I love me some Resident Evil. Having covered both Resident Evil 7: Biohazard to great disdain from the all Resident Evil communities, and also Resident Evil 2 remake to great acclaim, not to mention reviewing the more recent CGI movie and live-action movies too. So it was only fitting that I jump once again into the world of Survival Horror with pretty new graphics and see if I could outrun the Nemesis one more time in the remake of Resident Evil 3. I can say I was entertained for a while and got what I expected.
Note: Resident Evil: Resistance is not covered in this review and may be reviewed on its own at a later date.
Game: Resident Evil 3 Platform: PlayStation 4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC Publisher(s): CAPCOM Developer(s): CAPCOM Genre(s): Survival Horror Release Date: April 3, 2020 Price:$59.99
This is my last chance, this is my… Last Escape…
** You can skip this summary as it is very spoiler if you’d like. **
Raccoon City is thrown into chaos by a zombie apocalypse caused by an outbreak of the T-Virus. On September 28, 1998, former Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.) member Jill Valentine is attacked in her apartment by an intelligent bioweapon known as Nemesis-T Type, who attempts to kill her and all remaining members of S.T.A.R.S. Upon escaping her building, she meets up with fellow S.T.A.R.S. officer Brad Vickers, but Brad is bitten by a zombie and tells Jill to save herself. After another encounter with Nemesis, she is saved by Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (U.B.C.S.) mercenary Carlos Oliveira. Carlos and his group of surviving U.B.C.S. mercenaries – Mikhail Victor, Tyrell Patrick, and Nicholai Ginovaef – have set up subway trains which they plan to use to evacuate surviving civilians from the city.
After surviving several encounters with Nemesis, Jill manages to reactivate power to the subway, while Carlos and Tyrell remain in the city to search for Dr. Nathaniel Bard, an Umbrella scientist who might know how to make a vaccine for the T-virus and save the city. As Jill, Nicholai, and Mikhail depart in the train, Mikhail expresses his suspicions towards Nicholai on how their platoon was ambushed by zombies. Nemesis suddenly attacks the train and kills the civilians; Nicholai locks the other two out, forcing them to defend themselves. Nemesis grabs Mikhail, who sacrifices himself by detonating an explosive, causing the train to derail. Jill escapes as seemingly the only survivor of the crash.
Carlos and Tyrell travel to the city’s police department, where they plan to find Bard in the S.T.A.R.S. office. The two witnesses R.P.D. Lieutenant Marvin Branagh is bitten by a zombified Brad before Carlos takes out Vickers. The two enter the S.T.A.R.S. office and watch a video message from Bard, who informs them that he is at a hospital. Meanwhile, as Tyrell traces Bard’s location, Jill escapes the wreckage of the derailed train only to be again pursued by Nemesis. Now heavily mutated, Jill radios Carlos and engages the monster, managing to escape it, but only after it infects her with the T-virus. Jill falls unconscious and Carlos finds her roughly half a day later, taking her to Spencer Memorial Hospital – the location of Bard. Carlos fights his way through the infested hospital only to find that Bard has been murdered. He views a video from Bard confessing that the T-virus was engineered by Umbrella, and despite Umbrella hiring him to develop the vaccine, Umbrella’s board now wants to destroy it and eliminate all traces of the virus’ existence. Carlos retrieves the vaccine and administers it to Jill. Tyrell arrives at the hospital and they realize that the U.S. government plans to destroy Raccoon City in a missile strike to eradicate the T-Virus infestation. Carlos travels to the NEST 2 lab underneath the hospital to find more vaccines, while Tyrell tries to contact whoever he can to try and stop the missile strike.
Jill awakens on the day of the missile strike, October 1, and pursues Carlos to NEST 2. She encounters Nicholai, who is revealed to be a supervisor hired by Umbrella to observe and collect data from attacks of several bioweapons, including Nemesis. Nemesis kills Tyrell and continues to pursue Jill throughout the lab. Jill manages to synthesize a vaccine, but an encounter with Nemesis causes Nicholai to retrieve it for himself as he leaves her to fight the monster. Jill attempts to destroy Nemesis in a vat of solution designed to dispose of any biological waste only for Nemesis to further mutate into a giant mass of flesh with tentacles. Jill then uses a prototype railgun to finally eliminate Nemesis for good. At the hospital’s roof deck, Nicholai disarms Jill and destroys the vaccine, acknowledging that he doesn’t care for the city’s fate as long as he gets paid for hiding Umbrella’s involvement. Carlos intervenes and restrains Nicholai long enough for Jill to shoot and incapacitate him. When interrogated on who he works for, he says that he will tell her and pay her anything if he survives. Disgusted by his greed, Jill retrieves the destroyed vaccine case and escapes the city with Carlos via helicopter, leaving Nicholai for dead. The city is destroyed by the missile strike, and Jill promises to take down Umbrella.
In a post-credits scene, Jill retrieves the destroyed vaccine case from a table.
