Resident Evil 2 has been long regarded by fans as the best entry in CAPCOM’s long-running survival horror series. In 2019 gamers got a much-anticipated remake featuring cutting edge graphics, a from the ground up full remake and recreation of Raccoon City as well as new ways to soil themselves. After receiving huge critical and commercial success, it was only a matter of time before CAPCOM gave the same treatment to the third in instalment, just one year later, the Nemesis is reborn. But does this follow up about a dedicated guy doing whatever it takes to get the girl live up to the high standards set in 2019? Let’s take a look!
Resident Evil 3 run’s parallel to the events of RE2
As the T-Virus infection spreads and Raccoon City turns to chaos in the wake of a zombie outbreak, Jill “The Sandwich” Valentine is racing against the clock to uncover and expose the dastardly schemes of The Umbrella Corporation. With just day’s to spare she must finish her work and escape the city before it’s too late, but just when things couldn’t look any bleaker she is visited by an unexpected guest, a hulking and terrifying creature, codenamed NEMESIS, his one clear motive, to kill every surviving member of the S.T.A.R.S. team. Unfortunately for Jill, she is the last member which pretty much means the handsome Mr Nem only has eyes for her.
The game opens with a heart-racing escape sequence as NEMESIS bursts through the wall of Jill’s apartment, in an effort to make a desperate escape you take control of Jill and run for your life as walls explode behind you and fire begins to erupt and turn the building to ruins. Bursting out onto the street’s of Raccoon City things don’t get any better as hordes of zombies stagger around munching on anyone they can get their hands on, panicked civilians scream and run in a blind panic and what’s left of the cities authorities go down swinging to the undead.
After meeting up with an Umbrella Special Forces unit and forming an uneasy partnership in the name of survival, Jill slowly befriends Carlos, a charismatic soldier with a questionable haircut while failing to spot the most obviously villainous member of the Umbrella team until it’s too late. Now as Jill chases down this sinister agent the game of cat and mouse really begins as no matter where she goes, where she hides, the Nemesis is hot on her tracks, can the master of unlocking thwart umbrella’s plans and stop the relentless monster that is hunting her or will she succumb to the Resident Evil?
RE3 continues the third-person camera style made famous in RE4
As you explore Raccoon City you will need to manage your items by solving a series of situations or “puzzles” from powering up generators and putting out fires. Exploration is the key if you hope to find all the secrets hidden throughout, codes and passwords to safe’s and lockboxes that contain weapons and ammo to help you on your way are hidden in plain view if you know what to look for. The ability to craft ammunition and health items returns along with the potential to upgrade firearms for better handling or to pack a bigger punch.
As always, RE is a punishing experience, the zombies have a long reach and will stumble towards you with hunger in their eyes like a pisshead in a kebab shop, though a few are manageable, groups form quickly and become tougher to avoid especially while trying to conserve ammo. You do have a handy side set ability which if timed right will not only allow you to avoid the clammy hands of the mortally challenged but also grant a momentary slow down giving you time to reload or make a run for it.
Though RE games are known for their emphasis on exploration and puzzle-solving, this concept takes a bit more of a back seat in RE3 in favour for a higher focus on big set pieces and boss fights that escalate in scale. It goes without saying that the Nemesis is responsible for the majority of these big set-piece sections and this will be a love or hate formula for some players. The first area of the game, which is set in the street’s of Raccoon City will feel familiar to fans of RE2 with zombies, puzzles and the constant presence of Mr Nem stalking you Mr X style. The busy streets and neon-lit shop fronts provide a gorgeous backdrop that really stands apart from the previous title but it won’t be long before you return to more familiar surroundings which serve as small traversal locations before entering a boss battle which will form the core rinse and repeat formula of the gameplay.
This formula will likely upset fans of the original 1999 version of RE3 as it sacrifices certain sections of the game.
The clocktower, for example, serves as nothing more than a location for a large scale fight which was fun to play and really well constructed but felt like a missed opportunity to have a bit more build-up. Though the boss battles are full-on and intense the formula does start to wear a bit thin when the majority of the battle consists of just pumping as much ammo into Nemesis as you possibly can before triggering a small sequence you have to interact with, in lieu of the wider exploration it would have been nice to see the battles become something of a puzzle or a more varied sequence in their own right.
Though the game only features one scenario you do switch gameplay between Jill and Carlos. The Carlos sections are quite action-heavy and fill in a few blanks to the background agenda of Umbrella. Though these sequences are greatly extended compared to the original version it would have been nice to see this given the scenario treatment and turned into its own separate campaign with a bit more fleshing out and possibly see more of the early stages of the virus outbreak as RE3 has a fairly short run time. Now granted, the original was never as long as the original version of RE2 and always felt like something of an add on or expansion instead of a fully-fledged sequel. Playing through the full campaign while taking time to admire the scenery and hunt down as many collectables as I could, I had it wrapped up in 4 hrs 36 minutes (gameplay time) the series has always been designed with replay value in mind and this outing does not disappoint in that aspect, this will understandably leave a lot of people feeling short-changed.
CAPCOM does have an ace up their sleeve though for those seeking a longer experience with the inclusion of Resident Evil Resistance, a new online RE experience. Taking place during Umbrella’s T-Virus trials this 4 vs 1 mode pit’s a team of infected survivors against an evil mastermind. As the mastermind, you take control of an Umbrella operative as you put a group of infected people through a series of challenges to see how the virus reacts under stressful situations. Viewing the survivors through a series of cameras you must lay traps, unleash zombies and tyrants upon them to stop them from escaping the lab and carrying the infection out into the population.
As a survivor, you must work with your team to complete three challenges and survive the onslaught sent your way by the mastermind. Each survivor has their own traits and abilities from being able to hack cameras, disarm traps and boost allies. Both mastermind and survivors can be levelled up to unlock more powerful abilities. Though CAPCOM doesn’t have the best track record with online RE experiences, Resistance is a fun formula and is a good enough concept that plays well but feels like a small consolation for what could have been a more fleshed out campaign.
Anyone who has seen the RE engine in action will know that it delivered some of the best visuals on the market today. Resident Evil 3 looks absolutely stunning from start to finish, especially running on PlayStation Pro and when compared to the original version. Lighting and reflections bring every location to life along with rich sound quality. I experienced no slow down of bug’s (apart from the slimy deep throating bastards towards the start of the story) with the controls being responsive and intuitive enough for gamers of all levels to pick up and try their luck.
Resident Evil 3 delivers a high budget, exhilarating experience that entertains overall but just feels a bit too much like an expansion to really hit the spot. This is not a title to avoid by any means as it provides intense action and a solid story with good replay value with the inclusion of RE Resistance giving something a bit different for fans to enjoy. But unless you are a hardcore Resident Evil fan, $59.99/£49.99 might be a steep price.