*WARNING: This Resident Evil 3 Remake review will contain spoilers, so if you don’t want the game spoiled at all, you may want to read this at another time. Go check out some other amazing content on our site and come back later.*
It has been nearly 21 years since the release of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on Playstation, and after the release of the hugely successful Resident Evil 2 Remake, it seemed logical that we would be getting a Resident Evil 3 Remake as well. For many years, fans have thought about what Resident Evil 2 & 3 would look like in the modern-day. What would Raccoon City look like using modern graphics? In 2019, those thoughts and dreams were realized, and I think they completely blew away all of our expectations. Resident Evil 2 Remake went on to sell over 5.8 million copies, more than the original Resident Evil 2. But is Resident Evil 3 Remake as good?
Just a quick note on my own backstory as a gamer. I first played Resident Evil 1 in 1996 when I was 6 years old and fell in love. Since then, it has become my favorite game series of all time with Resident Evil 2 (1998) being my favorite game of all time, along with Ocarina Of Time. But, to be honest, the original Resident Evil 3 was never a game I particularly loved. To me, it was one of the weaker games in the numbered entries, probably because it was originally a spin-off. Going into this, I hoped Resident Evil 3 wouldn’t be a weaker game compared to Resident Evil 2 like the originals were in my opinion.
Table of Contents
As always, I will start the review by talking about the graphics. Once again, they are superb; the game looks basically like Resident Evil 2 Remake, which is understandable considering they were developed at the same time, and RE3 reuses many elements from RE2. The RE Engine is one of the best video game engines there is, and everything looks so realistic with such attention to the tiniest details. The lighting and reflections are amazing, too. The only downside is that, for some reason, the RE Engine can never quite nail hair. It always looks a bit fuzzy around the outline. Also, when enemies are far away, they quite often downgrade to 30fps while the rest of the environment and enemies are moving at 60+fps, and it can look really out of place in the scene. I do feel there is a slight graphical downgrade in parts compared to RE2. Sometimes, a few textures look noticeably blurry and/or pixelated, which wasn’t something I ever noticed about RE2. For some reason, enemy decapitation has been removed, too. In Resident Evil 2, you could shoot enemy limbs off, which could be great for knocking down a zombie to allow you to escape. For whatever reason, this mechanic was removed in Resident Evil 3. (Perhaps to encourage players to use the dodge mechanic instead?) The criticism about the 30fps enemies and fuzzy hair would also be a criticism for RE2; it could be a limitation of the RE Engine, but it is a minor criticism at best, and overall, the game looks fantastic and one of the best-looking games to date.
Moving onto the gameplay; it is more of the same of what we got with Resident Evil 2, and that’s not a bad thing. Resident Evil 2 and 3 were developed largely side by side, so it makes sense that the gameplay would be very similar. But like the original version, Resident Evil 3 focuses more on action rather than survival horror. Zombies are plentiful in this. It even has a section where you have to kill a massive wave of zombies and survive until the end.
Resident Evil 3 doesn’t start with a slow build like most Resident Evil titles. Instead, within a couple of minutes of playing, Nemesis crashes the party and chases you through a building. Right from the start, the game sets a pace of fast action and constant fear as to when Nemesis might show up next.
One thing I did notice and missed seeing was the mechanic to blow off zombie limbs. This was a great strategy for getting around a zombie without wasting too much ammo (and enemies are still complete bullet sponges in this game). I would guess this was removed and replaced by the dodge mechanic from the original Resident Evil 3. This mechanic allows you to move out of the way of an oncoming attack and gives you a bit of breathing room to fight back. It is especially important during Nemesis encounters, because he is brutal and relentless (we will talk more about Nemesis later).
In the original Resident Evil 3, we got to play as Carlos as well as Jill, and this is also the case in the new Resident Evil 3 remake and, in my opinion, is the best part of the game. In Carlos’ sections, we get to go back to the RPD, and it fills in a lot of blanks that Resident Evil 2 left. More about that in the story section below. We also take control of Carlos in the hospital, and both sections are as close to survival horror as the game gets, putting us into narrow hallways filled with enemies. It was a great change of pace to go from Jill’s more action-oriented sections to the old school survival horror sections that Resident Evil is known for.
Overall, the gameplay did fit with what most of us expected based on what the original Resident Evil 3 was. RE3 was a more action-focused game rather than a slow-building survival horror game. Jill’s goal is to escape Raccoon City amidst all of the chaos going on as civilians also try and flee the hordes of zombies and other B.O.Ws that are taking over the city. Enemies are plentiful, the action is high and Nemesis is hot on your trail. This was the same in the original as it is the remake, so if you come into this expecting a slow-building survival game like 2019’s Resident Evil 2, you may be disappointed. But if you played (or are at least aware of) the original, then you will go into this experience knowing what to expect, and it doesn’t disappoint in that aspect.
As with Resident Evil 2, not all content from the original game has made it into the remake. Some of the content isn’t missed, but some of it is very noticeably missing or is not given the attention it perhaps could have received.
