When Resident Evil 3 originally released, I had already moved on from the series. The reasons are quite inexplicable, really: most of the buzz around Resident Evil 3 was that it was an inferior sequel. That’s what I remember, anyway. It eschewed most of the puzzle mechanics of the first two games, and instead was a more linear, action-oriented game—almost a third person shooter instead of survival horror. When Resident Evil 3 Remake’s reviews started coming out, I was bummed that it seemed to be more of the same type of criticism as the original. I was resolved to finally experience Resident Evil 3—even if it was in an altered remake form—and I have to say, even as an action-orientated experience, I found Resident Evil 3 remake a worthy successor.
Now, I’m not saying that Resident Evil 3 remake lives up to the previous two remakes. The Resident Evil remaster was amazing, especially when it first released on GameCube (and it’s held up really well), and the Resident Evil 2 remake is one of my favorite games I’ve played in the last couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, though— the Resident Evil 3 remake is great, but fails to impress on the scale of Resident Evil Remaster or the remake of Resident Evil 2. And while Resident Evil 3 didn’t quite live up to their high bar, it had a few surprises for me—especially since I hadn’t really played the original.
At the start of Resident Evil 3 you play as Jill Valentine—the master of unlocking—shortly before the events of Resident Evil 2. There is a seemingly unkillable creature called Nemesis that is hunting S.T.A.R.S. officers, and Jill narrowly escapes death, only to be thrust into the nightmare of a full zombie outbreak of Raccoon City. The Umbrella Corporation have let their nasty creatures out to play, and have utterly failed to re-contain them. That means lots of zombies and other creatures to shoot.
Nemesis is a major part of Resident Evil 3, and while his presence isn’t as constant as Mr. X’s was in Resident Evil 2, the sections which you are desperately trying to slow down, or escape from the iconic Tyrant never failed to get my blood pumping. Weaving in and out of zombies to escape really ups the tension, too—and Resident Evil’s somewhat clunky combat adds to the tension. Despite Nemesis being a titular villain on the original Resident Evil 3, and having such a pivotal role in the remake, Nemesis, to me, never reached the threat that Mr. X did in the previous title.
Combat is a major part of Resident Evil 3. The combat in Resident Evil, to me, just hasn’t ever been that great. Pistols always felt like weak peashooters, and ammo is scarce. Resident Evil 3 has the same type of combat, and while it has an abundance of ammo, managing that ammo, as well as the rest of your inventory, is often the key to victory. I actually had to replay a section because of a combination of bad ammo management and not having the proper weapons for the job. Some enemies are weaker to certain weapon types than others, and if you don’t pick up on that, you might be wasting a lot of valuable resources.
While most of the time you play as Jill Valentine, you do play a bit as Umbrella Corporation task force member Carlos. The sections with Carlos are even more action-oriented than the Jill sections, for the most part. He appears toting an assault rifle, and conveniently you’ll find lots of assault rifle rounds lying around. The sections with Carlos almost feel like an interlude to the real gameplay sections with Jill, but the game is at its best when both of their stories are interwoven, and you can re-explore the same area that the previous character just explored—something that only really happens once or twice in Resident Evil 3 remake.
Most of Resident Evil 3 is a more linear path than Resident Evil 2. Instead of lots of exploration and backtracking, most of the story is getting your character from point A to point B. There are those classic Resident Evil item locating moments, though—but they’re in smaller sections, not one large area that cleverly works back in on itself.
Possibly the worst part of Resident Evil 3 is the dialogue. I really want to give the actors credit for the job they’ve done, and while most of the time the delivery is superb, everything suffers from the terrible lines. But the rest of Resident Evil 3’s production is great—the animations are amazing, graphics superb, and the characters models are perfect. Jill Valentine’s never looked so good.
Once you complete Resident Evil 3, you can go back to find secrets you may have missed before, or try to complete the game with a better time, harder difficulty, etc. What makes that even more fun is the ability to buy weapons which you will get in subsequent playthroughs.
Resident Evil 3 is a bit weaker than the other remakes, but it’s a solid Resident Evil experience. For me, it was the perfect introduction to a classic of the series that I never played before. There may be those who are tired of Capcom’s remakes, but Resident Evil 3 is just proof that whatever Capcom redoes, they redo great.
Resident Evil 3 is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows
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