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Resident Evil 3 Remake — the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

by | Jun 13, 2021

Resident Evil is one of those video game series that leaves no one indifferent, whether you like the genre or not. So, when in 2015 Capcom announced working on Resident Evil 2 Remake, the entire industry stopped to see what’s what.

If Resident Evil 2 Remake definitely is a catch, is RE3 Remake cut from the same cloth? Answer in this late review.

Context of the review

I’ll come clean right away: I hadn’t played the original PlayStation title called Resident Evil 3: Nemesis before I completed RE3 Remake. So, for me, Resident Evil 3 Remake felt like a discovery, from beginning to end.

This matters because Capcom ignored about ⅓ of the original game. Now, as I haven’t played the 1999 title, I wasn’t too bothered by it, even though RE3 Remake is insanely short – I’ll get back to this later in the review. On another note, I played the game on Xbox One X.

Back to Raccoon City!

Resident Evil 3 Remake takes us yet again to Raccoon City, after Umbrella Corporation’s T-Virus ravaged the city, resulting in a zombie apocalypse.

Though not really well explained at any point – the story begins one day before and one day after the events of Resident Evil 2 Remake.

 

Like in the original title, you’ll play Jill Valentine, a veteran police officer. Jill was part of the team sent to Spencer Manor in the first Resident Evil. You’ll also get to play Carlos Oliveira, a member of Umbrella’s special forces.

In RE3, Jill is caught up by her demons. She appears consumed by nightmares triggered by her escape from the terrible Manor, together with Chris Redfield.

A very strong start

Resident Evil 3 is a high-paced game. From the first minute to the last, you’ll have to actively fight for your survival.

The game opens as Jill is having a nightmare at home and sees herself become undead.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-Jill-Valentine-zombie

Soon after she wakes up and gathers her thoughts, she’s attacked by a colossal monster: Nemesis.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-codename-nemesis

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-nemesis

This is the beginning of a long cat and mouse play between the two around Raccoon city.

Chased by a scripted Nemesis

Nemesis is determined to eliminate Jill.

If you’ve played Resident Evil 2 Remake, you’ll notice similarities between Mister X and Nemesis. They are big, chase you, and are very persistent. The one difference is that Nemesis is a lot more aggressive. Too aggressive. What’s more, he uses weapons and only has scripted apparitions.

When you see him, there’s no alternative; you need to run until he disappears. I never really jumped out of fear throughout the game, but I did feel intense pressure when chased by Nemesis.

The reason for this is that Nemesis is way too powerful. He’s fast, and he’ll jump back to you if you outrun him. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
As a consequence, you will most likely get annoyed by how invincible he seems to be.
Mr. X was, in my opinion, a much better hunter than Nemesis. Except for those needed to advance the story, his apparitions weren’t scripted.

  • He was intense, but not too pushy.
  • And, most importantly, he wasn’t all-powerful, like Nemesis is.

Nemesis is so strong that you can’t even play with him. When he appears, you simply run in the other direction and never really see him other than during boss fights.

Aaaand … Action!

Just like the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was, this Remake is a lot more action-oriented. And it’s fun too!

But it comes with a price; RE3 Remake is not scary. Stressful, sure. Scary? Not really. This is something that I already had experienced in the last action-focused part of Resident Evil 4.

The game is more generous on bullets and gunpowder than RE2 Remake to leave more room for action. There are also many more enemies to defeat, which makes sense as you’ll be navigating the streets of Raccoon City, and not (only) enclosed spaces such as the Police Station or the sewers in RE2.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-ammo

A regular Resident Evil story

Let’s admit it; Resident Evil has never shined through its scenario. RE3 is no exception to the rule.

Now, the events of Resident Evil 3 flow well, and the game is entertaining, even though you can easily anticipate when something is about to happen to you or who will backstab you when given a chance.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-bad-guy

Does he look like a bad guy?

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-Carlos-oliveira

Carlos will support Jill throughout the game.