Although it made no real difference in terms of the outcome, the original Resident Evil 3 had branched paths when facing Nemesis. Will Jill stay and fight, or will she retreat to safety? Your choice would affect your progression in the minutes after the encounter. This is missing in the remake and is instead a singular linear path. This is a little bit disappointing but not a big deal.
When it comes to cut content, the most obvious ones are cut locations, enemies and weapons. Iconic locations such as the Clock Tower are notably missing from Resident Evil 3 remake, although you do fight Nemesis in the Clock Tower’s plaza. The graveyard, park and factory have all been removed from the game as well as the end location for the final Nemesis fight, which has been replaced by a NEST lab just like in Resident Evil 2. Many enemies are also notably missing from the game, some of them only making appearances in the original Resident Evil 3. Enemies such as the Grave Digger, Worm and Spiders are nowhere to be seen. Thankfully, we still get to fight the Hunters, both beta and gamma variants. A licker also makes an appearance in the RPD which is cool because they don’t appear in the original RE3.
When it comes to weapons, there are some instances of them being cut, but it never felt lacking in that regard. The Mine Thrower has been replaced by Mine ammo for the Grenade Launcher, for example. The most notable cut in terms of weapons is the Enhanced Ammo, a stronger version of regular ammo which makes fights (especially against Nemesis) much easier.
Also, where’s Barry?
If you played the original Resident Evil 3, you will already know the premise of the game. Raccoon City has fallen after the T-Virus escaped the Arklay Mansion, starting a zombie outbreak. You play as S.T.A.R.S member Jill Valentine who escaped the Arklay Mansion during the events of Resident Evil 1 whose sole mission is to get the F out of dodge and escape the city.
As mentioned earlier, the game throws the player right in at the deep end with a Nemesis encounter just minutes into the game, which was great and really set the pace of this being a high action experience rather than a slow building survival horror game. Shortly after, you meet Brad (as in the original), but I found this to be a very disappointing experience. In the original, Brad (nicknamed Chickenheart) was terrified of Nemesis and seemingly any encounter with the undead. Brad’s time in RE3 is fairly short, as Nemesis catches up to him and takes him out in one of the most iconic moments in Resident Evil history. In the remake, he is less terrified of the situation, which is great for character development, and I liked that about Brad. However, his death was a huge disappointment. Brad is bitten trying to stop a horde of zombies entering a bar that he and Jill ran to for safety. He then tells Jill to run and sacrifices himself to the zombies (which we don’t see). While this is a heroic act that I can appreciate, it felt very lacklustre in that we didn’t see Brad’s death or have him killed off saving Jill against Nemesis. Instead, it was a zombie.
Brad’s death is redeemed later on, though, when he shows up at the RPD (Brad could also be seen outside the RPD in the original RE2 if you followed certain steps). In a cutscene, we see Marvin confront the zombified Brad Vickers. When he realizes who it is, he says “sorry” before he goes to pull the trigger and down his friend. Hearing this, zombie Brad also says “sorry”. I’m guessing Brad was repeating the word he just heard, showing his brain hadn’t yet fully turned and there was still some shred of humanity inside. Marvin stops in his tracks, allowing Brad to pounce and bite him before Marvin retreats into the RPD. This helps to explain how Marvin became wounded as we saw in RE2. In the Outbreak series, Marvin was bitten by a regular zombie in one of the scenarios, but I think this is a much better scene than just having him bitten by a regular zombie. The game also helps to fill a lot of blanks in the RPD and shows us how the police station came to be in the state it was in as we entered it in RE2. It explains why there is a corpse in a locker, why the steam pipe has burst and there’s a giant hole in the wall in the shower room. It was really great to see this. There’s also some evidence of the game being rushed, which I will get into later, such as on the 3rd floor of the RPD, just above the shower room, there is also a hole in the wall that leads towards the library. We expected it to be Nemesis that caused the hole, but in RE3 there is no hole, meaning it happens at some point after the RPD section finishes and RE2 begins, but is never explained. This section is perhaps my favorite section in the entire game, and I’m really glad they added it in.
I also want to give a quick shout out to the character development in this game, which is vastly better than the original RE3. With these remakes, Capcom has nailed the ability to make the player feel invested in the characters. As I was playing, despite the fact I knew how the game would end, I was rooting for Jill and hoping she would succeed. I was the same with Leon & Claire (more-so Claire). I felt that I built a real connection with the characters, and that isn’t something I say often. They really nailed every member of the UBCS too. Carlos is a much better character this time around, and I liked seeing him and Jill get more trusting of each other while building that bond. Nikolai’s character is also a huge improvement over the original version. He is a massive d!£khead, and the game makes you want to see him get him comeuppance, and it is so satisfying when the game is over (I won’t spoil it, but it is great). The rest of the UBCS had better development this time, even very minor characters such as Tyrell.
