In 2019, Capcom gave us quite simply one of the very best games of the year in the Resident Evil 2 Remake. It gave us a fresh new take on an absolute classic and putting together everything that’s great about the franchise into this one game. It was familiar, but so refreshing at the same time, and a game I feel is superior to the original.
But barely even a year later, they’ve already released a remake for Resident Evil 3. This concerned me at first, how could that have been enough time to recreate another game with as much love and care that they put into the RE2 remake? Well, read on to find out what they did with the game, and my thoughts on the overall experience.
A Faithful Remake?
The Resident Evil 3 remake is still set in Raccoon City and you’ll still visit many of the locations in the original. That being said, there’s also a lot of places and events that are actually taken out of the game. Remember the cemetery and awesome battle against the giant worm there? Gone. Remember the Clock Tower and all of its fun puzzles? Also gone.
It’s not even just locations that were stripped, but the decision-making feature and the Mercenaries mode you unlock post-game are just some more examples of these features not included. To be fair, a multiplayer addition “Resident Evil: Resistance” was included with the game, but I’m certain most fans didn’t exactly ask for this or want it (myself included).
As far as I can remember, the RE2 Remake contained almost everything in the original, and added more. For this RE3 remake, it was more of a case of taking AWAY from the original. This really baffled me, and I wondered had they spent more time on the game, that they could’ve included everything we loved about the original.
I will praise the game on a more open Raccoon City that you get to explore early on. Being outside, there were certainly a lot more zombie to contend with, and being able to avoid them easier and run made for more tense moments than just shooting everything down. Also because of the more open area, it made the zombie locations more unpredictable, as I had be careful every time I was back out on the streets to explore.
I feel like I need a whole section just for Nemesis because, let’s be honest, he was the star of the show. Nemesis in this game is what Mr. X was to the RE2 remake. At least early on he is. Not too far into the game, you’ll be running from Nemesis much like Mr. X, but you have a bit more to contend with here. Nemesis is faster and has more tricks up his sleeve. Simply running away won’t cut it. He has weapons firing at you, can trip you up with his tentacle whip, and can even jump over and in front of you, blocking you off and forcing you to rethink your actions. Jill’s new evade actually made the action more fun and I hope future Resident Evil games have this feature.
While this all sounds awesome, I don’t think Nemesis had quite the impact that Mr. X had. When you were in the police station, hearing those clanging footsteps getting louder would incite fear in anyone. Plus being in a more closed off area meant you had very little room to manoeuvre, which increased the fear factor even more. I never quite felt this fear with Nemesis. There were jump scares of course, but that terror that this franchise is known for wasn’t there for me.
Plus Nemesis only really chases you a small handful of times and only in particular areas. One time he was chasing me and I ran into a shop to get away, and instead of chasing me in, I could see him just standing still and staring at me through the window. It was more creepy than anything, but was out of character for Nemesis, where normally he should be bursting through walls and doors. Apart from that, you’ll only ever be pestered by Nemesis during scripted chase scenes and boss fights afterwards, which again goes against what I thought he was there for.
Admittedly these chase scenes and boss fights were a highlight of the game for me. They were action-packed and thrilling. I loved how the boss fights were more than just a bullet-sponge fest (for the most part). You had to take different actions with each fight and were some of the more memorable moments. Nemesis’ design throughout the game, and his animations, were really done well and the developers put quite the effort into it.
Where’s The Puzzles?
Alright this was the biggest issue in this whole remake. With every great Resident Evil, you explore the map in search of ways to access more areas, solve puzzles, and eventually progress. This is usually the best part about the franchise for me. That progression you go through in terms of backtracking, accessing previously locked areas, etc. is what makes it addictive and satisfying.
Unfortunately there was hardly any of that here. For example, the first major puzzle that involves you collecting 3 gems to insert in a statue is OPTIONAL. There is still some backtracking to unlock doors using your lockpick and wire cutters, but it’s hardly a puzzle. It seemed like the vast majority of items you pick up is ammo and gunpowder, to create more ammo.
As I progressed further into the game, the more frustrated I grew with this realisation. It really showed a lot of laziness on the developers part, but maybe it was because of the lack of time they seemingly spent on the game. If they had spent maybe another year, this could have been a more fully-fleshed out game like the RE2 remake was. I will admit things do marginally improve by the time you reach the hospital, and the final two areas almost try to right the wrongs of the majority of the game, but it felt too little too late by that stage.
Resident Evil 3 Remake Review Summary
So my initial concerns about the Resident Evil 3 Remake development time came to fruition. The game was clearly rushed in some regards, and that resulted in some lazy game design. There’s a lot missing from the original game, and there’s a lot of puzzles missing too, making this game feel a little incomplete.
On the plus side, most of Nemesis’ appearances and boss fights were thrilling encounters, and I looked forward to each one rather than being put off them. The game also improves in roughly the last third because it was then I felt myself really getting into it, but if only that had happened from the beginning.
When I finished the RE2 remake, I was compelled to come back and play through it again and again. I’ve finished the game six times (and counting), but with this RE3 remake, I just don’t have the same desire to replay it.
I genuinely wish more time was spent on the game, and then we could have had a remake that is superior to the original. I know I’ve been pretty harsh throughout this review, but that’s only because of the high bar set by the RE2 remake.