In the vein of 2019’s excellent reimagining Resident Evil 2 is the Resident Evil 3 Remake or Resident Evil 3 as Capcom has officially titled it. Much like that game, there are souped up visuals courtesy of the RE Engine, changes to key events versus the 1999 original, and of course, some slick gameplay additions. The Resident Evil 2 Remake was one of our favourite games of last year and we’re happy to report that 2020’s Resident Evil 3 surpasses last year’s game in almost every way.
Resident Evil 3 Remake has you in the role of Jill Valentine, one of the protagonists of the first Resident Evil game and a former member of a now disbanded elite unit within the Raccoon City Police Department known as STARS (Special Tactics And Rescue Service).
Set in Raccoon City, an ongoing pandemic manufactured by the sinister Umbrella Corporation causes most of its population to mutate into zombies. Furthermore, a hulking monster known as Nemesis is unleashed to eliminate surviving STARS operatives. Against all odds, Jill must find a way to escape Raccoon City.
Despite the number in its title, its characters and their backgrounds, you don’t need to have played the first Resident Evil game or even Resident Evil 2 to understand what’s going on in Resident Evil 3 Remake.
To Capcom’s credit, it sets the tone fantastically with one of the best openings in video games this generation. Without spoiling much, Resident Evil 3 Remake’s initial moments hook you in, ensnaring you to see it through to the very end.
This is further accentuated by a relentless pacing. Resident Evil 3 Remake pulls no punches, moving you from one gorgeous locale to another. There’s never a dull moment with new puzzles to solve, fresh enemies to face off against, and of course different ways to tackle Jill’s undead stalker, Nemesis.
Granted the sense of variety is immense, but the lynchpin of Resident Evil 3 Remake’s gameplay is Jill’s dodge. Tapping R1 on PS4 or the right bumper on Xbox One while moving lets you evade potentially death-dealing attack. Timing it right allows you to execute a perfect dodge. This results in the screen flashing white and it gives you more time to react to your foes by going in for the jugular with a knife attack, riddling them with lead, or simply letting you flee to the next point of interest.
It’s this combination of Resident Evil 3 Remake’s near perfect pacing and the dodge move that makes it a treat to play. Throw in satisfying shooting and smooth animations, and you have a superlative moment to moment experience that few games can match.
Gameplay aside, there have been some welcome changes to Resident Evil 3 Remake’s characters. Jill toes the line between benevolence and bad ass with aplomb while the supporting cast of mercenaries from Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (UBCS) that you encounter complement Jill splendidly.
From likeable rogue Carlos to the crotchety Mikhail, they’re an interesting bunch each with their own motives for being in Raccoon City. They’re all expertly voiced, injecting a sense of genuinity and relatability to the proceedings.
The music in Resident Evil 3 Remake deserves a special mention. There are some memorable tracks such as the theme you hear when you enter the subway as well as the score that plays when you’re chased by Nemesis. It suits the breakneck speed of the game’s events and in some places, surpasses it.
With so much going for it, Resident Evil 3 Remake is a superb reimagining of one of the franchise’s best efforts. That said it isn’t without its faults. One encounter in specific has you against its buffet of beasts in a small area, making it tough to manoeuvre or improvise. It’s a rare annoyance that resulted in a bit of trial and error to make it through. Also, certain scenes that demand you to press the left analogue stick down have prompts that suggest you have to push it forward. These are minor gripes that did not impact our overall impression of the game but are important enough to bring up.
In addition to this, Resident Evil 3 Remake’s gameplay length is far from long. It took us around seven hours to clear the game the first time around on its standard difficulty. However, we were more than pumped to give it a go again.
This is because of the host of weapons and modifiers you can unlock after the first playthrough by completing challenges (such as killing enemies with specific weapons) changes up the gameplay significantly. Be it a knife that leaves zombies in flames or guns with infinite ammo, there’s enough of a reason for multiple playthroughs to see everything the game has to offer.
As for performance, Resident Evil 3 Remake runs well on the PS4 Pro and PC though our initial impressions of the game on Xbox One X suggest that Microsoft’s black box falls behind in terms of frame rate akin to analysis of Resident Evil 3 Remake demo. Hopefully this changes at launch with an update. Our time with the PS4 Pro version was marred by an obscene amount of fan noise akin to a jet engine. Though opening up our console and cleaning up the accumulated dust on the fan resulted in a much quieter time.
All in all, Resident Evil 3 Remake is an incredible reimagining of the 1999 original. The stellar pacing, memorable characters, and monster aplenty combine with sublime gameplay make this well worth playing and makes us optimistic of what to expect from Capcom’s next reimagining from the series.