Hot on the heels of last year’s amazing remake of Resident Evil 2, in Capcom’s own brand new RE Engine, they went ahead and remade the next game in the series, Resident Evil 3. As one who never really has liked the Resident Evil series, and only game in the series that I have completed (or even played more than 20 minutes of) was the remake of 2 last year, I was interested from a distance on this new one.
Only really knowing Jill Valentine from osmosis over the years of video game culture, I was really curious to see who this character really was, and the struggles she goes through. I didn’t even know there was a secondary character, Carlos, that you play through the split story mode with as well…. And I sure didn’t know that this game is actually a prequel to Resident Evil 2, pulling that super weird middle chapter as the third in the series trope. And last but not least, I didn’t know much about everyone’s favorite, Nemesis. The big massive gimmick for this game.
So, not really knowing much at all, I was really interested to dive right into this game, especially since this is really the first major game of the year to come out in this massively big drought of game releases… and it came out in APRIL! I played the demo that came out a few weeks prior to kinda get my “sea legs” of this type of game. I initially found it extremely stressful and borderline irritating as I was playing the game like an action game but quickly found no ammo and running up against a wall full of zombies.
Needless to say, but I didn’t finish the demo, and decided it’d just be best to wait for a couple weeks and play the full game when it released. Waiting wasn’t really that hard, as I went through a few other games in the mean time.
On launch night, I loaded up the game and went through the tutorial/intro which looked really nice, but did feel a bit too scripted. It seemed so linear, and scripted that if felt more at place in a Uncharted game instead of a Resident Evil game, and I’m not even a huge expert on this series, not by a long shot. After the intro, I was given a bit of free roaming with Jill. As I started encountering my fair share of zombies, I noticed my controller wasn’t working properly. It would continue to vibrate until I either got to a safe room or randomly bumped up against a unlocked door, or would just have to quit out. Some times the controller would not respond at all, and my character would just aim down sights without shooting, no matter how many times I pulled the right trigger. Sometimes my character would just slowly start aiming up while firing off every round I had. Sometimes the game would just crash. I haven’t encountered bugs like this in a game in a long LONG time.
Other than the random bugs, that would crop up only a few times, I set out on my adventure to rescue Racoon City. I was excited, that is until I realized this was nothing like Resident Evil 2… Sure it takes place in Racoon City. It even has you exploring a few familiar places like the police department. But Resident Evil 3 plays more like an action game, and it is written like an action game as well. Jill is very shallow on actual character development. She mainly barks one liners that rival Arnold’s, and just yells at everyone who doesn’t fully agree with her. This was disappointing to say the least. I thought Jill was a staple of the series, one who really showed why the S.T.A.R.S. team are so well regarded… but all I got out of her was that her character is as flat as a single sheet of paper. Maybe that is because I didn’t play through the first game, where she is one of the main characters, and you get her development there, but sadly she seems as lame as any other boring meathead. Carlos on the other hand seems pretty well rounded, and other than his awful new hair, that looks like a mop modeled in a budget game on the 360 from 2066…. He’s the better of the two, for sure.
The game’s tone is also leaning way more into the action, summer blockbuster, setpiece type of game, instead of the atmospheric survival horror that the remake of the second game felt like. Gone are a lot of the puzzles, everything is super linear and again, just the whole tone of the game feels off. Even my wife, who was watching me play noticed, and commented “This doesn’t even feel like a Resident Evil game, you’re just shooting everything in sight”. I didn’t mind so much, as I normally hate scary games, and going more in an action oriented gameplay style suited me just fine. That was, until I finished the game in about 5 hours.
The game feels extremely rushed. Nemesis is nowhere near as terrifying as I thought he was going to be. Mr. X, from the second game roams around the police station throughout most of the game. Nemesis just shows up at scripted points and you just have to push forward. He isn’t much of an actual threat throughout the game at all.Just serves as a boss fight a few times. He just isn’t as menacing as I was led to believe.
Sadly, as impressive as Capcom’s new RE Engine is, remaking a game can’t just be remaking the game with better graphics and calling it a day. You can see a lot of old school game design in the game, and that isn’t always for the best, especially if it’s a REMAKE. A remake should take the core concepts and story, but change up mostly everything else, or at least tweak it. There were so many times, I’d pick up a letter left on the ground, and you can instantly tell it was written in 1999. The writing feels unchanged, and makes the game feel dated in a way it shouldn’t. This is a modern remake and should incorporate more changes than just better lighting, and a control scheme that wasn’t ripped from a tank.
I never played the original, and if I was given a remake of that game, but didn’t follow every single beat, I wouldn’t be bummed. And if I was a fan of the original, and played it multiple times, I don’t think I’d be upset if they changed a lot, for the sake of making the game feel more modern. But sadly, all we got was just another ho-hum game that steers further away from what made the series so memorable