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Resident Evil 3

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
Release Date: April 3, 2020


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PS4 Review - 'Resident Evil 3 Remake'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on March 30, 2020 @ 8:00 a.m. PDT

Resident Evil 3 stars Jill Valentine – one of video games’ most iconic heroines – as she escapes from a crumbling Raccoon City while being pursued by the unrelenting bioweapon Nemesis.

Buy Resident Evil 3 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake was one of the greatest games to come out last year. In addition to winning our Game of the Year award, it was widely praised all around. The announcement of the PS1 classic Resident Evil 3: Nemesis remake wasn't a surprise, especially coming so soon after RE2 Remake. Similar to how the PS1 entry of RE3 didn't quite live up to its predecessor, RE3 Remake is a good game but has flaws that prevent it from matching the masterpiece that was RE2 Remake.

RE3 begins the day before RE2. Former S.T.A.R.S. member Jill Valentine is preparing to evacuate Raccoon City when she's ambushed by a black-clad monster that can only utter the name "S.T.A.R.S." The creature, dubbed Nemesis, is hunting her and blocking her escape from the zombie-infested Raccoon City. Jill must find a way to escape from the dying city and Nemesis' clutches. Her only help is a rookie Umbrella Special Services agent named Carlos, and together, the two must make their last escape.

In most respects, the story is close to the original RE3. Most of the same characters appear, but sometimes they're just cameos. The plot is largely the same, but the second half of the game focuses heavily on the vaccine plot instead of escaping from the city. Jill is an extremely fun character, simultaneously completely done with everything and yet still willing to do everything she can to help people, and that leads to her feeling immensely cool. The secondary characters are one-note, with little to flesh them out, with the exception of Carlos.

The core gameplay in RE3 is pretty much identical to RE2: It has the same gameplay, inventory system, and mechanics. If you played the previous game, you'll be ready to hop right in. There is one significant new feature: dodge. By pressing the R1 button or raising your gun when an enemy is about to attack, you'll dodge. Do it early, and you can get out safe. Do it late, and you'll eat damage. Do it just right, and Jill will dodge to the side in slow motion and instantly turn to lock onto the enemy's weak point, allowing you to easily damage foes with minimal risk.

The dodge feature takes some getting used to, but it feels really good. Regular zombies are too inconsistent to get a feel for the dodge mechanic, but it does wonders with other enemies. Dangerous dogs become far less so when you can weave around their attacks and pop them in the head in slow motion. In the harder difficulty modes, you'll need to rely on the dodge feature.

The biggest disappointment in RE3 is The Nemesis. When the original game came out, Nemesis was terrifying. He broke rules, smashed walls, and was practically unstoppable. Nemesis in RE3 Remake is more of a scripted event. He shows up a few times, but every time is a guided sequence where you run away. It's intense and enjoyable when you briefly need to chase and pursue him, but it's an incredibly small part of the experience. The scenes that you've seen in the trailer where Nemesis is chasing you, jumping in front of you, and following you are from one specific area of the game. Even the addition of a new flamethrower does little to change the fact he's just not there. Instead of dreading his presence, I forgot that he existed until he was right in front of me.

This is probably the biggest negative because RE2 Remake's Mr. X was a masterclass in how to do that concept well. He was intimidating, omnipresent, and avoidable, but he scared you by just being there. Nemesis is a big monster that chases you through the set pieces. For the amount of hype that's spent on him, he's a relatively minor part of the game and vanishes for large swaths of it. The Beta Hunters (complete with insta-kill swipe attack) do a far better job of being intimidating.

RE3 Remake has been streamlined a lot from the PlayStation original, so unfortunately, several areas of the game have been cut or significantly reduced, which removes a lot of the cool scenes. This wouldn't be too bad if the rest of the areas were fleshed out, but only two areas (the initial city area and the hospital) feel like something more than a combination of segments and corridors. There's no backtracking and little room to breathe, despite the original RE3 having some of that. It even cuts out several encounters with Nemesis, which is bewildering. The game is significantly more linear than the original PS1 title, and just about every area beyond the hospital is almost absent from the remake.

This streamlining also contributes to a short playtime. My first time through, including spending time poking around for secrets and exploring when I could, ran about four hours. If I had rushed through, I could've finished it in two hours without much effort. This might be common for Resident Evil games, which usually reward you for speed-running, but RE3 feels a bit too short. Of note is the absence of the Mercenaries minigame from the PS1 original, and that's a tremendous shame. Instead, you earn points from performing various achievements, which you can use to unlock bonuses like special weapons and outfits for future playthroughs.

