Video Game Review - Resident Evil 3
Resident Evil 3 Remake: A Review
This review, video game, and recommendations are intended for a mature audience of 18+.
The Resident Evil 1 and 2 remakes took the best parts of their original titles and improved upon the weaker points of the games, which ultimately resulted in two of the greatest games in the series. Resident Evil 3 was a much weaker starting point than Resident Evil 1 and 2, and the RE3 remake ultimately falls prey to this, as it fixes a few of the flaws in the title, but ultimately RE3 needed significantly more work to elevate it to the levels of RE1 and RE2.
Part of my love for the Resident Evil series is the combination of scarce resources and a sense of isolation that, when coupled with developed and intricate level design, rewards exploration as shortcuts past troublesome areas are revealed. This satisfying gameplay was reintroduced to the series in the RE7 Baker Estate, and then was elevated and showcased in the RE2 Remake RPD, a true highlight of level design in recent memory.
The RE 2 Remake map exemplifies this interwoven style of level design so characteristic of the best RE titles.
RE3 remake lacks this philosophy, and while pieces of this are implemented in various environments, this atmosphere is never really felt throughout the game. Instead you are moved quickly from set piece to set piece, as you do a surface level exploration of each area and are typically forced to backtrack through it once with a new item, unlocking a few new doors. This feeling, coupled with an abundance of resources and tight spaces lead the gameplay experience to feel more focused on action and less of survival.
This stairway in particular bothered me throughout the game as you were funneled through this same bottleneck three to four times.
Another part of the massive success in RE7 and RE2 remake was the omnipresence of unkillable super monsters tracking your every move and unexpectantly interrupting your plans on your trips though their territories. The unforeseen and seemingly random nature of their pursuit, your ability to run away, hide, or fight created a tense and unique atmosphere in modern gaming. Your pursuer in RE3, Nemesis, shares none of these aspects with Jack or Mr. X from the prior games, instead all Nemesis encounters are scripted. This, frankly, saps most of the horror from the monster, and your abundant healing items and ammo take away any of the remaining horror felt.
The infamous wall break jump scare in RE7 exemplifies the success of Jack Baker and the interruption of your usual patterns traversing the Baker Estate in RE7
Speaking of the story, RE3 remake suffers from traditional RE failings. A schlocky Hollywood B tier story is all you will get out of this. One scene at the end of the game, meant to be serious, caused me to laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of the experience. Outside of Jill, who was easily the best protagonist in the series outside of Leon, characters are underdeveloped tropes, and there is little connection between any of them. The remake considers Jill in a new light. Her headstrong attitude, reluctant nature toward Carlos his team, and responses to her surroundings all felt realistic. Her character itself was much less sexualized and more human than prior games, and her reaction was for once realistic and understandable to the player.
RE3 vs RE3 Remake Jill Valentine. It’s taken decades, but it’s nice to see that video games have started to present women in a different light.
In regards to the game length, RE3 remake is shorter than any numbered RE game since its initial release, and the lack of any A or B scenarios or second playable characters coupled with action-focused linear levels limit replayability. You’ll likely want to replay it once or twice to try to optimize your runs or try out unlockable outfits or guns earned after beating the game, but unlike the RE2 remake I don’t see myself playing this campaign 4+ times. This wouldn’t be a huge problem as RE7 had similar shortcomings, but it’s at least 50% longer than the RE3 remake and told a new story, not a rehash of an existing story.
Capcom knew this would be an issue, so they packed RE3 remake with RE Resistance, a multiplayer experience. RE Resistance pits up to five players against a mastermind, who threatens them at each and every turn as they try to escape a zombie-filled obstacle course. In premise, this sounds like a lot of fun from both the survivor and mastermind perspective. In actuality, I think this game mode highlights that the RE engine used for the last three major RE releases (RE7, RE2 remake, and RE3 remake), while amazing at what it does, suffers most in fast-paced, action-oriented gameplay. I found myself struggling to respond to the larger number of obstacles, see in the dark lighting, and move quickly in a timed experience. Ultimately, I found that like most multiplayer experiences packaged with a game in a series known exclusively for single player campaigns, I was left wanting more. More depth, more options, but mostly the polish and focus on fun gameplay that traditional multiplayer games, such as Call of Duty, focus on.
Overall, RE3 remake is a significant letdown, but ultimately solid experience. Part of this feeling stems from the massive success of the RE2 remake, which will always be the better of these two games. I had hoped Capcom would use the lessons learned in their failure in RE6, and successes in RE7 and RE2 remake, and fix the problems that dragged the original RE3 down. Unfortunately, RE3 remake feels exactly like what the original RE3 was in the series the first time around, good, not great, short and underwhelming. Now my RE attention becomes uniformly focused on the RE4 Remake, the pinnacle of success in the series, that rumors are flying about being in the works.
If you enjoy survival horror games like Resident Evil you may enjoy:
If you like the gameplay of Resident Evil:
Uncharted – The Nathan Drake Collection – Free on PS4
I’m mentioning this both as an actual recommendation if you like the gameplay of Resident Evil, and that it’s free for Playstation 4 owners for two weeks starting 4/15. I bought my Playstation 4 late into the game, and it came with a free copy of Uncharted 4. I was shocked at how much I loved the game and played the rest of the series immediately. This is a must play if you haven’t done so yet.
A quick note - you have to search for the title in the PS store, but I just downloaded it to test, and it’s 100% free. Journey is also free and a great game but is not similar to Resident Evil. Hopefully Microsoft and other developers and publishers will follow suit and offer games for free in this unique time.
The Evil Within 1+2 - $19.99 and $39.99 on all platforms
Using a unique “Cabin in the Woods” style, embracing multiple tropes and worlds of horror, these two titles run the gambit of horror experience in media. Unlike Resident Evil, these games focus much more on horror and are not for the faint of heart.
Resident Evil 2 Remake and Resident Evil 7 - $39.99 and $29.99 on all platforms
Superior to RE3 Remake in almost every way, if you don’t already own these titles and were considering buying RE3 Remake, do yourself a favor and play either of these games first.
The Last of Us: Remastered - $14.99 PS4 exclusive
If you haven’t played The Last of Us, you’re missing out on one of the best examples of storytelling in video games in the last decade, and it comes in a pandemic based, semi-horror experience. If you’ve been putting it off, or just missed this game, it is the pinnacle of crossing RE4 based gameplay and storytelling in videogames.
If you like horror games and are looking for a unique experience:
Lost in Vivo - $11.99 on Steam
Fans of Silent Hill’s psychological horror and atmosphere will love the faux 8-bit art style and deepening sense of dread found in this game.
Doki-Doki Literature Club – Free on Steam
Trust me when you get to the Steam page, this is a horror game, and you’ve never played another game like it. It somehow mashes together the anime dating sim experience, with physiological horror, and Metal Gear Solid’s third wall game breaking experiences. It’s unique, crazy and free.
World of Horror – $14.99 on Steam
My personal favorite on this section of the list: This 1-bit art style, visual novel, based off of a strong Lovecraftian sense of horror has a huge amount of replayability with randomly generated mysteries.
We Went Back – Free on Steam
This short horror experience is a fun example of the walk and explore horror experience. It being free coupled with the atmosphere and growing sense of dread and mystery make it a fun way to spend an hour or two.