Capcom found great success with the remake of Resident Evil 2, selling millions of copies and standing as the highest-rated video game of 2019. With Resident Evil 3 sharing many assets and narrative links with Resident Evil 2, it only made sense for Capcom to pursue a remake of it later. The remake of Resident Evil 3 isn’t quite as compelling as Resident Evil 2, but it’s still a strong entry in the series and entertaining throughout.
One of Resident Evil 3’s biggest issues is its short length, though in some ways, it’s also a strength. Even after thoroughly exploring most of the environments, we completed Resident Evil 3 in about four and a half hours, and that’s likely to upset some people who shell out $60 for the game. However, its brevity means that all the fat is trimmed and there are no wasted moments. Resident Evil 3 has more significant forward momentum than perhaps any other game in the series, with successive major plot developments, unique gameplay sequences, and challenging new enemy encounters that constantly thrown at the player from start to finish.
The original Resident Evil 3 was also pretty short, and in fact, most Resident Evil games are on the shorter side. However, it’s disappointing that the Resident Evil 3 remake is missing some of the features that gave the original game so much replay value. For example, the Mercenaries mode is missing from Resident Evil 3, as are the branching story paths, referred to as “Live Choices” in the original.
However, the removal of Resident Evil 3’s Live Selections has its upside, and that is a more coherent and better-told story overall. Capcom has been using the Resident Evil remakes to expand and refine the franchise’s story, with Resident Evil 3 getting some of the most plot changes to date. This means that even veterans of the original game will have some surprises to look forward to in the story, an element missing from the Resident Evil 2 remake.
Despite some changes to the story and expanded roles for characters such as Brad Vickers, the general outline of the plot in Resident Evil 3 is still the same, with Jill Valentine trying to escape Raccoon City while relentlessly pursued by the Nemesis monster. The Resident Evil 3 remake takes a grittier, more serious tone than the other games in the series, with little banter or cheesy lines, and the plot is engaging throughout. Jill Valentine and the rest of the cast are all excellent, brought to life by innovative graphics and amazing voice acting.
The monster Nemesis himself was meant to be the star of the show, but in practice, he really felt like a step back from Resident Evil 2’s Mr. X. Jill’s encounters with Nemesis occur in very specific, scripted moments, and his aggressive, bombastic pursuit of Jill is less frightening than Mr. X. Nemesis still gets a few good jump scare moments, but he runs at Jill quickly and shooting rockets at her isn’t nearly as scary as Mr. X to Leon and Claire like a slasher movie villain.
Resident Evil 3, in general, is not as scary as Resident Evil 2, let alone the original Resident Evil 3. While the original used creepy music to great effect, the new Resident Evil 3 is wanted to use action music and explosions instead. The game lacks the creepy atmosphere from the original, with disturbing moments like the Dario Rosso encounter that are now loud and annoying. And Dario isn’t the only force in Resident Evil 3. Players will lose track of the number of explosions that occur during the game, and there are Uncharted-like set-pieces thrown in for good measure. This over-the-top action makes it hard to actually be scared of Resident Evil 3’s remake, which may disappoint purists.
Although its scare factor has been dialed down a bit, Resident Evil 3 is a great survival-horror gaming experience, with a focus on inventory management, puzzle solving, and of course, surviving hordes of undead creature. The enemies in Resident Evil 3 are more aggressive than ever, though Jill Valentine has some special maneuvers she can use to avoid enemy attacks when timed well. The boss battles are particularly fun and will certainly test players’ abilities when played on higher difficulty settings.
Higher difficulties, Charlie Doll collectibles, and the Shop are the main ways that Resident Evil 3 injects some replay value into the experience, where players can purchase special weapons and perks to make later playthroughs easier. However, Resident Evil 3 will likely have a lot to fill after the first playthrough, and may not feel compelled to return to unlock additional content.
One way Capcom is trying to address Resident Evil 3’s short length and relatively low replay value is through the Resident Evil: Resistance multiplayer game, which is free with RE3. Resident Evil: Resistance is actually its own unique game compared to a mode for RE3, with its own list of achievements and completely different gameplay style. This is another asymmetric multiplayer horror game, where one player plays the role of the Mastermind and four others play the survivors.
Conceptually, Resident Evil: Resistance is a good idea on paper, but the game seems to favor the Mastermind player more than the survivors. As a result, playing as the Resident Evil: Resistance Mastermind and hunting down survivors can be fun, but playing as a survivor and constantly dealing with the crap the Mastermind throws up is a much more frustrating experience. There’s a balance that could have been struck here, but Capcom missed the mark.
Depending on its popularity, Capcom may adjust Resident Evil: Resistance to make it a more attractive option for fans of these types of games, but in its current state, it’s hard to recommend anyone pick up RE3 to play this. Things may be a different story a few updates from now, but that remains to be seen.
Resident Evil 3’s remake will appeal to hardcore fans of the franchise and those in need of their survival-horror fix, but its short length and lack of replay value, even compared to the PS1 original, will definitely makes it harder to recommend than Resident Evil 2 . There are times when Resident Evil 3 is brilliant, but purists may not like how much it leans on action at the expense of its scares. The game looks amazing, controls like a dream, and it’s nice that the entire main line of the Resident Evil saga is available on modern platforms, but it’s hard not to be a little disappointed after being blown away by Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil 3 is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. Today Technology was given an Xbox One code for this review.