Jill Valentine is one of the last remaining people in Raccoon City to witness the atrocities Umbrella performed. To stop her, Umbrella unleashes their ultimate secret weapon… Nemesis!
Reviewed on: PS4 (Pro unit)
Also available for: PC, Xbox One
Cast: Nicole Tompkins, Jeff Schine, David Cockman, Neil Newbon, William Hope, Sterling Sulieman, Darren O’Hare, Rick Zieff, Christopher Mychael Watson, Ken Lally, Todd Haberkorn
‘Resident Evil 3’ includes the multiplayer game ‘Resident Evil Resistance’ which we shall review separately as it’s a standalone experience.
After the success of the Resident Evil 2 remake in 2019, Capcom has moved quickly to capitalize on it twelve months later by following up with a Resident Evil 3 remake. The original RE2 has a special place in many people’s hearts, as it does my own, and although the third instalment of the zombie franchise can often be left in its shadow, this remake looks to change that narrative once and for all.
RE3 takes place during the same period as RE2 and once again places the player in control of a S.T.A.R.S member, this time that being Jill Valentine (returning from RE1) as well as Umbrella’s Carlos Oliveira as they fight through the streets of Racoon City, escaping Umbrella’s latest bioweapon, the hulking Nemesis.
After my approximately six-hour playtime of Resident Evil 3, I had time to reflect upon the narrative and realise that there was not much of the original games’ story that I could remember. Upon checking through a synopsis of the original game I have begun to realise the scale of the changes that have been made for the remake. The main story beats remain much the same throughout the game but how the story plays out and Jill’s overall objectives are fleshed out to be a lot more substantial for the Resident Evil universe overall. I was especially delighted by the amount of time that is spent as Carlos, a character making his first RE appearance who is tasked with a mission that leads him to the infamous Racoon City Police Department hours before the events of Resident Evil 2. This is a fantastic addition to the story as well as what follows which builds upon and that further builds the story of Raccoon City and its events by answering questions that you may not have asked, but shine more light upon what happens in Resident Evil 2.
As you make your way through the zombie-filled streets of Racoon City, Resident Evil 3 is quick to introduce you to a range of creatures that have been infected in different ways by the Umbrella Corporation in a more streamlined fashion compared to the previous instalments. The creatures range from insectoids that infect you with parasites too large beasts that hunt you throughout buildings with the possibility of killing you in an instant. This range of creatures leads to the game feeling a lot more action-based requiring a variety of weapons and items to be able to fight your way through levels. Because of this rapid cast of creatures they often only appear for a small portion of the game and don’t make an appearance in its later stages. This is somewhat disappointing as the gameplay loop of particular areas would take away some of the suspense as you could presume what creatures were ahead of you before you moved on to a new area. At some points, I was grateful for this as I could prepare my inventory for the situation but this would also remove some of the suspense from the game which many of the franchise fans have come accustomed too.
But do not let this wide range of monsters overshadow the traditional zombies that still fill the areas and are just as tenacious and nasty as ever. Just because you may have dropped the zombie does not mean it’s dead; just because you checked that dead body on the last three times you ran through a room does not mean it won’t get back up on the fourth to try and eat you. No matter how prepared you are for each zombie and each room it can change depending on what decides to get up, this can lead to tense situations, but it can also give players a bit of a cheap death when bodies you are certain were dead on your previous walkthrough stand up as if they were playing dead fish. Of course, you can just run around these creatures but when it gets to later in the game where both characters can interact in the same areas, you may be making life harder for yourself down the track. This is where the depth of Resident Evil 3’s gameplay is showcased as you must decide to fight or flee in every situation to try and make the most of what you are presented with.
What has always made original RE3 unique and memorable for so many people is the behemoth known as Nemesis, a monster bioweapon chasing S.T.A.R.S members across the city and leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. Nemesis is a force that appears throughout the game that can drastically change up the gameplay as anytime Nemesis makes his entrance the tempo of the game instantly picks up, characters are instantly running for their lives and you are hoping that any decision you make is the right one because one wrong decision will lead you into Nemesis awaiting arms.
In the lead up to Resident Evil 3, I was excited to see what the team would do to enhance Nemesis after the improvements that were made to Resident Evil 2’s arch-enemy, Mr. X, but sadly I have to say that Nemesis falls short when compared to his trench coat wearing cousin. The changes that have been made to Nemesis are still interesting and strive to change up the dynamic of the chase throughout the game but each time the creature appears it feels scripted and at times predictable. The best thing about Mr. X in Resident Evil 2 was that he felt like a complete force upon himself, he could turn up at any time and just ruin any plans you had. As the player, you did not feel like this was the choice of the developer to place the creature in front of you, you were drawn in to believe this creature was smashing through RPD on his own accord. Despite these shortcomings, I still found Nemesis to live up to the legacy that was created in the original 1999 release, he simply doesn’t outgrow it.
The landscape of Racoon City is as interesting as ever, from the open streets to the tunnels of the underground there is plenty to explore in the world and plenty of collectibles to find. As a staple of Resident Evil games, item and inventory management are key to surviving so exploring the city to find every item possible can mean life or death. Weapons are even missable throughout the game and I could not imagine how hard the game would be if I had not found the grenade launcher midway through my playthrough. Even after finishing the game, I had only found 9 out of a potential 10 weapons.
With the maps filled with some many potential locations to find items, it can be worth taking your time clearing rooms and remembering locations that you can come back to when you have the needed items to access them. There were several occasions where I had to calculate my bullet and items to make sure I could survive with what I had on me at, which resulted in the game over screen on several occasions and even make me consider reloading an earlier save (I made plenty of saves) to change how I used my items. The combination of survival-horror item management the franchise is known for and the heavier action playstyle, Resident Evil 3 finds a great balance of tense survival horror and running for your life run-and-gunning that really made me consider self-isolating in one of the many safe rooms rather than adventuring out to face Nemesis. In that regard, Resident Evil 3 is definitely the bridge between the thrilling and suspenseful Resident Evil 2 and the more action-based Resident Evil 4, which we may see a remake for next.
With this in mind, Capcom has added a roll/dodge function to the game to make the characters feel more agile and to make dodging zombies a lot more manageable. But Resident Evil 3 does a poor job at explaining the extent of this ability, if you time your dodge roll correctly you will roll further and get a special animation for the character. Without this being explained it may be some time in the game before a player realises the possibility & potential of this function.
As I have already mentioned several times throughout this review, my playtime was approximately six-hours, which is slightly less than that of Resident Evil 2, but this mirrors the overall playtime of the original game. Despite the changes made to the overall narrative of the game and the addition of Carlos’s sections, the game still does not seem to have time to breathe or further develop the characters of Jill & Carlos. Both are given more fulfilled goals for the narrative of the story but neither of them sees much growth throughout the game. But on the other hand, even with this playtime, there is plenty of potential for replayability and speedrunning with items you can buy to change the characters and weapons for the playthrough, from the traditional costumes to stat buffs for your characters. As far as the remake goes with updating the bigger Resident Evil universe narrative, Capcom has done a fantastic job.