Date Posted 28/3/2021
The second remake in the Resident Evil series, Resident Evil 3 Remake was released in 2020 using the same RE Engine used to create Resident Evil 2 Remake and of course the excellent Resident Evil VII. Similarly to RE2 I knew nothing about this game as I had not played the original, however, unlike both Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil VII I made a point of not watching any videos (with the acceptation of the demo) so nothing was going to be spoiled for me.
I know that there are those who are questioning what these two remakes are going to mean for the future of games. Will Rockstar remake Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas using the graphical capabilities of GTA 5 or Red Dead Redemption using Red Dead Redemption 2 as the template?? Could the Dead Space games be remade?? Or would Capcom remake Dino Crisis or Devil May Cry at some point?? The list could go on and on because if remakes become an acceptable norm what is to prevent game companies just remaking older games and rereleasing them?? Personally I am not overly concerned with this because the truth is if Rockstar did remake GTA: San Andreas I would be all over it as San Andreas was the best GTA game ever made and I would welcome going back to it. It is also obvious by the fact that I did not play Resident Evil 2 and RE3 the first time around but I did want to play the remakes show that these older games can attract new fans so why wouldn’t companies follow Capcom’s example??
I have wandered from the point a smidge so let’s bring things back to Resident Evil 3 Remake, and allow me to explain what is happening...
You play as Jill Valentine (one of the survivors of the Mansion Incident seen in Resident Evil which I still have not played) and a former member of S.T.A.R.S (that’s Special Tactics And Rescue Service). It has been a few months since the events of the first game and Jill has been suspended as no one believes her (or her surviving team mates) regarding what happened at the Mansion. She is intending to leave town, and has been in virtual house arrest. She gets a phone call from a former team mate warning her to get out of the house, before she can do anything though a massive humanoid creature smashes its way through the wall of her apartment. Jill manages to escape but the creature pursues her through the apartment building until she is able to elude it.
Outside she meets with Brad (the one who called to warn her about the creature and a fellow survivor of the Mansion Incident) and learns that Racoon City has been overrun with zombies. The T-Virus she encountered in the Mansion has somehow escaped into the general population and has turned thousands of men and women into flesh eating monsters.
Brad is bitten and she is forced to leave him behind as the creature reappears and once again tries to kill her. Jill is saved by the timely intervention of a member of [the] Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (U.B.C.S) named Carlos. He takes her to a subway station and tells her that they are planning on evacuating uninfected civilians, unfortunately the power is offline. Carlos’ commanding officer Mikhail Victor has heard of Jill’s reputation from her time with S.T.A.R.S and requests her help getting the power back online so they can get the train moving. Jill agrees and heads into the city to restore the power.
Unfortunately she has not seen the last of the monster who has set its sights on eliminating the final member of S.T.A.R.S....
This review is going to be separated into effectively two parts, a lot of the following paragraphs are based upon notes I made during my first playthrough when I was not exactly having a great time playing the game. However, my opinion basically changed massively after I had completed my first run-through and the game suddenly surprised me.
I haven’t played RE2 for a while and the version I purchased had all of the unlockables unlocked from the beginning. I decided though to play the game through at least once for Leon and Claire as nature intended without using any of the additional weapons or equipment I had. Once I did my first run as Leon then the next as Claire, for my Claire then Leon run through I used the unlimited mini-gun as I was just playing it to see what was different when playing as Claire first. During my first run I did pretty well and managed to unlock a decent rating at the end so I had some confidence when jumping into RE3.
I started playing on Standard difficulty as I tend to be a medium level difficulty man, yes I have done games on Impossible difficulty modes but usually normal is difficult enough for a game to be a challenge without getting frustrating. I may have mentioned in previous articles that I hate getting killed in games as to me you get killed when you are not being careful or you are shit at the game. I never stop finding it annoying especially when games keep track of how many times you die. I mention this because in my first play through of Resident Evil 3 Remake, I got killed, a lot and the majority of those deaths were down to the increased durability of the zombies.
