Much like it’s predecessor Resident Evil 3 Remake pales in comparison to the previous entry in the series however, being over a year now since the release it has shown itself to be one of the more polished releases of last year. Is it a bad game? No. Could it have done with more T.L.C and content. Absolutely.
Following Jill Valentine’s escape through Raccoon City, Resident Evil 3 sees you being incessantly chased by the new Umbrella Bioweapon: Nemesis. The unfortunate issue with this is while he is an incredibly imposing and terrifying figure he gradually becomes less of a threat and comes across as more of a nuisance – existing only to impede and force narrative along through set points and chase scenes. A scripted encounter more than a procedural shadow.
Trading the horror and enclosed spaces for a more action-oriented style of gameplay Resident Evil 3 has a break-neck completion time even when exploring Raccoon City in its entirety. It can be completed in a such a short amount of time that while many can argue it lends itself to re-playability and caters to the cult following of speed runners in the fandom, I can’t help but think that the lack of content from the 1999 original is down to the divided attention of this and the multiplayer disaster RE:sistance that none of the fans wanted or even asked for. A year on and there hasn’t been much coverage or news that paints the multiplayer spin off in a positive light.
The lack of content in this game is really what lets it down especially in the eyes of Resident Evil veterans like myself who notice how many locations have been cut from the original. Early on you will be introduced to an insectoid like bioweapon that introduces a new mechanic where you are forcibly incubating an egg inside your body – Face Hugger style and must use green herbs to eradicate. This mechanic is used once and never seen again even though I was expecting it to.
Graphically speaking Resident Evil 2 and the RE engine provided the blueprints for a remarkably grotesque visual style and Resident Evil 3 delivers in all but one place… “Wet Gore”. Remember that early trailer for Resident Evil 2 showing the half-eaten jaw-broken police officer in the R.P.D. hallway?. Gore has been curiously toned down in the third instalment. Where once bullets [especially the shotgun] would leave zombies spilling blood and guts, exposing skeleton and grey matter. It’s simply not in the third and I think subconsciously deflates the experience of taking down any of the zombies knowing what we had previously in Resident Evil 2. With the incredible amount of detail in the environment, the downgrade is puzzling. Which leads to the next topic.
Don’t expect much in the way of puzzles, it’s 9 times out of 10 a full pelt action experience. With the exception of early raccoon city and the hospital, the latter expect to throw yourself out of the upper floor window and re-climb the stairs multiple times to reach keycards and new items – it felt like an incredibly lazy way to draw out an otherwise [once again] short trip to a tried-and-true trope location in the series.
Voice acting or more accurately dialogue is oftentimes disappointing. Resident Evil has always been more of a B-movie style experience with the questionable voice acting and one liners. However, as the games rose in popularity and budget it has evolved into a Hollywood style story. Which is why I found Jill’s character to be underwhelming from the get go. In many ways she feels and acts a lot younger than Claire Redfield who is 4 years her junior.
Her damaged survivor psyche is touched upon in the opening scenes of the game through hallucinations and the cocktail of medications in her apartment, however as soon as the action starts she regresses into every angry teenage bully projecting their insecurities onto others - hurling these poor one liners that are meant to sound cool and highlight the killing blow. Nemesis in particular feels like a heavy-handed metaphor for every dogged male in pursuit of a woman they’ll never have to the point where Jill feels the need to say “Next time, take the f?????? hint”. In many places it fits when met with the misogynistic undertones from the male characters but too often comes across as immature which contradicts the strong, grizzled-but-composed female lead I love.
All this in my mind I don’t think it’s a bad game, the gameplay is satisfyingly fluid and the story still flows with an engaging and cohesive beginning, middle and end. It even adds the new dodge and counter mechanic which makes every encounter an opportunity to playfully finesse. Resident Evil 3 has all the components that make the series the huge success it is but personally I think it was simply too difficult to live up to the resounding success of the Resident Evil 2 remake with only one year between them.