Release Date : April 3, 2020
Developer(s) : Capcom
Publisher(s) : Capcom
Platforms : PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, Nintendo Switch
Last year, Capcom rewarded the players with a high-quality remake of Resident Evil 2. As we mentioned in the conclusion of our review of the remake, this made us want to see something similar done to the legendary Jill Valentine’s escape. The Japanese publisher has been working on a remake of Resident Evil 3 for a while, but is this remake worthy of its glorious predecessor? Unfortunately, things are not that simple.
A mysterious epidemic that strikes a whole city, isolated patients, a totally outdated hospital system, desperate doctors… Testing the remake of Resident Evil 3 in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic has a special flavor and some texts or dialogues have a special feeling they certainly wouldn’t have had in normal times. But this is not a bad thing, on the contrary. It gives more impact to the scenario of a game whose main lines are already familiar to the fans of the series for more than 20 years. Resident Evil 3 tells the story of Jill Valentine, a member of the S.T.A.R.S. of the Raccoon City police, still traumatized after the incident at the Mansion that happened a few months earlier (and told in the first Resident Evil).
24 hours before the events of Resident Evil 2 begin, Jill Valentine must flee the city in a hurry. But her plan is immediately disrupted by the arrival of Nemesis, a super-powered monster created by the evil Umbrella Corporation to eliminate all living witnesses of the mentioned incident. She quickly stumbles upon the U.B.C.S., a unit officially sent to the scene of the tragedy by Umbrella to rescue and evacuate the survivors. This is where she will meet Carlos Oliveira, a member of this special unit and the second protagonist of the game.
Even if the game’s story is generally known, Capcom has made some changes, as a remake. Some of the most important moments of the title have been completely transformed, others have been removed and some additions have been made. Although there are some decisions made by the Japanese publisher that will certainly not be welcomed by long-time fans, other choices are well-received and make Resident Evil 2 and 3 a real duel that can be fully appreciated when you play both games.
IN THE SHADOW OF MR. X
Resident Evil 2 remake made a big impression last year thanks to Mr. X, the unstoppable colossus that stalked Claire and Leon throughout their adventure. With the creature perceived as a sort of prototype of Nemesis in terms of abilities, the idea of a Resident Evil 3 remake was enough to make one shudder to imagine the terror of being constantly pursued by a modernized version of the S. T.A.R.S.
The monster’s behavior at the beginning of the game is indeed promising (he is much more agile, has more abilities, and can make the zombies even more dangerous), but his ability to cause damage throughout the adventure is limited to say the least. He doesn’t chase you around much and it’s actually quite easy to avoid him. We almost regret the idea mentioned in a British article, and quickly denied by Capcom, of the Nemesis coming after the player up to the save rooms. Experienced Resident Evil players should play directly on the highest difficulty level.
Basically, the other enemies Jill and Carlos encounter are almost more challenging than Nemesis. A shame for the remake of Resident Evil 3. The various creatures are pretty damn tough, some skilled, and overall powerful. Many of them are able to “one-shot” Jill or Carlos. And this is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it encourages the player to stay on guard and watch their surroundings. These different enemies are also the source of several jumpscares that are quite effective.
Overall, the experience offered by Resident Evil 3 is clearly pleasant. We simply expected more from Nemesis and we were hoping for a stronger adventure, with less linear passages and more puzzles for example. Especially since having no choices to make during the adventure and only one ending greatly limits the replayability of the game (for those who are not interested in speedrunning or unlocking bonus weapons and/or equipment).
In fact, when playing in Normal mode, you’ll find yourself facing a campaign that can be completed in seven hours, with many optional trips to collect all the items, and without ever really encountering any major difficulties. Sold as a compilation with Resident Evil 2, this new remake probably wouldn’t leave you with the feeling of being left hungry. And this, even if its short life span was already reproached to the original version of Resident Evil 3 in its time.
As for the handling, those who have played Resident Evil 2 will find themselves logically facing a title very close to the previous one. However, some changes have been made. The dodge button, which appeared in the original Resident Evil 3 is back and is quite useful. A dodge triggered at the right time allows Jill to have a counter-attack window in bullet time and Carlos to put a heavy punch on an enemy. The timing of this action is tricky, and it’s common to get thrown into the lion’s den after mismanaging a dodge.
Another change in gameplay concerns the trusty knife. While it could break, and require you to find more in Resident Evil 2, this time it is actually unbreakable. When the situation is not too chaotic, it can be a good idea to kill zombies on the ground with the knife to save ammunition. Capcom developers announced that Resident Evil 3 would be more action-oriented than its predecessor. This is mainly felt in the phases with Carlos. However, Resident Evil 3 is still a Survival Horror in its gameplay, and the pure action sequences, including one that reminds us of Gears of War’s Horde mode, are not the most enjoyable of the game because the game’s controls are not particularly adapted to this wild action.