In RE2 the zombies tended to drop after 2-3 head shots but here it was more like 5-6 and even then they were not necessarily dead. I quickly developed the habit of putting down a zombie then poking it with my combat knife (Jill unconvinced apparently of the benefit of slashing at her enemies) to see if it was dead or not. More often than not they weren’t and despite frantic poking with my knife they almost always seem to be able to get me in a grapple that would take off some health. The game flashes up a button prompt when you get grabbed but not once was I able to hammer the button hard enough to prevent me getting nibbled on. The combat knife in RE2 had durability stats which the one on RE3 doesn’t but it cannot be used to prevent a zombie grabbing you. Yes if you used a knife in RE2 it got lodged in the zombie and you needed to kill them to get it back but it prevented you from being grabbed. In an early cut scene Jill uses a knife to stab a zombie in the head but she never tries to do that during the rest of the game. So either the Special Tactics And Rescue Service members were never taught that stabbing an enemy in the head or chest will get it off you, or the combat knives are about as sharp as a particularly blunt spoon so Jill never bothers to use it.
The zombies are tougher in this game than the previous one, and also have a habit of hiding behind doors so they can pounce on you the moment you venture through one. Plus as I said above if you shoot every zombie in the room and don’t then go around double-tapping them all again in the head to make sure they are definitely dead, you can guarantee that the second your back is turned, it is going to jump up to munch on you. You truly need eyes in the back of your head and this game made me think that if there were a zombie apocalypse I would definitely get killed by some random zombie I didn’t spot. There also seem to be a fuck-tonne more zombies in this game than in the previous one so you can, and will, get overwhelmed by an onslaught of zombies that you put down only for them to get back up again. If I remember correctly Leon or Claire might have to deal with maybe four or five zombies in one go, in RE3 you often have to fight six or more in tight claustrophobic corridors or areas littered with debris that you could get caught up on which make not getting bitten so much more difficult.
The Nemesis takes over the role of the humanoid powerhouse that follows you around, a role that was filled with Mr X in RE2. However, unlike Mr X who basically just plods around after you, making sure you didn’t hang around in one spot too long, Nemesis appears in pre-set sequences. Mr X was an obstacle that you had to work around whereas Nemesis is something that you are generally just supposed to run from. The thing is that Mr X walked after you, whereas Nemesis can jump ahead of you to get in your path, it can used a tentacle to wrap around your legs to pull you towards it, and is even capable of straight up running after you. Jill doesn’t run fast enough to just out pace it so you have to either try and fight it to slow it down, or try and dodge around its attacks.
Now unlike in RE2 Jill has a dodge move that she can use to get around enemy attacks if it is timed correctly. The problem is that the dodge move works when it feels like it. I would mash the button and sometimes Jill would jump clear of an attack from a zombie or Nemesis, but more often than not, she doesn’t and there goes another chunk of neck or some more health as Nemesis punches her with enough force to smash through a concrete wall but not enough to break any of Jill’s bones.
On that point, the wilful suspension of disbelief takes a bit of a hit (no pun intended) whenever the Nemesis swings a punch that connects with Jill. We witness this thing punching through walls and shrugging off attacks from rocket launchers, or getting blown up over and over, and yet his strikes are not one hit kills. In the initial sequence Jill is thrown against a wall, kicked in the side, and instead of her internal organs being smashed into mush she is able to get up and flee. Moments later she is smashed through the floor, and an explosion knocks her into a metal fire escape. Not long later she drives a car off a six story parking lot without wearing a seatbelt, yet climbs out of the tangled wreck with a couple of scratches but otherwise unharmed. Each time she should have been seriously hurt if not killed, she is able to get up and carry on running without any ill effects what so ever.