But I can’t praise them entirely when it comes to character development, because I feel they dropped the ball in some instances. Dario Rosso makes a return. He’s the character who locks himself in a lorry and refuses to come out. In the original, we can eventually find out his fate, but we don’t in this game. There also isn’t much interaction between Jill and Dario. After a few words, he locks himself away in a passing moment. You can have more interactions with him by interacting with the door, and he will argue with you, including telling you to handcuff yourself to a zombie (that’s nice of him). Also, if you shoot the truck, he will freak out, eventually revealing his brother-in-law is a lawyer and he would sue you. But considering we know how Dario came to be in the situation he is in (due to the Chinese RE3 Manhua) it would have been great to see a bit more of him. One character though that I felt they truly dropped the ball with is Kendo. In a recent RE2 update, they added a file from Jill in Kendo’s Gun Shop. This hinted that we would be seeing more of Kendo in RE3. Well, we did…but no more than we do in RE2. There is one short cutscene with some dialogue between Jill and Kendo and then you move on. There was plenty of opportunity for Kendo to reveal what happened to his wife, Emma, and himself, or even help Jill in some way and perhaps become a short term side character or even have his own section. I was disappointed to see how little he is featured in this game, especially because they teased it months ago.
As mentioned in the cut content section, the end location of the original RE3 is replaced by a more generic lab (it is not like we haven’t seen this happen over and over again). This was one of my least favorite aspects of the game, as it wasn’t even as good of a lab as the one in RE2. After such strong points such as the Hospital section, this felt lacklustre, although the ending helicopter scene with Nikolai was fantastic and I really enjoyed it. I won’t spoil it too much, even though this review is full of spoilers.
Right. Now its time to talk about the enemy the whole game is based around: Nemesis. From the opening minutes of the game, his presence is known. In fact, in the opening cutscene, they show him being operated on. It is not made known who it is that becomes Nemesis. In the Manhua, it was a boxer, and in the movies it was Matt, but I don’t think either of those is canon, so who knows. Nemesis is a truly daunting enemy, basically Mr. X on steroids…or at least on paper.
While the character is terrifying, they dropped the ball with the execution. Rather than him being a constant threat, terrorizing you like Mr. X would around the RPD, his appearances are all scripted sections bar a couple where you are in the environment with him and can fight or run. But running is not the best idea, because Nemesis can outrun you. The dodge mechanic really comes in handy here. Apart from a few brief sections where you’re free to fight him or run, every other section is scripted, such as a point where he’s shooting rockets at you and you need to dodge. Or being stalked through a burning building with the section concluding once you reach the end with no real choice to fight him. He’s just present in the scene as you run through a building.
They could have done so much more with Nemesis rather than just having scripted events or appearances for a boss fight. Generally, except for the sequence where Nemesis is firing rockets at you and you’re trying to escape him, his sections and boss battles are some of the worst points in the game.
Resident Evil 3 is lacking in terms of features and replayability compared to RE2, but the game also improves on it as well. With the game only having 1 linear scenario, replayability is important. While RE2 (and even RE1) has multiple scenarios, RE3 doesn’t have that; it is just playing the same game over and over. The game has the Assisted, Standard & Hardcore difficulties like RE2, but beating the game on Hardcore unlocks the Nightmare difficulty, and beating that unlocks Inferno, which does give players a reason to come back. Instead of unlocking weapons based on performance, you now unlock weapons by collecting BP, which is granted for completing the Records. The Shop is a great way to make use of the Records section that was in RE2 and gives you a purpose to complete them. I do like how they’ve expanded features like these, but apart from wanting to unlock the Infinite Rocket Launcher, there isn’t too much of a reason to want to play the same linear experience over and over again.
Resident Evil Resistance
Part of the Resident Evil 3 package is the new multiplayer experience called Resistance. This is Capcom’s take on the 4v1 style of games made popular by games such as Dead By Daylight. 4 players take control of survivors who find themselves trying to escape from a certain scenario. Stopping them is a “Mastermind” who can spawn and even control various enemies, B.O.Ws, traps etc. It is a fairly fun game, and games such as Dead By Daylight remain popular to this day. The problem is that, being online only, it is hard to tell whether this will remain popular in the long term.
Resistance was teased before RE3 with an Alpha back in 2019, which wasn’t received very well. The perception was that this was going to be a $60 standalone experience, and I believe this was the case and also led to the rushed at times feel that RE3 has. My belief is they were going to give us this game on its own, but after the Alpha flopped, they decided to rush RE3 and instead bundle this game with it so they didn’t have another Umbrella Corps on their hand. Without Resistance, we may have perhaps gotten a better game in Resident Evil 3, but I guess we will never know.
Resident Evil 3 Remake is high action and fun re-imagining of Jill’s final stand and her escape from Raccoon City. It is not perfect by any means and does feel rushed in parts, but it is still a fun experience that ties together and explains certain aspects of RE2. I feel they could’ve made Nemesis a better enemy and perhaps expanded on a few aspects and not been lazy with yet another lab ending, but overall it was a very entertaining few hours playing this. I still think Resident Evil 2 is the better game, just like the original RE2 & 3, but this is definitely worth playing. As a life long Resident Evil fan, I am happy to see my dreams of what classic RE would look like in the modern-day, and it largely lived up to expectations.
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