shotgun or a grenade launcher.
Keeping your items in the inventory remained the same and had been giving a minor touch up. It looked a bit more modern, but using that type of inventory was not so modern anymore.
CV was a good looking game, and it was made much more atmospheric because of the extra detail, and things felt more alive. However, as a downside, the game looked very square and designed in a very exact and straight way. It’s hard to describe, but you if you played the game and paid attention to the lines you’d see what I mean.
CGI still had a place in Resident Evil and had been upgraded somewhat and using a different style. However, the use of CGI was actually quite minimal, with the majority of scenes using the games own engine. The opening scene was spectacular as well as the closing scene.
CV has its own distinct sound and was quite well known for it’s theme and its different variants that appear throughout the fame. The other sounds were very good as well and were quite different in style from the other RE’s. Atmospheric but in a much more different way. If the other games were trying to get “fear” then CV was trying to get “danger” as its message across. And with good effect, too.
The other sound effects seem to be ripped from Resident Evil 2, and you will notice that the zombies moan in an identical way. This rule goes for footstep noise, doors opening and closing and even some of the weapons. Disappointed with that.
Themes started to become much more apparent in CV, for example when Chris made a speech or any event where Alexia involved and definitely when the returning character was there the theme was also there. RE2 and 3 had themes throughout and so did CV. A theme that always seems to go unnoticed and a favourite of mine is the adult Albinoid theme. A bit of a pointless fight so that’s why you may not notice it.
To conclude, the sounds were good with the music standing out in particular, and although the sound effects had been recycled, they were still pretty good.
CV was well received but it was still not a classic, it didn’t explode on the scene like the original and 2. It didn’t bring anything overly new to the table for the series apart from the graphics. It was just an extension and didn’t add much.
There were other things that were obviously popular, the return of an old character, how strange one of the antagonists are and that difficult boss fight at the end of the first disc.
But overall really, CV was a good game, not bad not great, just good. But it didn’t have the impact it deserved and maybe CVX had more of an impact as the Dreamcast itself didn’t fare too well.
CV was used for Gun survivor 2 and also was remade somewhat in Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicle but other than that the only legacy CV had was to continue the plot forward a bit. It’s a shame but CV was not really groundbreaking and didn’t have much imagination in it to have a lasting impact.
To conclude though, CV is a good game but it may require someone to be a fan of the series to think like that. But it does seem that Capcom really did play it safe with this one.