Remaking a beloved classic is risky business. Developers must take great care and consideration to do justice to the source material alongside adding new features and mechanics to bring the gameplay into the modern age. I’m no expert, but I bet it’s a lot more difficult than creating a new IP as fans of the original can be tough nuts to crack. Fail, and the plethora of fans will be beating down the door with pickets and pitchforks. Well, Capcom have revisited a PlayStation One classic once again by taking us back to the zombie-littered streets of Raccoon City in Resident Evil 3, which was a no-brainer after the huge success of the remake of Resident Evil 2.
This time, we are Jill Valentine, canon-wise, last seen in the original Resident Evil during what is now known as the “Spencer Mansion Incident”; Jill is now trapped in the destroyed city streets of Raccoon City trying to find a vaccine for this brutal virus that is turning people into grotesque monsters. The main star of the show this time isn’t the protagonist though, it’s a hulking, giant beast called Nemesis, which is trying to hunt you down. At least it was in the original game since Nemesis popped up at random, and it’s this uncertainty of when this big guy will show up that made the original game so tense. In this remake, however, that has changed, to my disappointment. Nemesis has been relegated to a scripted boss stereotype, showing up only at specific points in the game. Earlier on, he shows up and chases Jill on the city streets, which are certainly the best parts of the entire campaign.
Nemesis is a terrifying opponent that is as nimble as he is frightening. Like Mr. X in Resident Evil 2, Nemesis storms towards Jill delivering devastating haymakers that can end Jill in a few hits. He also has a ranged whip technique using a tentacle that extends from his arm. This thing can also grab Jill and pull her towards him. Shooting Nemesis with bullets does nothing to him, so earlier on it’s best to run away. He’s not easy to lose though as Nemesis can leap forward in front of Jill regardless of her distance from him. Unlike Mr. X though, Nemesis can use weapons, and not just any weapons, BIG weapons. Throughout the game, Nemesis wields bazookas and flamethrowers to give Jill a tough time, which makes for some exciting set pieces.
If you’ve played the Resident Evil 2 remake, you’ll be instantly familiar with controlling Jill as it’s identical to controlling Leon and Claire. The only difference is Jill is slightly more agile thanks to a dodge manoeuvre that allows her to narrowly escape attacks from enemies. When timed right, the screen momentarily blurs. Aiming at this moment slows things down to allow Jill to get in some precise headshots.
Halfway through the very short 6-hour story, the game shifts from an open top experience that allows you to explore the streets and the shops and rooftops of the city to a more closed in experience in sewer tunnels and hospital corridors. Don’t get me wrong, Resident Evil 3’s campaign is very short, but it certainly makes its mark filling that short time with tense exploration, brutal combat and exciting set pieces. I can count on one hand how many different types of enemies you’ll encounter in Resident Evil 3, and the bosses are just Nemesis’ different forms.
Another disappointment is the removal of puzzles, and they’ve been replaced with a few fetch quests as Capcom have focused purely on combat here. But still, I digress, Resident Evil 3 is a fantastic experience while it lasts, I just wish it wasn’t over so soon. At certain points you’ll also control Carlos, a frizzy-haired member of the Delta Platoon tasked with fighting this biological weapon threat. Carlos is flirty with Jill throughout, and it becomes clear he has a soft spot for her. He controls similarly to Jill but is armed with an assault rifle, so he can dispatch the undead with ease. He also has a dodge ability, but instead of being able to slow things down, Carlos delivers a hefty punch. Carlos’ segments feel recycled, however, as the first time you control him, you’ll be exploring a heavily reduced version of the police station from Resident Evil 2, but it’s a nice change of pace from playing as Jill.
So, the campaign is over, Nemesis is finally gone and then we are left wondering what to do next. Well, there is nothing else left to do. Unlike Resident Evil 2, which had a second trip through the campaign from another perspective and even more modes after that, Resident Evil 3 doesn’t have anything of the sort. A shop unlocks to purchase costumes and enhancements to persuade more playthroughs of the campaign, but other than that, there is nothing else to do.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 3rd April 2020