This console generation has spoilt Resident Evil fans, with the 24 year old series receiving a variety of re-releases of High Definition versions of past hits and a new Resident Evil: Revelations sequel. Although, it was 2017’s Resident Evil 7: Biohazard that put the series back into the spotlight with its much needed return to survival horror form. It was followed up with last years exceptional Resident Evil 2 remake that won multiple Game of the Year awards, with praise for its presentation, gameplay, and faithfulness to the original. It would go on to sell over 5 million units. Enter 2020 and following the RE2 remake success, Resident Evil 3 is the next game to get the remake treatment and it has high expectations to live up to.
As soon as the player steps into the boots of former Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.) member Jill Valentine it is easy to see that care was put into this titles art style. The visuals are a delight with RE3 using the RE Engine that was also used in RE7, RE2 remake and the gorgeous Devil May Cry 5. The character models look fantastic and I am a massive fan of Jill’s new look. The cutscenes are also spectacular and Capcom have produced one of their prettiest games to date.
RE3 continues in the steps of RE2 with keeping the third person over the shoulder camera. The controls are very similar to those of the RE2 remake with the inclusion of a dodge manoeuvre on the right bumper. This dodge button was included on the original RE3: Nemesis but was infamously known to not work very well, unlike 2020 where correct timing of a dodge will give players a perfect dodge. The perfect dodge has the screen flash, slowing down time and giving the player a chance to go on the offensive or flee from danger. Players are able to dodge in any direction and this is a welcomed edition to the series.
The story stays close to the original with it starting 24 hours before and crossing over with the events of RE2. The main focus is still on Jill Valentine attempting to escape Racoon City as the T-Virus outbreak occurs. While escaping the city, Jill is hunted by a bioweapon known as the Nemesis, who attempts to kill her and her S.T.A.R.S. team members. Jill will also cross paths with a number of characters, such as other S.T.A.R.S. members, Umbrella mercenaries and a surprise or two. The game also follows Carlos Oliveira, who is hired by Umbrella but unaware of the horrors they have conducted. Players will take control of Carlos who plays a significant role in the overall story and get to use his special unit equipment to help him and Jill shoot their way out of Racoon City.
Unfortunately, the words “shoot their way out of Racoon City” is what the RE3 remake is mainly about. Even though there are tense moments throughout the game, RE3 is more about shooting hordes of undead than it is about survival horror. The original RE3: Nemesis was infamous for being action heavy but it had numerous puzzles, boss fights and enemy types. Sadly for this entry, not including the Nemesis, the variety of enemy types can nearly be counted on one hand and most of the different enemy types are only found in small numbers and only in certain areas. For example, the confirmed Drain Deimos bugs are back but these are only found in one 10-minute section and then never seen again for the games duration. Disappointingly, other long running franchise enemies get similar treatment.
Just like missing multiple enemies from the original game, are the missing boss battles. The Grave Digger is absent from the game altogether, although it was never the best boss battle of the original game, it was there, giving the player more content that could have been easily included, rather than just battling the Nemesis a bunch of times. When the player does fight the Nemesis in boss battles, the player is always in control. There is so much ammo and health lying around on the games normal difficulty that the player never has to worry about survival. Surprisingly there is an easier Assisted mode and I encourage survival horror fans to start on the Hardcore difficulty if they want a real challenge.
Also stripped from this remake are the majority of puzzles. For players that remember the original Clock Tower location and puzzle in RE3: Nemesis, it’s gone! Somebody, somewhere thought it would be a good idea to remove puzzles from a Resident Evil game and include fetch quests for most of the main objectives. Capcom tried this once before and it was called Resident Evil 6, which for many fans is its lowest point in the series. There are a couple of very minor puzzles but these require little brainpower and my 4 year old could work them out. I am baffled at Capcom’s decision to not include these puzzles and the missing original enemy types.
