Resident Evil Code: Veronica is the first Resident Evil game to use a 3D background instead of pre-rendered ones. However, the player still has no control over the camera as it swings between semi-fixed angles and the skybox is pre-rendered. Two weapons (Sniper Rifle and Linear Launcher) can be fired from the character's view and the unlockable minigame has a first person mode available.
Many features have been brought over from RE3 (since both were created in tandem) such as oil drums and an 180-degree turn. Items from Resident Evil 2, such as upgradeable handgun parts and "side packs" for larger item capacity are featured, as well as new weapons such as explosive crossbow bolts and Anti-B.O.W. rounds for the grenade launcher. A unique feature is the ability to dual wield pistols, letting the player target two enemies at once. Some less dynamic changes are the addition of continues and the ability to pick up and use herbs when one's inventory is full.
There are three protagonists, Claire Redfield, Steve Burnside and Chris Redfield. However, unlike the first two games where the player could choose which character they want to play as, the player is forced to control Claire for the first half of the game and then complete the second half with Chris. Steve Burnside is briefly playable in Claire's half of the game as Claire is also playable in Chris' half for a short period of time.
After completing the main game, a Battle Game mini-game is unlocked in which the player is able to choose one of five characters (Claire, Chris, Steve, Wesker and an alternate version of Claire) and clear rooms of enemies until they reach a character specific boss. There is a hidden room in the Battle Game with a slot machine that gives you items and a journal or diary belonging to someone named D.I.J.. During the Battle Game mini-game each playable character has a bonus motion, for example, Chris can examine the tiger statue and Claire is affected when she just walks through a certain cold area.