An interesting lore

As the game is relatively short to beat, I recommend taking the time to explore the surrounding lore.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-stories

You’ll find many notes that contribute to building up the story behind the dramatic zombie outbreak of Raccoon City.

A regular bestiary

Here again, no big surprise in Resident Evil 3 Remake. You’ll meet zombies, dogs, lickers, a couple of disgusting bugs, and…Nemesis.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-interaction-cutscenes

 

Raccoon City has never looked so good.

For evident reasons, the comparison with the Original is almost impossible.

Now, the RE engine doesn’t disappoint, and the game looks stunning.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-raccoon-city

Reflections, shadows, lighting effects, etc., the RE Engine does wonders.

While there’s no visual gap between RE2 and RE3 Remake, everything looks a tab better in the latter.

A note on the framerate on One X

At release, the Xbox One X displayed the game in 4K, but the frame rate was all over the place. Capcom then released a patch to limit the resolution to 1440p, fixing all framerate issues on Microsoft’s console and stabilizing the experience at 60 FPS.

If you play on a base PS4 or Vanilla Xbox One, you will have to cope with a framerate oscillating between 35 and 55 FPS.
On a PS4 Pro, 55 FPS seems to be the average.

Long story short, you’ll get a great experience, regardless of the console you play on, but it seems that the Xbox One Vanilla is the least performing machine./struggles a lot.

 

Gameplay: Similar to RE2R, with a little twist to favor action

Unsurprisingly, RE3 Remake feels a lot like RE2, with some modifications additions.

Knives don’t break & you can now dodge!

Your knife won’t break. The counterpart is that you cannot use it to escape enemies anymore. If they grab you, they’ll cause damage.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-zombie-grab

Additionally, you can now dodge enemies by pressing RB | R1. A perfect dodge will automatically slow time for a second and allow you to get rid of your attacker.

Exploit destructible items

The original RE3 already had destructible elements (red barrels), and so does the Remake.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-electric-shock

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-barrels

While it’s a lot of fun to explode (random) gas barrels (left in the middle of the street) to eliminate multiple enemies at once or electrocute them to immobilize them for a while, it’s also contributing to turning RE3 Remake into an action game, more than a survival-horror game.

(Almost) no enigmas

Don’t count on Resident Evil 3 Remake to give you a hard time when it comes to solving puzzles. There are none. Except for a couple of safes and for one machine requiring you to find three rubies to unlock items, enigmas and puzzles are absent from the game.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-lock-codes

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-puzzles-enigmas

One thing that bummed me out is that you’ll find many lockers that you can easily open with an indestructible lock pick.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-lock-pick

In RE2 Remake, the player needed to explore and find the right lock combination to open those. Given the absence of puzzles and enigmas in RE3, it would have been interesting to follow the same dynamic or, at the very least, turn lock picks into a wearable item that you need to find to open those locks.

Other than these three significant differences, the gameplay relies on the same mechanics as the previous Resident Evil game remake.

Save using Typewriters

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-typewritter

Use herbs and sprays to heal yourself

As per usual, you’ll have a chance to combine herbs to increase their effectiveness or create whole new effects.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-herb-mix

  • Green herbs: Use these to heal yourself and cure poison. You can also combine green herbs to increase the healing effect.
  • Red herbs: unusable on its own. When combined with a green herb, you’ll fully recover your health.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-poisoned

Traditionally, you’d use blue herbs to cure a poisonous state in a Resident Evil game. In RE3R, developers have decided to remove blue herbs and let green herbs cure poison. It’s not a big deal, as you will only cross paths with poisonous enemies during a short segment of the adventure.

Craft ammo with gunpowders

If Jill and Carlos will have a million problems during their stay in zombie-infected Raccoon City, falling short of bullets won’t be one — if you’re mindful of your ammunition, of course.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-gunpowder

Resident Evil 3 Remake is very generous when it comes to ammunition and gunpowders. For reminders, you can combine gunpowders to craft various types of ammo.

