Review – Resident Evil 3
Capcom have been on a bit of a role recently; bringing the Resident Evil franchise back to its roots in Resident Evil VII and the excellent RE2 Remake whilst giving the Devil May Cry fans one of the best action games we’ve seen. It’s been a great time to be a Capcom fan and with Resident Evil 3 remake coming just a year after its predecessor, can this hot streak continue?
You play as series veteran Jill Valentine, an officer for the Special Tactics and Recons Services. After the events of Resident Evil 1 up at Arklay Mountain, Jill is hellbent on uncovering Umbrella’s crimes and exposing them to the world. Unfortunately, the T-Virus has reached Raccoon City and now Jill is on the run from the super powerful Tyrant sent by Umbrella to hunt down the remaining STARS members, Nemesis.
This is a story any fans of Resident Evil will know and it’s been largely unchanged. We see the very start and initial chaos caused by the T-Virus before the events of RE2 in all its glory before jumping ahead to the end of Raccoon City. Jill is still an absolute bad-ass and her new version here is one of the best we’ve ever seen. Carlos Oliveria provides a fantastic secondary protagonist as the UBCS soldier unaware of his employer’s involvement.
The chemistry between Jill and Carlos is just fantastic. Each of them delivering one-liners whilst their relationship grows from untrusting allies to teammates who have each other’s back. A lot the dialogue between them is an awesome callback to the cheesy classics. Then we’ve got other characters like Brad, Mikhail (voiced by William Hope) and Nicholai, who all do a great job as the supporting cast.
As is expected, the RE engine looks beautiful, with highly detailed environments and stunning character models that all feel alive. Zombies look as disfigured as before whilst the new visual design for the hunters look terrifying, all whilst giving me that nostalgic buzz. The streets of Raccoon City are flooded with the undead as shops have been raided and cars are crashed are left in the middle of the streets. Everything is also well animated from the zombies staggering towards you to Jill’s dodge. It all feels natural and I was constantly impressed by the small details. Though I was a little bit disappointed with the changes to gore. No more will limbs drop off the bodies, but instead just poof in a cloud of blood and the rag-doll effects are completely absent.
Gameplay is very similar to the Resident Evil 2 remake. You play from an over the shoulder perspective as you take down zombies, typically trying to aim for the heads or legs to stagger them. Where Resident Evil 2 was a traditional survival horror with action elements, Resident Evil 3 remake stays faithful to the original and becomes much more of an action horror. Jill can now quickly dodge around enemies and perfectly timing this will put you in slow motion allowing you to pull off a quick head-shot. Though the timing can be really tight. Even the more subtle touch of the crosshair closing in faster than in RE2, lends to the more action packed focus. There’s more zombies than ever here and to make up for this you will typically have a ton of ammo as well.
It’s a lot of fun to play and if you liked the Resident Evil 2 Remake, you are sure to like this one as well. You start off in a decently sized chunk of the Raccoon City streets, exploring several buildings as you avoid zombies and complete objectives. Every area introduces new gimmicks and new enemies that make them feel just that bit more different. The hospital in particular is a personal favourite of mine, with the hunters making their grand re-appearance. The levels aren’t as complex as they were before and are more linear, but there’s more variety on offer here lending to a different feel. This bigger focus on linearity might be troublesome to some, but I found it to be just as entertaining and it’s not like there are no secrets to find.
Unfortunately things start to get a bit shaky from here. Nemesis, the big bad of the game doesn’t feel as impactful as Mr X did in RE2, often being relegated to scripted encounters. However this isn’t always a bad thing as every single encounter with Nemesis is superb. We get some excellent boss fights, thrilling chase sequences, and creative new mutations we’ve never seen before. In the few chances you do get to face him in the open areas, you will notice he is much more agile and capable than Mr X. Able to sprint full speed, jump over you, and drag you over with his tentacles. This makes his almost entirely scripted appearances hurt a little bit more, as, there’s potential for a truly dynamic and terrifying threat that hasn’t been taken advantage of. During the opening hours though, I was expecting to have him on my back the entire time.
Whilst I understand this was also a problem with the original release of Resident Evil 3, I figured this was a huge chance to fix the issue with run time. My first play-through took me less than five to six hours; with thorough exploration and reading any files that I could find. However, we do have a new and fantastic extended hospital sequence playing as Carlos a few areas have been cut; namely the Raccoon City Park and the Clock Tower. It’s a bit disappointing since at times it feels like the story is trying to rush to it’s conclusion when it had more than enough time to breathe and tell a deeper story.
Though once again there is a flip side to this. As is tradition with all Resident Evil games the replay value is pretty strong. When you complete the game for the first time, a store will open up similar to Resident Evil 5‘s, where you can purchase permanent upgrades, special items, and infinite ammo weapons with points earned in-game. Whilst a higher difficulty setting will unlock when you’ve completed the already difficult Hardcore mode. I’m sure I will be playing this one for a while. Then we’ve got the asymmetric 4v1 multiplayer spin-off Resident Evil Resistance, which I will be doing a separate review on after launch.
Despite some shortcomings regarding the game’s length and how Nemesis is used in the opening hours, the Resident Evil 3 Remake is yet another excellent addition to the franchise and a perfect way to bring that classic back to the spotlight. I’m hoping to see Jill and Carlos return in a future installment.
Downgraded gore aside, the RE engine continues to impress with highly detailed environments and realistic character modes.
Building on the gameplay set in the Resident Evil 2 REmake, everything here feels like a more action focused refinement and it feels good.
Jill and Carlos have a superb back and forth chemistry that is portrayed with excellent voice performances.
Resident Evil 3 is a excellent recreation of the classic, though some aspects feel rushed and Nemesis is underused.
Final Verdict: 8.5
Resident Evil 3 is available now on PC, Xbox One and Playstation 4.
Reviewed on Xbox One.
A copy of Resident Evil 3 was provided by the publisher.