Apparently within the context of the story Nemesis was released by Umbrella to hunt down surviving members of S.T.A.R.S as a means of field testing its capabilities. Yes we see it killing some civilians but apart from that it just wanders around being annoying. In an early document there are apparently five surviving members of S.T.A.R.S so why don’t we see it killing any of them?? It might carry more weight to the proceedings if characters we knew (or played as if that was a thing) in Resident Evil are slaughtered without difficulty by Nemesis in this game. Nemesis is also one of those enemies that in some ways gets easier the more you encounter him. After your initial encounter in Jill’s apartment building, when it pops up again it is able to follow you through city streets, and can follow you into some of the buildings with you having to dodge round or shoot him to escape. Nemesis is capable of dodging grenade or rockets that you fire at it just making it more intimidating. However after that it is only faced again in linier story moments, cut scenes and boss encounters. When it is chasing you through the city, it is tense, and you are on the edge of your seat trying to get away. After that it is one fairly standard boss fight after another. Its effectiveness as a terrifying monster is lost when you know that you are only going to encounter it again in large open areas that are helpfully littered with health and ammo. The final thing that I will say about Nemesis is that like Mr X from RE2 it always seems to just know where you are. Mr X knew you’d headed down into the lab below the city and follows. Nemesis is the same, it knows that Jill is the only survivor of S.T.A.R.S, so hunts her down remorselessly, but how does it know she is all that is left?? We are given no context for how Nemesis is able to smash down a wall confidently knowing that Jill Valentine just happens to be on the far side at the time. In the second Resident Evil film we saw a live-action Nemesis that was being controlled by a team in some field lab or something but here it is suggested that it was simply given a task to complete, was given a pat on the bum and told to go nuts.
Similarly to the previous games by Capcom like RE2 and Dino Crisis you are able to find weapons parts that make your arsenal more effective. The majority of these parts are found through exploration, unlocking safes, and finding weapons crates. However, at least one of these parts can only be found through combat with Nemesis which was annoying considering that my instinct was to run from the massive bioweapon that wanted Jill dead. But no you have to stand your ground and fight it. Do enough damage and it will drop a supply box which you can race over and pick up. You just have to remember that if you fight, that just seems to really piss it off as it actually ran after me when I shot at it so yes you get parts but you make it very angry.
I wanted to make sure that I would not spoil any of the game for myself by watching playthroughs, which lead to a scenario when I was wandering around wondering what the hell I was supposed to be doing. I had to find a lock-pick to progress but I couldn’t find it. I had spotted a body in the corner near the door where the lock-pick would have been used but as I’d shot at the corpse and the bullets just went through it. This happens with bodies that are not going to reanimate as zombies so can be ignored. I assumed that this corpse was part of the background and couldn’t be interacted with. A good ten-fifteen minutes of wandering around later after I had scoured the rest of the maps I had access to, I returned to the corpse, and a button prompt appeared as I drew close enough and in his lap was the lock-pick.
Like the last game you do get to play as more than one character, however, as I have already said unlike RE2 there are not duel campaigns happening simultaneously. You play as Jill for the majority of the time, but there are a couple of sequences when you take over as Carlos. But when you are playing as Jill, Carlos is sitting on the train not doing anything, and when Jill is on the train Carlos takes over. It is a bit of a missed opportunity as Jill and Carlos have radios so there is no real reason why they couldn’t have been working on their own objectives and we play as Jill in one playthrough doing her stuff then as Carlos doing his. It would have added some variety to the game and presented us with the opportunity to play the game through at least four times, Jill then Carlos, Carlos then Jill, just like RE2 did with Leon and Claire.
When you do take over as Carlos there is no difference in game play except he has an assault rifle which makes fighting the larger amounts of zombies a bit easier to deal with. Also bizarrely despite the fact that he has numerous actual hip pouches and a backpack on, he doesn’t have any more inventory slots than Jill has in her jeans and tank top.
I’ll drop this now...
There are also a couple of plot holes which revolve around a vaccine for the T-Virus. Now my understanding of a vaccine is that it doesn’t cure a disease if you have it already, rather it exposes you to a controlled amount of a virus so your body can build up anti-bodies in order to fight the infection if you encounter it. In RE3 characters talk about a vaccine but it is used to cure a character that has been infected and it cures them. As in, it completely cures them of the T-Virus which makes it a cure not a vaccine. It might be something that annoys only me but it reminded me of the main character from Artimus describing an act of sabotage as a heist. Which annoyed me then as this annoys me now.
