Review: Resident Evil 3
Resident Evil games are like buses. You wait ages and then two turn up in quick succession! Last year saw the release of Resident Evil 2 remake. You can read my full review here, but in short, I thought it was incredible! The big question is, can Capcom deliver the same excellence again with the remake of Resident Evil 3?
Although I’ve completed the original version of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis a few times, my memories are a bit sketchy. Other than the introduction of new characters, what I do remember is that it felt like a stopgap, and more like downloadable content, (DLC) if such a thing existed in 1999. What I mean by that is it felt shorter and less memorable, when compared to Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2.
That being said, I am a huge fan of the Resident Evil series, so I am particularly happy the original games are receiving the remake treatment. Back in 2017, I ranked my favourite Resident Evil games. Looking back, it’s interesting to see the original Resident Evil 3 placed 8th out of 12 games. Does the latest remake do anything to move it further up the list?
Resident Evil 3 introduces you to Jill Valentine, and the story follows her attempts to escape Raccoon City during a zombie outbreak. It takes place around the same time as Leon Kennedy, and Claire Redfield desperately try to survive the events of Resident Evil 2. In fact, some of same locations and characters are used from Resident Evil 2, and it was fun to see the story playing out from another perspective.
Resident Evil 3 starts with a surprisingly grizzly opening, which I wasn’t expecting. It’s not long before you are thrust into the horror of a city which is full of panic, and decimated by zombies.
The gameplay is the same third person viewpoint as Resident Evil 2 remake, with the fixed camera angles from the originals now being a relic of the past. Jill is armed with a pistol, but can also find other weapons, including a shotgun and grenade launcher. There are upgrades to be found for your guns, which help give you a slight advantage. One of the first things to impress me was how the zombies react to being damaged. Chunks of flesh are ripped from their bodies depending on where they are shot, which is as equally disgusting as it is awesome!
As well as contending with zombies and various other nasties, you are constantly pursued by the Nemesis. This is an (almost) indestructible hulking brute, who appears throughout the campaign and causes you no end of problems. The implementation of the Nemesis is one of my few criticisms of the game. In Resident Evil 2, Mr X would stalk you around the police station. Hearing his thumping footsteps gave him a level of unpredictability, which made it a genuinely tense experience. Whereas the Nemesis relentlessly pursues you, but his attacks seem pre-planned, and therefore become a little bit annoying.
Another minor criticism is the lack of puzzles. Resident Evil games have generally always featured simple puzzles, whereas action definitely takes the priority in Resident Evil 3. The lack of puzzles is a bit of a shame, because although they are usually quite easy to figure out, they help to break up the action.
Resident Evil 2 looked amazing, and it’s fair to say Resident Evil 3 appears to be a significant upgrade in terms of graphics. The lighting and fire all look incredible, especially if you have a TV with HDR capability. Facial animations in particular look fantastic, and are real standout feature. The impressive visual quality is easy to see, even down to the sheen of sweat on the forehead of the characters.
The locations themselves looks superb, especially the little details. Amongst the many things that impressed me are posters on walls featuring mock movies, and news-stands containing magazines and other items. Although it may be easy to overlook small details like this, I totally appreciate the effort made to present a fully fleshed out world. Transition between cutscenes are also seamless and done in real time. This helps to add to the overall immersion of the game.
Playing on the PlayStation 4 you get some other enhancements. This includes your health status, which is indicated by the colour of the bar on your controller. Another feature which helped to immerse me more in the experience, was communication with other characters via walkie talkie. Conversations now come through the speaker on the PlayStation 4 controller.
Resident Evil 3 is a fairly linear experience, and it took me two evenings to complete the campaign. In fact, to be precise, I finished the game in 6 hrs 31 minutes. The truth is I really enjoyed Resident Evil 3, and was hooked to a point where I didn’t want to stop playing. In fact, I stayed up until 3am on both nights during my playthrough.
However, once you’ve completed the game there isn’t much incentive to play again, other than to unlock new items and costumes. Whereas Resident Evil 2 gave you the chance to play the campaign up to 4 times with different characters.
To compensate for the short running time, Capcom have included a new 1 v 4 multiplayer experience called Resident Evil Resistance. You get the chance to select one of four different characters, as you attempt to escape from the Mastermind. Each character has special abilities which help aid your team as you try to survive. The Mastermind can deploy traps and zombies to stop the survivors from reaching the exit. I’ve only played a couple of games of Resistance, but found it to be a mixed bag and slightly frustrating. The environments are quite cramped making it difficult for lots of people to get around. Throw zombies and other monsters into the mix, and you can often get trapped which leads to you dying. The game also seems stacked in favour of the Mastermind. During one match, he threw everything except the kitchen sink at us. There didn’t seem to be much restriction in terms of how often, and how many obstacles he could put in front of us. Add to that you are against the clock, which creates even more pressure. I like the idea of Resistance, but the implementation doesn’t quite match the vision for me.
Overall Resident Evil 3 is a bit like a rollercoaster. Great fun while it lasts, but the thrill doesn’t last very long, and you’re left wanting more. That’s not to say it’s a bad game. In fact, it is a very good game, and the quality on display is obvious. However, after completing Resident Evil 3, I still think there are better games in the series. Saying that, if like me you are a fan of the Resident Evil games, then I have no doubt you will enjoy Capcoms latest offering.
If the rumours are correct and Resident Evil 4 is the next game to get the remake treatment, then I’m totally fine with this as it’s an excellent game. However, if/when Resident Evil: Code Veronica gets announced, then Capcom will truly have my attention.
Resident Evil 3 is available now for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
Resident Evil 3 can be bought through either the Amazon or CD Keys links here on our website.
Review by Chris from a review code kindly supplied by Capcom.