There has been a lot of talk surrounding the Nemesis in this remake, with him being played up as a beefed up and smarter Mr X, but this is also not the case. Players will deal with the Nemesis in 3 ways, the first being in chase sequences, where the player as Jill runs, very slowly away from the Nemesis. If he gets close, a simple dodge is used to evade and keep moving until a cutscene starts. The next is in the normal open world but this also only happens at scripted times, using the dodge to evade and move on until a cutscene starts. Note that he can be downed for a matter of seconds allowing the player to collect pick ups such as ammo and health items but evading him is easier. And the final encounters are the boss battles that are far too easy, in my playthrough I was only killed once and that was from a one hit kill move that I was initially unaware of. The best encounters with the Nemesis are during the cutscenes. These cutscenes show the finest moments of action but literally take the control out of the player’s hands who are forced to merely watch the best parts unfold. There were too many times I was thinking that I could be playing this part, even if it was a goddamn Quick Time Event, at least I would have felt like I contributed to the outcome. In the end, Mr X in RE2 felt intimidating, had the heart racing and gave the player anxiety when his footsteps were heard. The Nemesis on the other hand is met with a yawn.
As the game is action orientated, there are a number of weapons available throughout the campaign, from the trusted knife, which does not break but isn’t useful and stashed as soon as I had 2 firearms through to the various firearms of the game. These firearms include a pistol, shotgun and grenade launcher that uses different types of rounds, such as Fire, Acid, Explosive and new to series, Land Mine rounds. Most weapons can be upgraded via parts that can be easily found with little exploration. As mentioned, I experienced no issue with ammo and at my 6 hour completion of the campaign I still had a stack of ammo and health in my magical chest. There is an abundance of green (health) and red (mixes with green to make stronger) herbs lying around that the player never feels threatened. Surprisingly, there are no blue herbs (cure poison), as there are no enemies that can poison the player to actually need them.
Players unlock credit points by completing certain challenges throughout the game, for example, getting 80 kills with the handgun. Credit points can be spent at the bonus menu on the title screen to unlock new weapons or tokens that award extra health or ammo. But truth be told, these things or hunting down the entire collectable figurines to shoot are hardly worthy reasons to go back.
Controlling Jill and Carlos can feel fidgety, both move very slowly and turn like semi trailers. It is understandable this is by design to make it tenser but then why remove the majority of survival horror elements and up the action? The quick turn, down and ‘B’ returns and is used frequently to escape enemies that get too close. It felt like a lot of zombies got a bite or attack in while my character seemed well out of arms distance. The majority of my minimal deaths came from times I felt comfortable but a zombie has somehow reached out and got me from way out of their visible reaching radius.
It is not all doom and gloom though. As stated, the visuals are spectacular and the inclusion on no HUD (Heads Up Display) but an ammo count when shooting works very well. The sound design is top notch, especially the groans of Zombies, Nemesis’s “STARRRRS” as he pursues Jill and the pop, crack or thud of weaponry. The story is engaging and I adored the supporting characters, especially Carlos. Including environmental hazards from the original game is also a nice touch; I enjoyed sucking the zombies in towards a red barrel before taking down half a dozen undead with one bullet. The return of the traditional map is here, where the area will go blue if all collectables or story files have been found but will remain red if something is still missing. This helps and lessens the chance of missing items and having to return to areas already visited.
Overall, it is a pity that Resident Evil 3 remake has dropped the ball. While its visuals and sound design are near a perfect ten, the game is just too shallow. It is bewildering as to why a lot of the substance that made the RE2 remake so successful is not present. The game is shorter than the RE3: Nemesis original game released over 20 years ago, missing puzzles, enemy types and a real thrill. After the amazing opening introductory levels and first hour is up, the sense of excitement just falls away and all that is left is a very average and very slow action game. If RE2 was praised for its presentation, gameplay, and faithfulness to the original, RE3 can only be praised for one of those aspects and that is not good enough.
Please note that a Resident Evil Resistance Review is to follow, as we would just like more time with it once it launches to the public.
+ Stunning visuals and backdrops
+ Great story and cutscenes
+ Amazing sound design
+ If you liked RE6 action focus, you will like this
– Action orientated, not survival horror
– Where are the puzzles?
– Removes a lot from the original game
– Very short and no much reason to replay
– Nemesis isn’t terrifying as promised
Final score: 7/10
Pottsy for One More Game
‘A review code was provided for the purpose of this review. All thoughts are ours and ours alone’