Resident Evil series has maintained its popularity despite releasing more than two decades ago. One of the reasons it remains popular to this day is because the series itself has continued to evolve. It can be compared to the Final Fantasy series where each new entry feels different enough that every new game has its fans and the reaction to every new game is divisive as well. There is not a single game in the series that is universally loved by every fan aside from, maybe, the recently released Resident Evil 2 or Resident Evil 4.
Resident Evil 3 was Capcom’s attempt to continue the series on the path towards remaking classic games. It is a full remake that doesn’t follow its original vision and makes sufficient changes and cuts that have ended up making it quite divisive among the fans. Last year, we had the excellent Resident Evil 2 with minor cuts and changes that made it overall a better product than the original game, even as a remake. Fans were hoping to see the same this year with Resident Evil 3, alas the game delivers less than the expectations.
Resident Evil 3 was originally going to be a spin-off in a series. It was developed as an action-oriented game compared to the survival horror focus of its predecessor. This has carried over to the remake as well, which is more action-oriented than last year’s Resident Evil 2. The game also loses focus on exploration and puzzle to focus more on boss fights, enemies, and set pieces. It is due to this change that Resident Evil 3 ends up feeling like a step back from its predecessor, but the same was true for the original game so there is little reason to complain here.
Resident Evil 3 Remake follows the story of Jill Valentine but also adds Carlos Oliviera as a new playable protagonist. Every aspect of the game has been given a makeover from the NPCs to the playable characters. The level design has changed and some cuts have been made as well. The most important and perhaps the most controversial change has been made to the way Nemesis is presented in the game. The reaction so far to Nemesis shows that this ended up being a rather divisive reaction and honestly after playing the game, it does feel the same way.
Resident Evil 3 is a prequel to Resident Evil 2 in a sense, as both games are set during the same timeline with some events that interlink them together. As a result, players will revisit some of the iconic locations from the previous game and also have a more in-depth look at Raccoon City. Nemesis is featured prominently throughout the game however his appearance this time is focused more on throwing the players in set-pieces rather than a sandbox Mr. X type design. Nemesis also behaves differently from the original game and while he still poses a formidable threat, the impact of his arrival feels scripted at best instead of unexpected like Mr. X.
Resident Evil 3 focuses more on presenting combat encounters that lead to action-packed fights. The game provides an ample amount of ammo and weapons for this purpose and on the normal difficulty, there is hardly any problem with killing enemies or going through the boss fights. Thankfully, there is sufficient replay value offered with the points system and multiple difficulty levels up to the Nightmare difficulty. To make the package more attractive, perhaps due to the short campaign length, Capcom has also added Resident Evil Resistance in a bundle with the full game.
Visually speaking, it is one of the most polished games released by Capcom. It is gorgeous with the character models rivaling that of a pre-rendered motion picture. The performance and quality of the visuals on the PS4 Pro is also great with the game supporting HDR, 4K resolution, and a high frame rate that hits 60 FPS. It is a technical marvel, to say the least, and there is absolutely no disappointment on this front. Capcom has continued to show how competitive and amazing their RE Engine is when it comes to making new games and Resident Evil 3 is the latest example of it.
Taking that aside, some of the disappointing aspects are regarding how certain levels were entirely cut in the remake. Some of the improvements made to the gameplay and certain scenarios are welcome but it is also hard to not feel discontent over the changes made here. As I finished the game on Normal difficulty, it was hard to recognize the potential of Nemesis since he mostly appears during encounters where the players have to go through set pieces, but according to others who have played the game on the Nightmare difficulty, he is more agile and faster on the higher difficulty which should mitigate some of the issues that I had with his AI behavior in the game.
Resident Evil 3 is as good of a game as it could be considering the original, and I am glad that Capcom has decided to remake it. This has led to some positive changes like better fleshing out some of the characters including Carlos, or the action-oriented combat getting a bigger focus with a timed dodge letting the players move their way out of danger, but the length of the campaign has reduced by a good margin as well. It is possible to beat the game according to the in-game timer in just under 5 hours and we are talking about playing it on the normal difficulty.
To add some replay value, there is Resident Evil Resistance, which is a multiplayer-oriented game focusing on PvP encounters. It is something that I didn’t enjoy as much as the main game so it didn’t help improve the appeal of the whole bundle in my eyes. If you are into speedrunning or replaying games to collect points, you can use these to unlock a variety of items including the fan-favorite rocket launcher. This should add some replay value for a somewhat short campaign for a Resident Evil game.
Resident Evil 3 Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: 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!
Final Score - 8.5/10
Resident Evil 3 Remake is incredibly ambitious but some of the creative decisions made for this Remake do make this one feel like a slight step back from its predecessor. Regardless, it is a great Resident Evil game on its own and should satisfy the thirst of fans who wanted to see the series go back to action.