Review: Resident Evil 3
Last year we saw the release of Resident Evil 2, a remake that exceeded expectations and hit the number one spot on our top games of 2019. A year later, and we have Resident Evil 3, a remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis which continues to expand on the tragic events that took place in Raccoon City.
Let’s see how much we can talk about this game without comparing it to RE2 and its original! (spoiler: it wasn’t possible)
Capcom will release Resident Evil 3 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC (Steam) tomorrow, Friday, April 3. We had a chance to check out the PC version for this review.
Somehow… I’m Still Alive
Taking place prior to (and after) the events of Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3 throws you into the shoes of S.T.A.R.S. member Jill Valentine, who after the “mansion incident” that takes place in the original Resident Evil, is still living in Raccoon City as the zombie-creating T-virus outbreak occurs.
However, the zombies will be the least of Jill’s worries as she encounters a creature whose sights are set on her and fellow S.T.A.R.S. member Brad Vickers. She quickly encounters a group of the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (U.B.C.S.) including Carlos Oliveira and teams up with them in order to escape the city.
The classic Resident Evil experience is here as you move from location to location, solving some puzzles and finding documents left by the denizens of Raccoon City that serve to expand on the tragic world view of a city in chaos.
The core narrative of the original is still intact here in the remake, though a lot of things have been adjusted to both mesh well with last year’s RE2, and to give players something new. That ‘new’ however, is more drastic than I would have anticipated. With this remake of Resident Evil 3, it feels like they’ve changed up quite a few things. It’s really interesting how differently the remake takes the story and molds it without changing the series’ canon.
It’s After S.T.A.R.S. Members
After running through the halls of the Raccoon City Police Department in Resident Evil 2 and hearing the footsteps of the towering Mr. X as he looked for me, I was very anxious to see how RE3’s Nemesis would be approached. While there certainly is shock factor in his appearances, Nemesis’ screen time certainly feels more action-oriented than something from a survival horror title (more on that in a bit).
In addition to Nemesis and the run-of-the-mill zombies, there are a handful of other enemy types both new and old. The most notable of them is the addition of a zombie infected by Nemesis, who has a head that can lash out with a tentacle and slash at you. The closest comparison I could think to make would be of the parasite-based enemies in later entries in the series. These can have quite a range on them, which means you want to dispatch them as quickly as you can. The hunters from the original Resident Evil also make a come back as well.
Resident Evil 3 adds some environmental hazards into the mix, just as the original game did for the series. Explosive barrels and power generators can be found around the city and if Jill finds herself surrounded, shooting one of these can explode (obviously) or electrocute and stun nearby enemies to help you out if you run into more than the lone zombie. Another new feature is the perfect dodge, which helps Jill evade an enemy and, in some cases, slow down time to help get a precision hit in on your target. While getting the hang of it might take some practice, it’s definitely a welcome addition.
Being a remake, its a given that there are going to be some changes to the path that Jill takes to get out of Raccoon City, however I was disappointed with some things that were excluded from this new vision. The original’s clock tower, for example, isn’t really a key location for the remake, though it is present if only as a nod. Other locations are, unfortunately, removed entirely. That having been said, the game did expand a great deal on its hospital location, giving it a very fresh coat of paint, both physically and narratively.
One of the things the series was known for, especially early on, were its odd, cryptic puzzles. The puzzles in Resident Evil 3 have been modernized and are seemingly much more practical than in the original. Find some fuses to make an elevator work, find bolt cutters to open a chained door, etc. There was really only one puzzle that felt like it was something you would find in a Resident Evil title, and it appeared to only exist as a way to give a nod back to the original game. You won’t be collecting odd keys or parts of statues in this game – though, why should you? In a modernized city setting, that would be kind of… weird, wouldn’t it?
You Don’t Scare Me… As Much
In a way, the shift to what feels like more action-based moments in Resident Evil 3, oddly enough, remind me of the similar action-based shift in direction taken during the film Resident Evil: Apocalypse (and I know full well that there will be those out there rolling their eyes heavily at the mention of the film franchise). There are, of course, still environments that made me feel a sense of unease, but I don’t really ever remember having the same type of fear run through my bones with Nemesis as I did with Mr. X in RE2. Maybe it’s because Nemesis doesn’t wear a hat? Though, it’s more likely that its because you don’t hear footsteps slowly wandering outside on the streets of Raccoon City making you afraid to open a door or make noise that could lead to an unwanted encounter. Instead, these action heavy run-ins with Nemesis are more plot driven, helping Jill move from point A to B and helping drive the story forward.
The quality of the voice overs for Resident Evil 3, while good, also feel inconsistent. Key characters like Jill and Carlos look and sound great, however, the voices of the Russian U.B.C.S. seemed to fall flat in comparison.
Playing it on PC, I did run into some issues where the lighting wasn’t working quite as it should, with certain lights or things like flames only popping up on my screen when I was close to them. However, I will admit that another of my systems ran it fine and so it could very well be hardware related on my end.
Out With The Old, In With The New
While last year’s Resident Evil 2 took the story and settings of the original game and expanded them into a finely tuned masterpiece, Resident Evil 3 feels like it took a much different approach. The story, and the path it takes from beginning to end, has seen some substantial changes compared to the original to the point where it’s sometimes difficult to see any semblance of its source material under this new coat of polygons and paint.
That having been said, I did enjoy my time with Resident Evil 3 and I think that fans of the series, or fans of its predecessor, will enjoy it. However, one group I feel like it might struggle to impress are the fans of the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis which is quite unfortunate after how well last year’s Resident Evil 2 was received.
Review copy provided by Capcom for PC. Screenshots courtesy of Capcom.