The last part of the game is all about getting a sample of the vaccine to the government in order to prevent further outbreaks (as at the time no one knows Umbrella created the T-Virus in the first place). The thing is there is one confirmed sample of the vaccine and as I said above it us used to cure a character. However, if there is only one known sample of the vaccine then would it not be better to get that sample to the government so they can duplicate it?? Both Jill and Carlos are professional Special Forces soldiers so would surely recognise that it is better to sacrifice one life in order to save hundreds, thousands or potentially millions of others. In Spider-Man Peter was forced to make this very choice and he made the tough call to lose someone he loved to save a city full of strangers. It’s an illogical decision unless you consider that I’m pretty sure it is an unwritten rule that if you are the protagonist in any film or game and are single, and someone saves your life then you are pretty much obliged to have sex with them after the credits role. Jill starts off hostile to Carlos but it is a pretty safe bet that they went at it like bunnies once the escape helicopter lands. So was it the promise of getting some action that led one of the characters to willingly risk the safety of everyone to give the one sample of the vaccine to their future fuck-buddy??? It is suggested that there is a stockpile of the vaccine underground but there is no guarantee that it was true or that it hasn’t been destroyed, so wouldn’t it be the harder call but better decision to save the one you have??
The game crashed on me...it only happened once but it was annoying so I mentioned it.
Marvin and Kendo from RE2 both cameo in this game and further cement this as part of the canon. We revisit the Racoon City Police Department and blow up part of the shower room and caused the steam leak that Leon or Claire needed to sort out then they arrived. We see how Marvin got bitten and it was cool to see both of these characters again.
My first play through was littered with a lot of niggles and like I said I did get killed numerous times by zombies that just wouldn’t take the hint and just fucking die. However, what really, really, really pissed me off was not the deaths or the fact that the zombies could still function when most of their head was a bloody stump it was the fact that every few times I died the game would ask me if I wanted to drop down from Standard to Assisted mode. In this mode you are given an assault rifle off the bat and the game even helpfully draws your targeting reticule to the Zombie’s heads making it easier to hit them. It fucked me off because I just wanted to bellow “STOP asking me if I want to switch to assisted game mode!!!!! NO I FUCKING DON’T!!!!!” It is so patronising to have the game sitting over your shoulder every time you die asking if you’d like to drop down to an easier difficulty because clearly the game is too hard for you to do on its current setting. I wanted to grab the game by the throat and demand to know why four or five headshots FAIL to kill a single zombie. Why can a zombie still find me when I have fired a bullet into each of its eyes so it shouldn’t be able to see let alone lumber over to me?? Why is my combat knife about as useful as a blunt potato peeler?? Why can I walk into a room pop every downed zombie in the head and yet at an allocated time they will still get up?? Why are there zombie hordes in this game which you must clear out with a lame-ass pistol or an assault rifle that likes to shoot to the left of your target’s head?? If the game didn’t keep kicking me in the back of the legs when I’m trying to move forward then I wouldn’t keep getting killed. Plus, cut me some slack it is my first playthrough, its obviously not going to be perfect so stop asking me if I want the game to auto-aim my gun for me as I’m clearly so shit I cannot do it myself.
I wrote the following paragraph as I was watching the credits roll to a close of my first playthrough...
When you play RE3 you control Jill and Carlos a few times. But unlike RE2 in which there were four different ways to play the game Leon then Claire, Claire then Leon. There is only one way to play RE3 and now that I have finished it I don’t honestly know if I will go back to play it again. I wanted to replay RE2 over and over but with RE3 there isn’t going to be anything different if I play it again.
That was going to be my final word and honestly I would probably have rated the game with a Thumbs Down or at most Horizontal. But then after the post-credits scene the game told me that I have unlocked the Shop. Curious I looked at it under the Bonus section and discovered that the challenges that I had largely ignored during playthrough unlocked XP which could be used to purchase different weapons. These included things like additional hip pouches, coins that increase your defence or healing ability, a knife that sets enemies on fire, and firearms that have unlimited ammunition. Of these firearms there is an assault rifle and a rocket launcher.
I then took a look at the challenges and how many points I would need to unlock the different weapons and set my mind to getting the assault rifle. Now the game isn’t like Doom or Doom Eternal in which you can load a save, killed stuff, quit the game and it’ll save, therefore remembering how many monsters you killed. One of the challenges is killing 2000 zombies which would take numerous playthroughs if you just played through the story. However, whilst looking on YouTube I came across a video which demonstrated how to farm points from the various bits of the game. Essentially all you need to do for any weapon challenge is to create a save, go through the section that you are in killing as many zombies as you can, save again in a different save slot to your original file. Then load up the older save, this saves the amount of kills you have, and resets the zombies back to what they were before so you can go around killing them again. At which point you...say it with me...rinse, lather, repeat...until you have worked through the weapons challenges. Using this method, in short order I had completed the pistol and shotgun challenges (each weapon has two challenges so I had done them both). This gave me sufficient points to buy the assault rifle with unlimited ammo. From there I basically just went through the game, stopping at convenient save points to repeat this technique in unlock more points in order to get my hands on the rocket launcher.
