The remake of Resident Evil 3 continues Capcom’s streak of high quality releases. After the release of the Resident Evil 2 remake last year, this game had a lot to live up to. Honestly, Resident Evil 3 lives up to the mantle set by its predecessor and doesn’t disappoint. Capcom was masterfully able to retain the action horror roots of the original while completely updating the gameplay to modern standards.
Capcom continues to nail the classic Resident Evil design formula with Resident Evil 3. Though a more linear, action heavy game than it’s predecessor, exploring the horrifically, beautiful updated version of Raccoon City is still a blast, and the game gives you ample time to explore each area you traverse to find everything and clear the map. Though more of an action game, inventory management is still key and knowing exactly what items you need and having extra space to pick up new things you find is a great balancing act. There’s still no better feeling than finding a new hip pouch to carry more items with you at once.
Being an action horror game instead of a pure survival horror game also allowed for Capcom to mixup the formula with Resident Evil 3. Raccoon City in the midst of the T-Virus outbreak is horrifyingly realized. The city is filled to the brim with hordes of zombies wandering the streets. Along with the typical undead affair, there are a plethora of new and returning enemy types, some of which are absolutely terrifying, added for more varied combat encounters that Jill has to face down in her trek to escape the city.
However, you can’t talk about the enemies without mentioning the monster itself in Nemesis. While not a constant terror inducing menace like Mr. X was, Nemesis ramped up the intensity and anxiety I experienced every time it was encountered. Towering, imposing, and an absolute beast, Nemesis is fast and has a wide variety of attacks to confront Jill with. With its speed and abilities, stunning Nemesis became a must just so I could get away as I couldn’t turn and go a different direction as it would jump in front of me, pull me back towards it with a tentacle, or rush me and kill me with a few strikes. Plus, stunning Nemesis causes it to drop some very useful items like weapon parts. Thus, the game made me against my instinctual fight or fight response, and I was confronting Nemesis head on with each encounter.
To combat all these enemies, the newly added dodge mechanic is a godsend for this more action oriented entry in the series. Gone are the days of breakable knives used to escape a zombie’s grasp. Now, it’s all about perfecting your dodge to get around the plethora of enemies you encounter, otherwise, you’re in for a bad time if a zombie or Nemesis gets their hands on you. However, once the dodge has been perfected, I was dodging almost every zombie, creature, and Nemesis attack that came at me. Or in Carlos’s case, pushing a zombie against a wall and punching it square in the face (probably one of my favorite moments of the game).
The narrative of Resident Evil 3 works quite well, and, as it takes place in conjunction with Resident Evil 2, really fleshes out the world first introduced in the last game. The single narrative compared to the split narrative of its predecessor, feels right for this game, and allows for more interactions to happen between all the characters instead of some being relegated to one side of the narrative. Over the course of my six hours with the game, the narrative felt well paced, and no parts or areas felt like they dragged on too long. The narrative may hit a bit too close to home for some, however, with the discussion of a mass pandemic and locking down parts of the country given everything going on in the real world given current events.
The ensemble cast is also one of the best parts of Resident Evil 3. Jill is the obvious standout, easily my favorite game character of the year so far, and her no nonsense, confident attitude makes her the best person to handle the terrible situations happening all around Raccoon City. Carlos and the rest of the U.B.C.S. team are a great counterpoint to Jill, and it’s really nice having a wider array of characters to bounce off of and interact with compared to Resident Evil 2′s smaller cast. Watching the relationship between Jill and Carlos grow from an uneasy alliance, with Jill even refuting Carlos’s attempt to call her “partner” early on, full of sarcastic lines to each other to actual partners having each others back by the end is a delight.
Overall, Resident Evil 3 is a great remake that retains the essence of the original 1999 PlayStation classic with modern sensibilities. Though some may be turned away by its brisk runtime, Resident Evil 3 is a blast and shines the entire time. The action horror design allows it to stand apart from its predecessor while still be a thrilling Resident Evil adventure that many are sure to enjoy. Capcom is absolutely nailing the Resident Evil franchise right now, and this game really shows the franchise is on track, and truly excites me to see where they take it next.
Score: 9 out of 10
Reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro