Resident Evil 3 Remake Review: Exhilarating but over too soon

Resident Evil 3 Remake

Upon finishing my first playthrough of the Resident Evil 3 Remake, I was left wanting more.

Having slogged through the streets of Racoon City, fighting off terrors worse than just the undead, I couldn’t help but feel that there was something hollow about my victory. My arrival at the game’s climax felt abrupt at the end of what was a thrilling but ultimately truncated experience.

Capcom’s reimagining of their 1999 original manages to mold a more cohesive narrative, at the expense of density. The game nimbly navigates the unique minefield that comes with the Resident Evil series. It establishes the stakes with an unsettling opening sequence, teeming with tension while transitioning smoothly between horror and action, first and third person. Though the first-person section doesn’t last, it symbolizes the balance the game finds between being faithful, whilst embracing the new.

The game finds the most success here with protagonist Jill Valentine. She’s resourceful, relatable, and resilient in the face of the undead threat. In an early exchange with Nemesis, she leads the monstrosity away from Carlos and the survivors he’s been rounding up, recognizing that it is only out to get her.

She is relentlessly pursued throughout the game by Umbrella’s creations, and her mettle is constantly called into question by Umbrella stooge Nikolai. Yet her selflessness and will to survive never compromise one another, demonstrating why Jill is held in the highest regard as a member of S.T.A.R.S. and in the pantheon of video game protagonists.

Jill’s initial reluctance to rely upon Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (UBCS) soldier, Carlos Olivera, is less to do with his personality and more his employer. Their developing camaraderie feels natural without the stilted, on-the-nose dialogue that Carlos was previously famed for. His portion of the plot helps to flesh his character out and includes some moments of levity, particularly when he enters the Racoon City Police Station. Be sure to listen closely for some astute observations on the extravagant nature of the station.

Speaking of the station, the trailers hinted at some cameos from familiar faces. Whilst some are effective, most left me disappointed. Having said that, some of the attachment we have towards these characters was established in the PS1 classic. You may need to reconcile which finer details are more important to you than others before playing Resident Evil 3 Remake in order to come away completely satisfied.

I felt most of these encounters lacked substance. One returning character’s arc felt particularly anti-climactic, although it lends weight to a plot thread from Resident Evil 2 Remake. Indeed, there are plenty of hints at connections between this remake and the last. There are even nods to what Capcom might have in mind next, as you uncover references to Nemesis’ origins.

“You want S.T.A.R.S. I’ll give you S.T.A.R.S.!”

In my preview, I wrote about how Nemesis had me physically sweating upon his appearance. The monstrosity is every bit as menacing in the full game – at least, in the beginning. As you roam around the desolate streets of Racoon City, it truly feels like the monster is stalking you. He symbolizes the setting he hunts you in: volatile and imposing. He hurls the undead aside to get to you and lashes you with tentacles If that’s not enough, he also wields a couple of devastating weapons.

Sadly, Nemesis loses much of his threat as he evolves. The feeling of spontaneity subsides, becoming more akin to an on-the-rails theme park scare than something autonomous. Regardless, battles with the hulking horror are thrilling set pieces that help punctuate the story.

This owes much to the finely tuned combat. Missing a shot, failing to reload, and mistiming a dodge can turn the tables. Although the game provides enough ammo, unpredictable enemies often lead you to bite off more than you can chew.

Resident Evil Resistance

Perhaps then, the game’s multiplayer component Resident Evil Resistance will satiate the hunger for more. The online portion of the game is an absolute blast. It pits four players on the ground up against a centralized player antagonist who controls spawn points for enemies, cameras, and even a bio-weapon, such as Mr. X or the Tyrant.

So far, I’ve only managed to play with teams of random players, but that hasn’t hampered my experience. The unique character abilities add some variety to each challenge and require some strategic thought. Trying to brute force your way through each level will result in a quick defeat, although it’s possible I came up against good enemies. However, getting a group of friends together to play it will only improve your experience. There’s also the ‘Nightmare’ mode, which ramps up the difficulty, changes enemy movement speed and positions, granting some variety to the story.

Having taken just over six hours to complete the game, it perhaps doesn’t represent true value for money as a full-priced AAA game. Whilst the ‘Nightmare’ mode and multiplayer component offer some replay-ability, it remains a little underwhelming.

I would have liked more character moments, more room for relationships to breathe and for side characters to grow. Nikolai’s villainy has all the subtlety of Nemesis smashing your face off a wall. But, that’s part of the Resident Evil 3 Remake‘s charm. It walks a tightrope between campy B-movie horror and one of the contemporary horror genre’s premier franchises.

Conclusion

Overall, the time I spent with the game was exhilarating. Its breathless charge towards the dénouement has horror and action aplenty, bringing out the absolute best in Jill. She thrives under pressure. And in Carlos, she finds a capable partner. It’s a successful reimagining of a once cartoonish character. Nemesis is a worthy adversary, even if the dread does dissipate towards the end. If the dead win the battle of Racoon City, the war against Umbrella is in safe hands and so, too, is the future of the Resident Evil franchise.

This is a must-buy for Resident Evil fans – a great game, but a short game. The online component adds some value and it’s ideal if you’re a fan of speedrunning. If you’re new to the series, it might be better to wait for a sale and try out the Resident Evil 2 Remake first.


Recommendation | Although it's a great game, it's short. Hardcore fans might be able to justify a day-one buy. Everyone else should wait for a sale.


Final Score | 4 out of 5


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  • Reviewed On:

    PS4
  • Also On:

    PC, Xbox One
  • Publisher:

    Capcom
  • Developer:

    Capcom
  • Genre:

    Survival-horror
  • ESRB Rating:

    M
  • Release Date:

    April 3, 2020
  • MSRP:

    $59.99


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