Overall 8.60
How does Capcom follow up a new classic in RE2 remake? A game with expert level design, great pacing which was faithful to the original. Well they throw all that out the window and make a non stop action thrill ride. If RE2 was a large carefully built  haunted house then Resident Evil 3 remake is a roller coaster flying at high speeds with a track that is on fire and non stop metal music playing. Resident Evil 3 tip toes across the line between old school RE design and the more modern action RE games in a way that is bold but also limiting in its approach as it doesn’t excel at either. The result is an uneven game that may be a blast to play doesn’t have the same design quality of what has come before.

Let me get some of the bad out of the way first, as a remake this game fails spectacularly. RE2 had some noticeable cuts but the essence of the game was still present. RE3 feels like a butcher took a chainsaw to the original game removing many locations, enemies, a whole boss, and changing some of the story beats. In terms of gameplay it loses the live selection that allowed for some changes in future plays, meaning each run of the remake will play exactly the same. The OG had a deeper ammo crafting system, had more environmental interaction and way way more puzzles. Raccoon City felt like a real place with Jill exploring a series of city staples like a newspaper office, a park, a central location like the clock tower. While the opening of the remake makes it seem like we will explore a large raccoon city that is quickly stripped away for a series of loosely connected indoor environments.

The most baffling change deals with the once titular character, Nemesis and how he functions throughout the game. In the original, Nemesis was a true stalker appearing at semi random moments where he would chase you through multiple areas, each game would have him coming from different areas to keep the player on their toes. Remake nemesis only stalks the player for one or two segments, the rest of the time he is regulated to a cutscene or a boss battle. Mr.X in RE2 showed how great a stalker enemy could be and the promise of the OG RE stalker coming for an entire game was so exciting, it’s a shame to see that idea basically be thrown away.

Having said all that Resident Evil 3 remake manages to still be a very high quality action game that is so lean I can’t even recall a dull moment. There is a kinetic energy felt throughout the game that starts literally one minute in and never lets up until the very end. This felt to me like the best Terminator game ever made with all the flair a Cameron movie delivers. Nemesis keeps showing up time and again during what usually heavily scripted action sequences that surprisingly don’t use QTEs but do have a whole lot of just holding up. While you don’t have much control in these moments they do serve as bridges to the next small area or a boss battle where the game truly shines.

The backbone of the RE2 remake formula is present here, I feel the game controls extremely well and the addition of the dodge adds a layer of skill not present in RE2. With the press of a button Jill can dodge away from incoming attacks, time it just right and a perfect dodge will slow down time for an easy counter attack. On easier difficulty this is mostly used in case of an emergency but on higher difficulty levels it becomes as necessary and demanding as the parry system in Sekiro as expert use of dodge is required at certain levels.

All the resource management is still included, sure ammo is far more plentiful than in RE2 but careful planning is still rewarded. In RE2 I found that running was usually a better option which kind of made future play-throughs all about learning routes where in RE3 dodge and strategic attacking is the best defense. Enemies are more aggressive, faster, and have more varied weak points to learn. A prime example being the best iteration of the classic Hunter I have ever seen in a game, which have a weak shell on their head that can be peeled away by gunfire exposing a weak point. Combat on a whole feels more rewarding especially during the much improved boss battles in which some are top tier for this franchise.

On the topic of level design, when I play what should be classic style RE I expect a large interconnected location, the maze as I call it, where your route planning is as important as your combat skills. RE3 is a far more linear experience forgoing most of the maze like locations for smaller areas. There are a few standout locations like the hospital and late game lab that do have you moving back and forth through halls but it’s a far cry from the beautifully designed RE2. In a way that might be how this RE3 most closely resembles the OG RE3, also a game that was a series of smaller spaces and did away with a lot of the larger maze areas. History repeats itself; the elegant RE2 is followed by the louder sloppier RE3.

There will be much talk about the games length as it is as short as any one RE2 scenario but without any second scenario or character choice. I first played on hardcore which is the new “Experienced players” normal mode, took my time, died quite a bit, and still finished it in eight hours. On my second play through I did a speed run with no real planning and easily beat it under two hours. When you know what to do there just isn’t much there, as long as you master dodge and are good with combat the game practically plays itself on easier levels.

I recommend everyone especially all RE fans to play it on the unlocked Nightmare mode which remixes enemies and some items for a far harder experience that does borderline on cheap but rewards the player as any high skill action game does. By the end all my careful planning early on made the final areas far easier as I had all the ammo I needed, which was a nice reward. The quick pace and short length lends itself to replays, there are no dull sections or padding so playing it again is like a rush of great moments. A warning about Nightmare mode, the final boss is complete bullshit and will test anyones patience. After finishing Nightmare mode an even harder mode is unlocked which I am honestly afraid to even try. There is an in menu store that gives you the classic RE rewards like infinite weapons based on achievements which also adds to the replay value. For a game that is so short I am finding it a joy to replay and unlock these extras, that said the lack of an in game extra mode is noticeable.

Forgoing a Mercenaries mode, this game now comes with the 4v1 asymmetrical multiplayer game Resistance. It is a completely separate package which is why I won’t spend too much on it here. I will say those that get into the game can have many fun hours but it’s no Outbreak. Sure it helps with the value of the total package but I really miss having an extra mode that ties rewards to the main game.

Jill Valentine is at her very best here, it is easily my favorite portrayal of her. She is full of confidence and a total badass. This Jill feels like she belongs in hall of great action heroines like Ripley and Sarah Conner. Carlos gets a full overhaul as well, developing what was a rather bland character into a fully realized soldier who slowly questions his mission and employer. He hasgreat chemistry with Jill, that is not the usual cheesy forced romantic kind, but of two fully capable soldiers that have the highest respect for each other. Rounding out the main cast is the delicious villain Nicholai which is so damn sleazy you can’t help but love watching him be a total asshole to everyone. I believe Resident Evil 3 might be the most well put together story(what little there is) with the best characterizations and acting the series has ever had.

One big complaint about RE2 had to do with the original score which was subdued and almost mood music at times. Resident Evil 3 rights this wrong by remixing classic tracks and adding pulse pounding new ones to always help the action reach highs. Personally I believe the original RE2 score is still far superior to this one but the implementation of the score in RE3 is way more effective than in RE2 remake.  In terms of graphics there isn’t much to say, the game is gorgeous and manages to be even more detailed than the last one.

Resident Evil 3 makes the absolute most of what it presents. Despite removing so much of the original it manages to pull together an experience that is so fast paced you don’t have time to wonder where did all the cut content go. There is no question the design of the game is simplistic, it’s why it won’t reach the highs of RE2, yet I find myself loving the game more and more every time I replay it. Remember early on this gen when there were some really short simple games like the Order and Ryse, while RE3 is as short as those games there is a level of depth and execution that makes it a far greater game. It almost reminds me of the capcom games of old, shorter 2-3 hour games that are an absolute joy to play no matter how many times you beat them because of how well paced they were, that’s how I would classify Resident Evil 3.

Posted by Dvader Wed, 08 Apr 2020 17:44:38
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