** Ok, the spoilers are over **
Is that real blood?
Of course, the first thing we need to discuss is the graphics of Resident Evil 3, since this was the main reason people wanted these games to be remade in the first place. CAPCOM using the RE Engine is proving time and time again that this engine is an amazing piece of technology. Graphically Resident Evil 3 is atmospheric with fire dancing light off walls which reflect zombies hiding around the corner in shadow all in real-time. During my playtime with both Jill and Carlos, I learned very quickly to be very aware of my surroundings since watching the walls or roof could be the difference between me taking down a zombie or drain demon or my character becoming lunch. Speaking of roofs, you need to be aware of one section in particular because you need to know the difference between the ooze dripping off the roof due to the hive construction in the area and the drool coming from the creature that snuck up above you because you weren’t paying attention.
Another thing that needs to be said for the look of Raccoon City in a slightly larger sense is things like references to other CAPCOM games and franchises all over the place that you will be taking time to check over walls and buildings to look at a poster featuring Dr. Light vs Dr. Wily in a scientific debate, or laughing that CAPCOM has spent some resources to reference the original fat looking Mega Man (Boxart Mega Man) than they have placed the actual Mega Man games into production in the last decade. Congratulations to CAPCOM for using Resident Evil 3 to make it feel a part of the larger CAPCOM universe of games.
Finally, I would like to point out that some things aren’t as good looking as they were in Resident Evil 2. Zombie’s heads explode with precise shotgun blasts to the head, but that’s about it. The deep and gruesome blast wounds, burning and limb decapitations are no longer as apparent as they were in Resident Evil 2, which is a bit of a downside since they were one of the best things graphically about the last game and I thought it would still be there in Resident Evil 3. The overall graphical quality of Resident Evil 3 is right up there with Resident Evil 2, especially the multiple designs of Nemesis, all the way through to its final moments and even as a pile of goo once you shoot it to death with a big fuck-off lightning rail-gun!
Action Survival Horror… and shit your pants chases…
The second thing that we need to talk about with Resident Evil 3 is the gameplay since just like with Resident Evil 2, it was the other reason these games got remade. Now if you thought that if you played Resident Evil 2 that you’ll walk right in and have no issues with Resident Evil 3… Then you are mistaken. While Resident Evil 3 features the over the shoulder visual gameplay style of Resident Evil 2, but that is where it ends. Whereas previously you would use the Circle button (on PS4) to run, now you need to press in the left direction stick to run. R1 (on PS4) isn’t a quick strike with the knife, it’s not a dodge button; which you are going to rely on so much that your right finger is going to get carpel tunnel syndrome. Luckily the dodge has been toned down from the demo that was released last month so that if you miss the timing you are instantly zombie-chow, now you can have a chance to stumble and throw off a zombie if the timing is slightly off or you bump into some wall or car by accident. Otherwise, you are the fore mentioned zombie-chow most of the time, and there is no button press for an escape weapon this time. Instead, you get a split second to mash the X button (on PS4) to try and shake the zombie off, but it happens so quickly that you don’t get time to react let alone have a chance of doing the Quick Time Event successfully.
Now let’s talk about Nemesis… Fuck… Yep… Nemesis is one hell of a piece of technology I’ll tell you that. Much like Mr. X in Resident Evil 2 would stalk you based on sound, movement, and sight; Nemesis just tracks you down by magic and then proceeds to slap you around like his punching bag till you die. Nemesis isn’t as much as a stalker as Mr. X, but once you are in an area where Nemesis appears, then he will hunt you down no matter what. Walls? What are those? Doors? Fuck’em! Safe rooms… Well, I’ll just wait over here till you walk out and then I’ll PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE! It’s amazing how Nemesis is this unstoppable juggernaut of a character that not only attacks you but will infect and “upgrade” random zombies with this face-hugger like head that sends a tentacle at you from insane distances; making Nemesis not the only thing you need to beware of when he is around.
Overall, the changes made to the control and gameplay in Resident Evil 3 both fixes and breaks things that were going on in Resident Evil 2. The removal is escape weapons does hinder you a bit in an emergency, but you don’t need it if you can control the situation. The dodge works extremely well and helps you avoid getting cornered too easily. Although if there is one thing that quickly got me annoyed was that in the 3 deaths I had in my first playthrough, all three of them came from instant death mechanics. The first was from Nemesis blowing up the oversized Charlie head on the toy shop which squished me flat as there is no indication you should be running away from it, not trying to dodge into the gap you see in front of you. The second one came from the new walking fish thing with a huge mouth that grabbed me from behind during a trap segment late in the game. The third was from the final form of Nemesis having a grab that comes out of nowhere and instantly kills. There needs to be a chance when these things happen as they are unpredictable and so random that it comes off as cheap for a very well planned game.
Classicly creepy surround sound
The sound in Resident Evil 3 is really good, especially if you have a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system or a good set of headphones. From the distant sound of zombies moaning to the scratching that a Hunter makes when running past in a long hallway is creepy enough that it adds to the tense time you have leading up to an encounter. Hell, even Nemesis yelling “STARS” from anywhere before bursting through the wall in front of you will go from creepy to making your pants brown in mere moments. Outside of creatures having their signature sounds that they use from time to time, the sound effects in Resident Evil 3 are pretty stock standard, but overall work well given the way sound in games has evolved over the decades.
The soundtrack, on the other hand, is a good mix of new background tracks, remade versions of classic tracks (The classic safe room music returns), and even silence to make the city of Raccoon City seem more normal as it can get in a city filled with zombies and bio-weapons. However, like many things in Resident Evil 3, you gain some things and lose others. While the soundtrack is a great mix, you do not get a choice in using the classic soundtrack or the new soundtrack like you did in Resident Evil 2, but maybe you’ll get something down the track since there is no PS1 classic costume available in Resident Evil 3 at launch. If you remember this was added later in Resident Evil 2, along with the soundtrack.
The horror is not over just yet…
Resident Evil 3 is a really good remake of the classic Survival Horror video game, adding a lot of new mechanics and creatures while removing something that you both miss and thank god they are gone. I’m going to lament the removal of the escape items like the disposable knives, grenades and flash bombs (Though they are still in the game in stab-able and throw-able forms) when a zombie goes to chomp on my shoulder or neck; and the easy to use run button as I hate the control stick press stuff, but it’s small changes that make sure that I’m getting a different playing experience from Resident Evil 2. Nemesis is a great chase down character and made some of the more intense moments in Resident Evil 3 into challenging and frightening moments that had me on edge at all times.
However, Resident Evil 3 is a very short game, around about 6 hours including watching all cutscenes. This gives Resident Evil 3 a more DLC style feel than something that should have been a bigger and more in-depth experience. I think CAPCOM wanted to get this out very quickly so that the hype behind Resident Evil 2 could help push this game in sales, which works for marketing but resulted in a game that is so linear and straight forward. We’ve already witnessed people beating the game in under two hours, which isn’t a good sign for something that should be a much better experience and a longer game than the previous one. Finally, there is the post-game content. There are no extra game modes included with the single-player experience like there was with Resident Evil 2, instead, you get an item shop that adds costumes, items, and weapons into the game to make things easier in future playthroughs. This shop requires you to complete achievements in-game to get points so you can buy these items at such a low rate of point gain and high prices that you’ll be playing at least 15-20 playthroughs in order to get the good shit, like the unlimited ammo weapons, which pisses me off as I hate artificial grinds for no reason. Maybe they’ll release an unlock all special items pack for $7 as they did for Resident Evil 2.
I think that a lot of this grinding and replaying a short game over and over comes from the inclusion of Resident Evil: Resistance, which also features point increasing micro-transactions for unlocks in that game, so why not add them to the main game too? Might as well drive people insane or push them towards the online mode instead of delivering a longer and more entertaining single-player campaign… Gotta get those online bucks like Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Redemption Online and games like Dead by Daylight or Friday The 13th.
I know the final part of this review comes off very negatively in relation to Resident Evil 3, but I really enjoyed the game. Resident Evil 3 is one of my favorite games and this remake it right up there with it, but after playing the far superior Resident Evil 2 remake only days before this was released made me see that there wasn’t as much effort put into Resident Evil 3 as there was with Resident Evil 2. History seems to be repeating itself since this happened with the original PlayStation versions. I think the addition of Resident Evil: Resistance is both a blessing and a curse since it adds more content for the full price you are paying for the game, but I think resources were moved into the creation of the online game and the main game suffered as a result of it; this gives Resident Evil 3 a sadly DLC feel instead of being worthy of a full game release.
Now, how long till we get the Resident Evil: Code Veronica X remake?
Review Disclosure Statement: Resident Evil 3 was bought directly from retail review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
Resident Evil 3 is a solid remake, it looks and feels fresh compared to the original. But when you take a look at the much better Resident Evil 2 you notice that the time and care taken with the two games is much different thus creating a very different experience from the previous game. I still recommend getting this game and playing it over something like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. But at the end of the day I think CAPCOM needed to take a bit longer with Resident Evil 3 and make it a much longer and detailed game instead of giving us Resident Evil: Resistance to cover up the lack of effort in the single player game. Still want the Resident Evil: Code Veronica X remake to finish the Resident Evil remake series.
Renewed story covers plot holes from RE2
Nemesis AI is aggressive and challenging
Dodge mechanics add new twists to game play
Carlos sections are tight and frightening
Lots of references of nods to the past
Best opening in any Resident Evil game
Removed escape items, replaced with terrible Quick Time Events
Cheap instant deaths from out of nowhere, even at full health
Short play time (average 6 hours)
Possible resources taken from single player to push online mode