Last year’s Resident Evil 2 remake solidified itself as being one of my games of 2019. I’ve always respected the Resident Evil series hasResident Evil played the majority of the franchise, but it wasn’t until the remake that I found myself so invested in the characters. So, one year later and we’re getting the third game in the series, remade from the ground up and acting as more of a reimagining than a remake. If you’re wondering whether Capcom struck gold again, well, you’d be right because Resident Evil 3 is the latest game this year that comes at the best time.
I was 12 when Resident Evil 3: Nemesis launched in 1999. In 2020, things are different but the same dread I felt playing the original is there in spades and I still felt anxiety playing as Jill, who is dealing with the Raccoon City virus outbreak.
You’ll be counting S.T.A.R.S
And while Resident Evil 2 left you confined to the RCPD building; the streets of Raccoon City are where Jill Valentine spends most of her time surviving. Resident Evil 3 takes place concurrently with Claire’s and Leon’s situation, but when Umbrella Corporation calls on her to help Carlos Oliviera to get as many people out of the city, it’s a race against time. The thing is though, the T-Virus has already made quick work of the inhabitants, both Jill and Carlos must work together to get out of the city. And to make matters worse, the frightful Nemesis is hot on their trail.
Resident Evil 2 brought us Mr. X, who followed Claire and Leon throughout the Raccoon City Police Department. Dealing with that threat was more manageable when compared to the bigger and ominous Nemesis; an enemy that will never let up in his pursuit. Where Mr. X would stalk you at a most menacing pace, Nemesis not only does that but also can use weapons against you. Nemesis is on the hunt for former members of STARS (Special Tactics and Rescue Service) a former elite team of armed forces to rapidly deal with terrorism. Trying to kill Nemesis is impossible and he knows it and I felt myself holding my breath at times, praying he wouldn’t find me. It’s that rush of adrenaline that comes from knowing you’re back is against the wall and there are seconds to react to the situation.
Heard it all before
For the most part, Resident Evil 3 works. This isn’t an exact retelling and Capcom’s instead done an incredible job at updating everything for 2020. Puzzles are some of the best in the series, familiar events are shaken up and shuffled around, and familiar places are also expanded upon. For the most part, I much prefer the campaign in Resident Evil 3, which is short and concise; Resident Evil 2 incorporated multiple playthroughs to get the complete story and a good chunk was retread territory. Sure, Capcom had the opportunity to add more but as it is, I find the 7-8 hour campaign perfect. There are still things you can do after the credits roll, and new difficulty settings offer a semblance of replayability, and the collectibles will keep you busy, too.
The action takes place in the familiar over the shoulder camera, and it took some time to acclimate to the controls thanks to some excellent enemy design. Zombies move in such an erratic way, I forgot how to deal with them at the beginning. They’d sway one way and I’d try my best to line up a headshot only missing and having to dodge. Resident Evil 3 comes with stellar gunplay, feeling better than last year’s Resident Evil 2 and lining up the perfect shot requires some skill. A new mechanic this year is the dodge that is a saving grace. By timing your dodge with R1 or RB, time slows down and enemies take longer to recover. My biggest suggestion is timing your dodge and using your knife to gain the edge against the undead.
And while I enjoyed the gameplay changes, the graphical output the RE Engine offers is still hard to compare with. Capcom’s latest engine is capable of so much and offers a wealth of visual fidelity seen in Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3. Character models are packed with details; Jill and Carlos look extremely lifelike.
And the detail and polish extend to each environment too. City streets are soaked in neon lights, the fires burning in decimated cars – everything looks excellent in motion. There’s a ton of detail that’s tucked away in every corner of the game but it’s largely in place to guide you to the next location. Through and through, this isn’t an open-world game, this is wholly Resident Evil doing what it does best, and gripping environments is one of them.
Resistance is Futile
Seemingly, while most of us assumed that the leaked Resident Evil Resistance was a standalone title, it is instead included as part of the experience. I’ve dabbled in the open beta which was available on Xbox One. In a 4 vs 1 asymmetrical mode, one player is the Mastermind, while the other four players are survivors. If you play as the Mastermind, your goal is to stop the survivors from successfully escaping the facility by setting traps and calling zombies for example. Survivors all come with unique skills and the key to success is working together to outsmart the Mastermind.
I’ve only played a handful of rounds so far and I’m going to dive in once the game officially launches. Right now, it’s hard to judge the longevity Resistance may offer. I do like the various survivors, their abilities and the Fever Skills; which is considered a finisher. Samuel Jordan’s Fever Skill is Fists of Iron which allows you to attack bare-handed, while January Van Sant’s is called EMP, which disrupts the Mastermind’s camera. Each survivor’s skill differs depending on their role and comes with a cooldown period.
Just like Resident Evil 2 last year, this year’s Resident Evil 3 remake is excellent. Capcom has refined the framework the series is using and even captures the same anxiety and sense of terror I felt years ago. Resident Evil 3 is faster than its predecessor in every way and Nemesis is the perfect foil to Jill Valentine. Capcom’s new direction for the series is genuinely exciting and while this won’t please diehard fans of the series, its mass appeal is recognizable. Resident Evil 3 was always a divisive video game and that notion holds true today.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]