If you finish the game on Hardcore difficulty, you unlock an awesome Nightmare mode, which serves as a remixed/New Game+ version where enemies and items are in different locations, and several curveballs are thrown at you to catch you off guard. It's also heavier on the jump-scares. The downside is that you must finish the game on Hardcore to unlock it, so only the most dedicated players will see it. There's an even harder mode than that, Inferno, which is unlocked once you finish Nightmare.

RE3 Remake is a fun add-on to what RE2 Remake did, but there's not much beyond a few new features, a couple of new monsters, and a few new areas. It sometimes feels like an expansion pack for RE2. I still had fun with it, and it was great to get some more time with the zombie-infested Raccoon City, but RE3 is so unambitious compared to its predecessor that it felt like there should be more. It's also far more of an action game, with rare moments of horror when compared to the explosions and action quips.

Fortunately, there is something more to add value to RE3 Remake, and that's the REsistance online mode. Based on games like Dead by Daylight, REsistance is an asymmetrical 4v1 competitive multiplayer game mode. Four players control the survivors — Raccoon City citizens who are being used in the Umbrella Corporation's twisted experiments. The other player is the mastermind, who sits safely in the distance and monitors everything through cameras. The goal of the survivors is to complete tasks and reach the exit while the mastermind tries to stop them.

When playing as the mastermind, you are effectively building traps for the survivors. You can place monsters, traps, and even mounted machine guns. You have a replenishing amount of energy that you can spend on various cards, which represent your choices. You can spend points on an infection trap to slow down survivors or plop a Licker in their faces to tear them up. You can even take direct control of some monsters, but when controlling a monster, you can't see your mastermind cameras, so the survivors have free rein during that time.

Each mastermind also has an iconic monster that serves as their ultimate weapon. Annette Birkin has G-Birkin, while newcomer Daniel Fabron has Mr X. RE2's Alex Wesker has a new plant monster named Yateveo, while behind-the-scenes baddie Oswald Spencer can use technology to block survivors from escaping. Each mastermind also has a unique set of skills. Annette specializes in buffing monsters and making them stronger, while Daniel specializes in brute force.

The survivors play very much like the mainline game. Each survivor has a unique ability. One can highlight items and heal, one is a sharpshooter with special gun abilities, one is a "tank" that specializes in protecting the other survivors, and so on. Theoretically, any group of survivors can finish any of the challenges, but obviously, some will be more useful than others. January the Hacker has the power to fight the mastermind directly by disabling cameras and influencing the mastermind's costs. Against Daniel, who has high energy costs to go with his high power, that can be crippling.

As is the norm for these sorts of games, you'll unlock loot boxes, which can contain cosmetics, new powers, voice lines, or various other things for the mastermind or survivor. Most of this seems optional, but it's worth warning that the main focus of the game is to earn loot boxes to gamble on new powers to play more. It's also very cooperative-focused when playing as the survivors. Don't expect to go in and work alone, or you're just feeding kills to the mastermind.

It's difficult to say how REsistance is going to pan out because it has a bit of a learning curve, and unbalanced strategies are sure to pop up. The concept is pretty fun, but it's a big factor into the game's $60 price tag, so if you don't see yourself playing Resistance mode often, then RE3 Remake becomes harder to recommend.

Fortunately, Resident Evil 3 does a fantastic job of updating the PS1 original's graphics. The environments are familiar but feel brand new, and there are a lot of nice callbacks. The game spends a lot of time in similar-looking corridors in sewers or labs, but when you're outside, you see some genuinely cool stuff. The monsters are creepy as hell, and the new versions of the Gamma and Beta Hunters are excellent updates to some arguably silly designs. The voice acting is excellent, and Jill Valentine's actress sells the idea of both being completely done with all of this undead nonsense while also being the most competent person in the room.

Resident Evil 3 Remake is slightly disappointing after the stellar Resident Evil 2 Remake. It's still a good game, but its short length and lack of ambition mean that it will constantly be seen as the lesser sibling. The addition of the REsistance online mode should add some value for those who enjoy competitive online play, but the lack of single-player options is disappointing. All in all, it's a good follow-up to an amazing game, and as long as you're willing to forgive its foibles, RE3 Remake should be a fun return to Raccoon City for franchise faithfuls.

Score: 8.0/10

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