Developer: Capcom | Publisher: Capcom | Release Date: April 3, 2020 | Genre: Survival Horror | Reviewed On PS4 Pro
Review copy was purchased at retail by the reviewer
This was a long time coming. Resident Evil fans have been looking for updated versions of Resident Evil 2 & 3 for years now and Capcom has delivered. After the remarkable remake of Resident Evil 2, a remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis has finally hit the PS4 and it looks like Capcom has another winner on their hands.
Resident Evil 3 tells the story of former S.T.A.R.S. officer Jill Valentine as she attempts to escape from Raccoon City months after the events of the original RE. This is not simply a carbon copy of the PS1 original. The overall story is the same but almost every aspect of how you arrive at the conclusion has either been revamped or expanded upon. One example is the game’s opening. The original gave us a look at how Raccoon City has become overrun with zombies and how futile the effort to stop them was via a CG cutscene. This time we are treated to a live-action intro that shows how the T-virus pandemic is taking a toll on the city with civil unrest. It does a good job of setting things up and is especially eerie considering the pandemic facing our planet in real life right now. After the intro, the gameplay starts in Jill’s apartment which we only saw in the original RE3 in a still image during the intro. Jill is traumatized after taking on the undead in the mansion incident and is suffering from nightmares and taking a shitload of pills. That’s too bad because after a brief gameplay segment she is greeted by Nemesis, a creature that stalks her through the entire game.
The graphics have been given a major facelift courtesy of the RE Engine. It isn’t hard to make games from the original PlayStation look better but these visuals are some of the best seen this generation. Capcom surpassed the look that they created with RE2 with amazing facial animation (in cutscenes at least) and the zombies are just… gross. The entire city looks like it stinks with corpses lying in and walking the streets but it is also rendered beautifully with buildings bathed in a neon glow from the many storefronts and some of the most realistic lighting and shadows ever seen on a console.
Fans of the PS1 original will notice pretty quickly that this is pretty much an all-new experience. Many of the scenes that fans are used to have been heavily altered or removed entirely to deliver a fresh experience and not just rehash the same game with new visuals. This approach works perfectly but I do admit there were a couple of scenes that I wanted to see redone with these great new visualsbut they ended up being changed. What hasn’t changed is the core of the story. Jill is being hunted by Nemesis, a Tyrant sent by Umbrella to silence that surving members of the S.T.A.R.S. unit. She meets up with Carlos who is a member of an Umbrella mercenary force and the unlikely pair work together to survive. There are segments where you take control of Carlos. In these segments zombies are a little faster and attack you in greater numbers but Carlos can mow them down easily with his assault rilfe. These segments also mark your break from having to deal with Nemesis.
Resident Evil 3 still maintains its survival horror roots more than say Re5 and 6 but it is more action-oriented than what we got in RE1 and 2. This was the same on the PS1 as well. The focus is on escape (the original game was called Biohazard 3: Last Escape after all) and even though supply management and ammo conservation are key, you aren’t punished nearly as much for adopting a run and gun approach. This approach replaces the fear and tension of the previous game with more of an adrenaline rush. Being stalked by Nemesis in this game is nowhere near as scary as being hunted by Mr. X or Jack Baker (RE7). Nemesis doesn’t randomly pop up when you are trying to solve a puzzle or explore. He shows up at very specific points and you just have to outrun him which either just leads you to the next area or a boss fight against him. While this takes away from the tension you should probably experience, it does give you a chance to stock up on ammo and supplies to prepare yourself for each encounter.
Overall, Resident Evil 3 is everything I wanted in a remake of one of my favorite games. There isn’t a New Game+ per se but you can unlock items after finishing the game that can be used in subsequent playthroughs to make surviving much easier. My first run through took me 10 hours and it was 4 hours for my third so it is an adventure that can be run through in one sitting if you take the time to do so. While I am excited to see what Capcom has in store for us with Resident Evil 8, I have to admit that these remakes have me hungry for another. Resident Evil Code Veronica 2021 anyone?
Resident Evil 3 also shipped with a multiplayer component called Resident Evil Resistance. The campaign and multiplayer downloaded separately on PSN so the online mode will get its review after some more playtime.