In terms of production, RE Engine’s quality is unquestionable and the game is really pleasant to the eye. The environments are as good as they were in Resident Evil 2, with design choices resembling the 90’s, and the lighting is good (special mention to the neon lights still in working order in Raccoon City). We just wish we could have explored the city more.
Regarding the design of the main characters, a new actress plays Jill Valentine and she looks a lot like Milla Jovovich, which is particularly disturbing when you remember the Resident Evil movies. Even if we get used to this new appearance, Julia Voth, the actress who served as a model to Jill for many years, is clearly missed. Carlos now looks like a kind of shaggy Roman Reigns, and it suits him rather well.
Nemesis, on the other hand, is more impressive and evil than ever. A touch of “realism” in his features makes him even more disturbing. And apart from the remarks about the human characters’ faces, which are a reflection of everyone’s tastes, they look better than they did in Resident Evil 2. The disturbing valley is avoided here and some of the faces are screaming with realism. All of this makes you wonder what Resident Evil will look like on the next generation of consoles.
In addition to Resident Evil 3’s campaign, players who purchase the game get access to Resident Evil Resistance, the new multiplayer mode/game set in the Resident Evil universe. It’s a five-player game in which four survivors are challenged by a Mastermind. The Mastermind is a representative of Umbrella who is conducting an experiment on the other four and the latter must try to escape by managing to get out of three areas.
The game is played in three phases, during which the Mastermind must place traps and monsters to prevent the survivors from moving on to the next phase before the time runs out (or from escaping permanently when the game reaches the third phase). The Mastermind has a deck of cards with different values that are constantly renewed (traps and enemies have different costs) as well as a “boss” that he can send into the field once his gauge is full. If he monitors his test subjects through the map’s surveillance cameras, the Mastermind can also decide to directly control a zombie and its “boss”.
Survivors play through classic gameplay with weapons and healing items. In addition to defeating enemies with weapons, they must also find objects to activate mechanisms and move on to the next phase. Each survivor also has his own active and passive abilities, which require a loading time between each use and which will logically come in handy during the game (one of the characters can hit enemies with his bare hands, another can temporarily disable surveillance cameras, while another can stun bosses, etc.).
The concept is clearly original and interesting, especially when the five players know each other and can communicate together/troll each other. But as mentioned in our previous previews, Resistance currently suffers from a balancing issue in favor of the Mastermind. While survivors can get through the first two phases without too much trouble, winning the game is extremely complicated. Generally, the chances for the survivors to win are during games in which the Mastermind has hardly played at all and is still discovering the game and its maps.
The different Masterminds are unlocked successively by leveling up with each of them (the second Mastermind is unlocked for example by reaching level 5 with Annette Birkin). As for the Survivors, they all have basic abilities, and these can be changed by leveling up and/or buying them with virtual currency earned during the game. To everyone’s delight, or not, these skills, along with some cosmetic modifications, can be acquired through a loot box system. The surprise is that impatient players can buy boosters, with real money, which temporarily increases the amount of money earned during the game.
At the time of writing, owning Resident Evil 3 is presented as the only way to play Resident Evil Resistance. Knowing that the multiplayer game has its own loader and trophy list as well as a monetization system, it is clearly considered a Free-to-Play game. So it wouldn’t be surprising if Capcom allows individual downloads once the promotional phase of Resident Evil 3 is over. It will be interesting to see if Resistance will succeed in creating a loyal community of players. Survivors will become more and more effective as time goes on. But will the game be able to hold its own against the many popular online games? It’s hard to say.
Earlier this year, it was rumored that Resident Evil 3 should have originally been released with Resident Evil 2. And after playing this remake, there is plenty of reason to believe that this rumor was true. Resident Evil 3 is basically a good game, but it is short overall and clearly suffers from the comparison with what Capcom offered last year. Mr. X terrified gamers around the world by putting constant pressure on Leon and Claire. So it made sense to expect at least as much from Nemesis, a more “advanced monster.” But in reality, Nemesis as we imagine it is only present in the first part of the game and never really causes any problems for a player who is used to the series. That being said, the adventure is still entertaining, and it completes the one proposed in Resident Evil 2. On the other hand, Resident Evil Resistance offers an interesting and original concept but is somewhat weakened by its microtransaction system and the balancing issues in favor of the Mastermind.