We take a look at Capcom’s recently released action-game offering in our Resident Evil 3 Remake review. Ultimately is this worth a buy in its current state? Read the text or view the 4K video.
Capcom released Resident Evil 3 Remake to the masses but it comes with some caveats because fans of the original might feel a little short-changed. To begin, there are going to be two schools of thought with this game. There are those who enjoyed last year’s Resident Evil 2 Remake coming in as newcomers to the series enjoying the antics of Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield . Then there are those who sit as die-hard fans of the 1999 Resident Evil 3 Nemesis game with S.T.A.R.S member Jill Valentine and Umbrella operative Carlos Oliveira at the helm.
For newcomers to the series then, Capcom’s Resident Evil 3 remake offers more of the same as Resident Evil 2 Remake. The gameplay hook of shooting zombies (or avoiding them) and navigating the twists-and-turns of the rather linear environments is the same. The RE Engine shines though again providing a great rendition of fictitious American City Raccoon City and its inhabitants. Excellent character models and a movie-like assortment of action and tense scenes between gameplay fill-in-the-blanks. It’s not a complex story and doesn’t try and beef that up at all even when introducing darker characters into the mix.
That’s all well and good, expected even, but not the full-picture. Gamers across-the-board can probably breeze through this remake on the normal difficulty in around 3-to-5 hours without breaking much of a sweat, and even if dying several times in the process. As always, an easy option exists for those struggling, of which if you die too many times the game will ask if you want to lower the difficulty. Doing so will net you increased ammo more defence in the form of replenishing health and easier-to-kill enemies.
Resident Evil 3 Remake on the surface is a neat action-game that looks great and plays reasonably well. End of story then. Not quite. Sadly, Capcom have taken remake in another direction when compared to the original release of which gives rise to several complaints.
Whilst Resident Evil 2 remake actually felt like a horror experience, Resident Evil 3 tosses that idea out-the-window in favour of an all-out action game. A B-movie style approach to video gaming. From the offset, the gore is non-existent. Cast your mind back to the cop you meet early on in Resident Evil 2 Remake who is cut in half in great detail, or the jaw ripping of the dead police officer in the hallway. Those kind of visuals are absent here, completely. That’s a big negative for a series that’s uses the term ‘Survival Horror’. Enemies also exhibit less interactivity when shot making for a less-visceral experience overall. Perhaps one can live with these things as Capcom toned it down for whatever reason.
The next and perhaps most obvious complaint has to be levelled at the game length. Resident Evil 2 remake offered two character campaigns to play with. The original Resident Evil 3 Nemesis never offered this, but did provide moments where players made decisions which affected events further down-the-line. This cleverness is absent here. Players get one campaign that feels incredibly short in comparison with no deviations or alternate endings. What perhaps makes this worse aside from the reused assets from Resident Evil 2 Remake, is the amount of content from the original absent here. We won’t list them by name, but rest assured they are a no-show for some reason. Capcom has a right to remake the game as they see fit but removing entire areas and reusing assets from a previous game feels like a low-blow.
No Resident Evil 3 Remake review would be complete without talking about the main antagonist, the Nemesis character. Whilst the original game included his name in the title, (that’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis as a reminder) here its absence is rather telling. In the original game the Nemesis character stalked Jill throughout the game much like he does here, except the Tyrant in Resident Evil 2 Remake stalked the player much better. Instead of building on this mechanic, due to the linear level design the game doesn’t capitalise on something that would have been very cool indeed. The Nemesis encounters are mostly scripted affairs with little tension leaving a rather empty hole. Players merely evade and run away – perhaps toss a grenade to stun him and get an item. The Nemesis does crop up throughout the story but transmutes into something typical of the series and eventually runs along walls like a rabid oversized dog. We won’t even mention the omission of his trademark “STARRRS” sound-bite.
Looking at the visuals and on PC at least running max settings in 4K and with things like HDR enabled, the opening moments and later hospital location look fantastic. Great lighting and shadow effects make for a very immersive experience. Capcom could have really built on the opening chaos and put Jill in some tight predicaments. But sadly, it’s all over rather quickly and we’re back in the series tropes of a dank sewer section. The RE Engine does proves itself again though, with great character details and smooth operation. That’s one thing we cannot complain about. Audio is also pretty decent with great voice performances all-round.
In terms of length as already mentioned the campaign is rather short, offers no additional single-player modes and relies on completing challenges for points so you can unlock extras. Use said extras to play through again and again. Not that there’s really much replay value here. So what’s the post-campaign shtick then? For single players, nothing at all. Capcom offer a multiplayer 4-vs-1 Resident Evil Resistance mode to make up for it. It’s included in the package and not an optional separate entity. It’s an online affair where one player plays as the Mastermind who lays traps for the other four survivors trying to escape. It’s a neat idea on paper, but sadly steeped in poor design choices. Whilst solo players can practice, the absence of any AI companions and no progression in this mode makes it a dud. Most solo players will have very little mileage here. It doesn’t work offline and there is no story element, so if you don’t like playing with online matchmaking it’s a non-entity. It seems lazy, Capcom didn’t include a much needed set of AI companions here. It’s also pretty dull and nowhere near as inspiring as the Resident Evil Outbreak series it obviously tries to capture the flavour from. The inclusion of loot crate style unlocks just sours it even more.
We enjoyed the Resident Evil 2 Remake immensely. It was a breath of fresh air to an aged game bringing it into the modern age. When Resident Evil 3 Remake was announced to get the same treatment it was a time for excitement. However, the reality is we’re left with just an OK game that is somewhat uninspired and falls way short of its potential. As mentioned, for newcomers a neat action experience perhaps, but for some of the old-school, a real let down and a shame Capcom didn’t push for a grander more elaborate offering. The end result leaves what should have been a must have game into something totally non-essential at its full asking price.