Manage your inventory carefully

Just like before, you will need to be mindful of your inventory to move forward in the game. One reason for this is that quest, and puzzle-related items will occupy space in your inventory.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-item-box

If you’ll be able to increase your inventory capacity with pouches throughout the game, you’ll also need to rely on interconnected item boxes to store what you don’t need.

Interestingly enough, Capcom made it easier for you to manage your inventory in RE3R. In RE2R, some large items and weapons (such as your shotgun) would occupy up to 2 slots in your inventory. In this remake, each item only takes one spot, regardless of its size.

Rely on your map to loot

If you’re a fan of the series, you know how important the map is. It will tell you whether you have collected all items in the explored areas.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-map

Cyan/blue means that you’re done exploring, and red means you still have items to find.

Is Resident Evil 3 Remake Difficult?

Not really. I have played the game in the Normal mode and faced an acceptable challenge, even though I have to admit that I got tired of Nemesis being so freaking resistant.

On another note, I found that zombies were a bit more aggressive in this RE3 Remake, compared to RE2, that is. But then again, this works pretty well as you’ll often carry a lot of bullets and will be able to dodge attacks.

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-gore-blood

Now, like in RE2R, you won’t risk falling short of ammo if you scout and don’t shoot aimlessly. What’s more, you’ll be able to find safes and typewriters in every other room.

 

5 to 6 hours to beat (if you take your time)

The game is short, and it doesn’t shy away from it. There’s even a trophy/achievement to unlock when finishing the game in under 2 hours of playtime 2 hours!

This matters because the game’s RRP was around $59.99. For obvious reasons, both the press and gamers around the globe have been very critical of this. In many ways, Resident Evil 3 Remake looks like a solid DLC for RE2.

In fact, Capcom decided to advertise RE3 on RE2’s home screen, thus making it look like a simple DLC.

Resident-Evil-2-remake-Resident-Evil-3-DLC

Now, knowing how short the title was, I really took my time to clear all areas, and I managed to beat the game in 6 hours. This can be explained by the fact that key locations from the original title have been removed from the game.

Cut locations

To make the game more credible and keep the action going, Capcom decided to remove a couple of locations from the Remake. For instance, the Press Office, Raccoon City Park, City Hall, Graveyard, and Dead Factory are altogether cut from the game.

Truth be told, I wasn’t bothered by how short the game was, but that’s only because I found it new for under $20. Had I paid full price for it, you’d read a whole different story here.

Extras to keep the fun going

To counterbalance a short game, Capcom added a couple of extras to this Remake.

New game plus

Once you complete the game a first time, you’ll unlock a store in which you can purchase weapons and other bonuses to experience the game differently.
To purchase items and weapons from the store, you’ll need points that you accumulate while playing the game and complete challenges such as:

  • Killing X zombies with a specific weapon,
  • Completing the game in under 2 hours
  • Destroying Charlie Doll bubbleheads

Resident-Evil-3-Remake-charlie-doll-bobblehead

 

Resident Evil Resistance: a multiplayer mode to forget

Capcom sure is trying hard to find the right formula to offer a multiplayer experience that will please the fans.

resident-evil-3-remake-resident-evil-resistance

Well, Resistance ain’t it.
In this multiplayer mode, you’re either a survivor that’s trapped in a warehouse and needs to find a way out, or the Mastermind, and try to make sure that no one survives your traps.

There are two problems with Resistance:

  • The mode isn’t well balanced, and the mastermind is all-powerful.
  • It’s hard to find players (clue: this is not why gamers buy Resident Evil game, Capcom).

Now, I haven’t spent too much time on Resistance, and maybe giving it more attention would have helped to change my mind — but I just don’t think it’s worth it.

 

Verdict: good buy, or goodbye?

Resident Evil 3 Remake is a good game, but it’s not a memorable Resident Evil.

You won’t get bored; it’s well-balanced and fast-paced. However, the game left, in my opinion, too much room for action and not enough for horror. What’s more, it feels more like a DLC of Resident Evil 2 Remake than a complete game.

To conclude, this Resident Evil 3 Remake is a good catch if you can find it for under $20. Anything above that price is, in my opinion, not worth it.

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