I guess you could say this was a cheating and I am honestly not sure if it was a bug or something that you could always do otherwise you’d have to play this game a dozen times or more to kill enough zombies to unlock the challenge points. Personally if it is a bug I have no qualms about using it because if game makers release a game with bugs in them that can be exploited then that is their fault for releasing a faulty product. If it isn’t a bug and it is a legit way to just crank up your kill count and weapon challenges then I am all for it.
Whilst I finished my first playthrough and was not intending to play the game again once I discovered that there were prizes to be won I dived into another game to unlock the assault rifle. Once I had it the zombies that had proven to be so annoying in my first playthrough were little more than insects to be crushed beneath my mighty boot.
Whilst not a +game mode exactly being able to unlock things makes me want to keep playing the game. Yes it is the carrot being dangled in front of me but you know what these challenges are ones that can be done with better weapons and gear. How do you get better weapons and gear?? By playing the game of course and unlocking them. Once I finished my second playthrough, I jumped into a third determined to get all the weapons parts, Charlie doll statues and documents. I am already thinking about doing speed runs to get S Rankings to gain even more points to expend my arsenal even more. I played Dead Space 3 on Classic Mode to unlock the Hand Canon and once I had it I played the game on all the difficulty settings to give myself a bit of a challenge. If playing Resident Evil 3 Remake allows me to keep returning to the story mode with new means of carving my initials into the same monsters that gave me so much trouble the first time then I am all for it.
The game has numerous faults. The campaign is pretty short, Nemesis is basically scripted, and becomes easier the more you encounter it. The enemies have far too much health and cannot be easily dodged. Plus if you die by crikey does the game like to rub your inadequacy in your face. There was the real potential to have two campaigns running side by side here, with you playing as Jill and Carlos not just switching between the two when the other is indisposed. It smacks of a lazy sequel that was not interested in doing anything other than ride the coattails of the previous better game.
If the Shop had not been unlocked I would have given the game an overall Thumbs Down because the changes made to it caused it to be harder for no reason. A single bullet shot into the head should be enough to kill a zombie, two or three is stretching it, but okay. Any more than that and you are taking the piss and when the volume of zombies has been amped up but so has the difficulty in kill them then you cross the line from challenging to annoying.
When all is said and done the reason that I like Resident Evil 3 Remake is because of the Shop and the means through which I can unlock better toys to play with in-game. The campaign is much shorter than the one in RE2 and the prospect of having two characters to play as doing simultaneous objectives couldn’t have been missed harder making the game feel a little like a cheap cash-in on the success of RE2. Personally though, I am happy to keep playing through it and reducing all the monsters to mush as I work towards getting all the items in the Shop. That is enough for me to recommend the game if you are like me and enjoy painting the nearest walls with an enemy’s face just for having the nerve to look at you funny. If you were playing it to see if it is as good as Resident Evil 2 Remake and do not care about unlocking stuff with which to play the game you have just completed over again then best to give this one a miss.
Considering I played the game once over several days and then charged through two additional playthroughs in as many days, I have to say that I did eventually like Resident Evil 3 Remake and will give it a Thumbs Up, although, that Thumbs Up is only for those of you who want to blast hundreds of zombies into mulch and reduce the Nemesis from a challenge to the equivalent of an annoying fly that you smack with a rolled up newspaper.
7/10 – This rating is for those of you out there who enjoy slaughtering monsters to complete challenges to gain XP that you use to unlock better ways of killing monsters. If you enjoy the catharsis that comes from doing that then do what I did and buy the game when it’s on sale for numerous carefree hours speed-running, shooting zombies and blasting Nemesis with weapons that make crates fall out of its trousers.
Plus, one final question, how does Carlos find Jill after her fight in front of the clock tower with Nemesis?? She didn’t tell him where she was after the incident which prevented her escaping the city so how did he know where to look?? Plot hole anyone???