Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One | Release Date: April 3, 2020 | Hours Played: 35
Resident Evil 3 (2020) came as no surprise to many following the success of Resident Evil 2 (2019). After all, the game did manage to return the series to form in terms of genre and gameplay, creating a hype that’s managed to capture a modern audience. Not long after, rumours began to circulate about another ‘remake’ in the works. Those rumours eventually became leaks, which then led to Resident Evil 3 being announced in the same year.
Despite being exciting news for fans, many felt wary about seeing a follow up so soon. Concerns were raised about the development time, especially considering the release gap between games. After completing the game several times and seeing what we needed to see, we discuss if the game is a worthwhile venture.
The original Resident Evil 3 was the first in the franchise to truly mix survival horror and action. It saw the return of Jill Valentine, as she attempts to escape the fall of Raccoon City, all the while trying to survive numerous encounters against a persistent foe known as ‘Nemesis’. It introduced many elements we see in the series today, including the ability to craft ammo, evade enemies, and carry a wide arsenal of weapons. This made the game more flexible than its predecessors, as it allowed you to play without constantly worrying about resources. Of course, this came with a caveat as you faced off against a variety of enemies in greater numbers than ever before.
Retaining what made last year’s RE:2 successful, these mechanics also make a return to Resident Evil 3: Remake. It translates well enough and compliments the modernisation of the title while also maintaining its own identity. However, it feels as though the developers played it safe this time around, as there are many key areas in which the game simply feels lacking and short.
Perhaps the most obvious example is the way they approached the story and setting. Raccoon City was a major turning point in the franchise, as the event influenced every story that followed suit in some way. What distinguished Resident Evil 3 was its focus, as it allowed you to explore the city in the middle of the chaos. This was something we were looking forward to the most in the remake as it would’ve been amazing to see the city in greater and grittier detail thanks to the RE engine.
Unfortunately, the game tells a very linear story, with each segment separated in an episodic format. This has created a ripple effect throughout the rest of the experience, which ultimately alters the way you enjoy the game. The areas you can explore are limited compared to the original, and a lot of things have been cut back to accommodate this change. You won’t be able to see most of Raccoon City, as emphasis has been made towards completing specific objectives to progress. Puzzles (an RE staple) have also been reduced and simplified, again discouraging exploration and removing some challenge. This was most evident in Carlos’s scenarios, which mainly consist of running through hallways and can be complete in under 10 minutes.
Encounters with Nemesis have also been significantly diminished, with the greatest amount of interaction being limited to the first act. We hoped that Nemesis would act like a ‘roided up Mr X, and would appear randomly where you least expect him. Instead, he’s more of a scripted boss and isn’t very challenging lest you play through nightmare or inferno mode. He is directly tied down to Jill’s side of the story and is mostly the prime focus of these scenarios.
Unlockables no longer depend on your grade at the end of the game, instead being placed inside a separate store in the main menu. Points can be obtained by completing different challenges, which can also bag you their corresponding achievements/trophies. This receives a mixed response from us, as though it gives you flexibility in the experience, it also removes some challenge.
Aside from these issues, the game has its moments that truly let it shine. The voice acting and cutscenes are quite exceptional, as Jill, Carlos, and even Nikolai come to life. The visuals are also remarkable, as, despite the lack of exploration, they still give you a great sense of scope for the size of the city and the ensuing chaos. Enemies appear in greater number and variety compared to RE:2, however, they don’t possess the same level of threat as before. They’re fairly easy to take down with a few shots and are no longer as indestructible as their prequel counterparts.
In the end, Resident Evil 3: Remake falls short of expectations compared to the prequel. Its focus on linear narrative took most of the intrigue out of the game, turning some of the experience into an interactive movie. However, it is still a very enjoyable experience and succeeds in modernising a Playstation classic. We just hope they apply what they’ve learned to future titles and rumoured remakes.
Score: 8 out of 10
I actually enjoyed playing the game in spite of its shortcomings, allowing me to remember fond (albeit terrifying) childhood memories. I only wish they kept some of the things that made the original fun, but I have to give them props in how they redefined the characters and events to expand the franchise. Perhaps we might see Carlos and Jill pair up again in the future? I certainly hope so.