By Kain Hunter
Just over a year after the release of the much anticipated, and brilliant, Resident Evil 2, the Resident Evil 3 Remake has dropped.
I have been eagerly awaiting its release ever since I completed my playthrough of the remake of Capcom’s second game, in their now 23 year old franchise, and was quite literally jumping up and down on the spot when I saw the beautiful green button on my steam browser allowing me to download and play the newest remake.
Upon opening the game, you’re treated to a live-action opening showing the sheer scale of the effect of the T-Virus on Raccoon City. It really hypes the player up for the forthcoming pandemonium on the streets and it really giving you an idea on just how things have gone downhill since the ‘Mansion Incident’ of the first game.
After the brief opening to the game, the player wakes up inside of Jill Valentine’s apartment with a very filmic, noire filter displayed over the first person camera perspective. Slowly making your way over to the bathroom, you come to realise Jill has been racking up a couple of extra dollars to her water bill by leaving her tap on.
Once interacting with said tap, a short sequence plays with Jill mutating into one of the undead monsters. Upon realising the horror that is facing back at her in the mirror, she reaches for her gun, rests the cold barrel to her temple and pulls the trigger…
…And then the game starts.
Yes that’s right, the previous scene was just a dream sequence and offers some great insight into how hard Jill is finding it to deal with the demons of her recent past. It also plants the seeds into the player’s mind that she might be infected too.
It’s a very strong opening to the game no doubt, and I will refrain from spoiling much more of the story as even players of the original will be unfamiliar with some parts of the story to this game – which is sadly one of the big problems I have with this game.
By no means is Resident Evil 3 a bad game. No, in fact it’s a fantastic game. But it does have one or two glaring issues and problems that I just cannot overlook. Maybe because the original Resident Evil 3 is my favourite game of all time or maybe because some of the issues I have with the game make it feel as if it was designed with speedrunners in mind.
The game takes roughly four hours to complete if you focus purely on the story, and a further five to six hours if you also want to go full Indiana Jones and explore the game world for goodies. Now that probably sounds short, because it is, but Resident Evil games have never been sixty hour epics.
The shortness of the game isn’t what bothers me however, it’s the fact that the game could’ve taken advantage of the beautiful RE engine to bring back some of the classic and unique locations of the third entry. This would’ve provided some much-needed fan service and could’ve quite easily added a bit more enjoyment and valuable minutes to the game.
Just like Capcom redesigned and re-imagined the iconic Raccoon City Police Department in the Resident Evil 2 remake, they could’ve done just the same with Clock Tower that was a pivotal part of the story in the original Resident Evil 3. Instead, the Clock Tower section is condensed down to a very unsatisfying boss battle with no further exploration of it available.
Along with the Clock Tower section being completely omitted from the remake, fans of the original may have also noticed another section of the game that is completely missing… The Gravedigger Worm.
Now this leads me onto another negative, the sheer lack of variety in the boss battles. Two boss battles with Nemesis are exactly the same, both taking place in a circular arena that requires the player to run circles around the leviathan. If they had just included the gigantic Gravedigger Worm, not only would this have added a bit more playtime to the game, but it would have also introduced a different enemy to fight and altered the dynamic for the better.
Just to reiterate, this remake is nowhere near being a terrible game – it is fantastic – it’s just the boss battles I have mentioned are like a budget and much easier version of a boss battle that you would see in the Dark Souls franchise.
Also, with Nemesis only really chasing you twice through the downtown Raccoon City sections, it makes the Tyrant from Resident Evil 2 feel more worthy of the “Pursuer” title.
However, this game does shine for the most part, having solid gameplay and no glitches through the five playthroughs I have done of the game. Its gunplay mechanics have been overhauled from its predecessor by introducing a quickstep mechanic. If pulled off perfectly, it allows the player to channel their inner Neo (Matrix, duh) and slow down time to score a perfect a shot on the enemy they just evaded.
In addition, the graphics in this game are pure and simply, disgustingly beautiful. They go the extra mile to capture the visceral detail of Raccoon City and underline just how badly the city has been crippled by the virus. Our big teddy bear, Nemesis, looks amazing and he is a much more frightening prospect than his 1999 counterpart.
We’ve come a long way since 1999…ain’t that right Nemmy? Yes Nemmy…stars.
Also, another area that usurps the original is the Hospital section of the game. Not only is the section much bigger this time around, but it still manages to capture the dark and claustrophobic atmosphere its corridors created back in 1999. Coupled with being chased by a Hunter Alpha and you’ll definitely feel like you need to change your underwear in this section of the game.
Overall the Resident Evil 3 remake is a fantastic game that I believe everyone should play at least once, but don’t go into it thinking that it will be a sixty hour epic because that’s simply not the case. You will find yourself completing it in between 4 to 6 hours on a first time, moderate playthrough. There a couple of key areas in which I believe Capcom did miss the mark, which is disappointing, but as a Resident Evil game standing on its own two feet, it is definitely still a brilliant game.
Maybe Capcom will release some DLC in the future, perhaps with some separate campaigns, adding in those missing areas and even the much loved mercenaries mode.
We live in hope anyway.