I have never played a Resident Evil game start to finish. I started Resident Evil 4 and Biohazard, but never got around to finishing them. So there goes my first theme of comparing the game to its original. The closest I have come to Resident Evil is by watching those Resident Evil movies starring Milla Jovovich. So imagine my surprise when I got to know there is no Alice in any of the main Resident Evil games. Bummer. There goes my next theme of how the game and the movies portray the same character. I guess, the only way I can judge Resident Evil 3 Remake is on its own merit. Not on how true the game has stayed to the original, or how much nostalgia it evokes. But how good a game Resident Evil 3 Remake really is? Let’s find out.
Graphics Sound & Performance
First thing we all look at in Remasters is, how does the visual upgrade look? And the short answer is: IT LOOKS GORGEOUS.
The Long answer is that the REengine that Capcom has been using for its latest slew of games is top notch. Especially the lighting effect. RTX might not be ON on my PS4 pro, but I stopped multiple times in the first hour of my game to appreciate the lighting effect in the game. I mean just look at them.
Now I might not have played the original Resident Evil games, but I do know how they looked like. The fresh coat of paint that Racoon City has had is definitely worth another look. Jill looks different too, with a snazzy new hair cut and a more practical choice of apparel. Carlos looks like that Tekken Fighter whose name I can’t pronounce and Nemesis, well he looks like Protoype and a Dinosaur had a child, who had molten wax poured onto him. All these are good things I promise.
Resident Evil 3 Remake doesn’t need pre-rendered backgrounds to look this good, hence it also lets go of the static cameras. Which means that you play most of the game in 3rd person over the shoulder view. That doesn’t mean that the game doesn’t have the aspect of impending danger diminished in any way. The game makes use of the afore mentioned light to show silhouttes waiting around the corner; an taped window broken in, signifying the corridor has been breached; bodies falling off from higher floors signaling danger ahead; and of course those creepy gurgles that surround you at every corner, and always feel that they are on the other side of the door. The fact that the original Resident Evil 3 was able to muster the same amount of creepiness and foreboding without having the technological advances of 2020 is commendable, but the Remake makes sure to use all its tools to its advantage.
Gameplay & Mechanics
And it not always slow impending doom. Resident Evil 3 Remake also relies heavily on jump scares to wake you up from time to time. After the 3rd time a dead body rose up to eat me while I was casually walking over it, I made it a point to shot any bodies I encountered, ammo be damned. Even after that I was startled multiple times during my first playthrough, and 2 of them was when my wife walked in while I was playing the game. With mutated bugs crawling all over the walls of an abandoned Power grid, Huge giganturan Mutated Toads chasing you through Sewers and those Hunter Bipeds just jumping down on you from wherever they damn well please, Resident Evil 3 Remakes riles you up. It’s still crazy how those simple slow zombie suckers get the jump on you.
Luckily, it not just running and panting and QTEs. Resident Evil 3 Remake relies heavily on horror element, but its root are set as a third person shooter. In fact, Resident Evil 3 Remake gives you enough ammo and tools to tackle all the challenges it throws at you. IF you can remain CALM and carry on. If you are thorough, you get enough ammo, health items, weapon upgrade and even new powerful weapons to take down whatever the game decides to throw at you. And the difficulty scales up well too, so until you have unlocked the assault rifle you would not encounter more than a couple of zombies in any given room, and most larger enemies never attack you in a group of 3 or more. It keeps the fight fair and lets you experiment with your hand guns, rifles, shotgun, grenade launcher and even knives.
The game lets you run, dodge, pause and use health items in the middle of a fight, and makes you feel you are in control. There is a section, where you need to protect a room against a horde of zombies, another where you have to run away from the ever present Nemesis, and yet there are others where you have to solve simple puzzles to unlock safes. What I am trying to say that is the game doesn’t tie itself down with just one mechanic. Managing items in your inventory is a challenge, as discarding an item means you loose the item for ever, however the item box at each save point has no limit, so it asks you to manage that aspect without being outright punishing. Exploration is a key part too, if you are trying to get the best out of a run and have the best chance at surviving, but exploration comes at the cost of putting yourself in un-necessary danger. It’s not too risky, just enough to make you consider it. Hallmark of a great game.
There is not a lot of random in Resident Evil 3 Remake, and coupled with its rather short gametime and its multiple difficulty settings, it sets up the stage for multiple playthroughs and speed runs. There are trophies too, for completing the game in under 2 hours, and for a few self imposed rules like never opening the item box, not using a health item and so on. For people who would like their first playthrough (which I imagine will be a lot of), the challenge of entering the city of Racoon for a second, third or even fourth time won’t be something too far fetched. I completed my first play-through on Assisted with a C rank, but I see people doing S on the highest difficulty setting just because it seems possible.
Story & Narrative
Of course the part which gets hurt the most as far as replaybility is concerned in a linear game, is the story. It remains the same everytime, only the time it takes to reach each cutscene increases or decreases depending on what you are going for. The game choronologically is set in before, during and after the event of Resident Evil 2. But you wouldn’t know it because the game never tells you that. Also the nemesis that keeps following you around, its the Tyrant from the 2nd game (not the same one but like one) beefed up on some parasite, but you wouldn’t know that because the game barely makes a passing reference about it.
While as a game Resident Evil 3 Remake stands as an individual entry of its own, narratively it depends highly of your existing knowledge of what has already happened. You should know what the Umbrella Corporation is, you should know what S.T.A.R.S is, you should know who that guy that Jill meets for a second at a gun store is. All of that could have been fixed by adding a compendium, some background entries that a player can go through without having to refer to Wikipedia, and trying to find out whether Jill becomes Alice at some point. But I guess after 25 years of franchise history, there aren’t a lot of people who don’t know what’s Resident Evil. Just remember Umbrella Corporation, BAD. Girl With A Gun, GOOD.
Resident Evil 3 Remake does not need the comparisons with the original. It’s a great game in its own right. Old fashioned but modern looking, fair but challenging, Resident Evil 3 Remake has all the ingredients. I cant tell you if it will give you the nostalgia high you are looking for, but it’s a great game to try out and play through over this weekend, and any other weekend when the mood hits you.