Only 14 months after the release of the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2, Capcom has given the third game in the classic series a similar makeover. This turnaround is impressive on paper, however having finished the campaign with a clear time of four hours and forty minutes, it begins to make a little more sense how they were able to bring this out so quickly. It’s true that Resident Evil games get a lot of value out of their replayability and there’s also the asymmetrical 4v1 multiplayer game Resident Evil Resistance bundled in as well, but at a staggering $92.95 AUD on Steam and even $89.00 AUD for the console version at retailers like JB Hi-Fi, it’s hard to recommend that anyone pick up Resident Evil 3 at release. What follows is my assessment of the campaign of Resident Evil 3, as I was unable to get into a match of Resistance before the embargo despite several attempts.
Resident Evil 3’s narrative runs parallel to the events of Resident Evil 2. Raccoon City has been hit with a bio-weapon called the T-virus that turns people into flesh-eating monsters. Those that remain are attempting to get out of the city alive. This time you play as former S.T.A.R.S. operative Jill Valentine, recently resigned from the RCPD due to their refusal to heed her warnings about the incoming T-virus. Jill, having survived the horrors of the Spencer Mansion in the first Resident Evil, is now a grizzled veteran when it comes to the undead.
This is the first thing that gripped me about Resident Evil 3, while Jill falls comfortably into the no-nonsense, badass warrior-woman archetype, she is nevertheless an empathetic figure. She may be prickly at first but she’s written in an engaging way, rather than just a checklist of tropes. Her demeanour feels like a natural progression for someone who’s been through what she has, and it makes her gradual appreciation for Carlos, her main companion throughout this game, all the more meaningful.
Instead of having separate scenarios for each character like in Resident Evil 2, Resident Evil 3 has only one campaign, however, you do occasionally play as Carlos. Carlos is part of the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (U.C.B.S.), sent in to rescue civilians. Jill treats him with disdain at first, given who he works for, but it quickly becomes clear that Carlos is a dreamboat sweetheart who is just being used as a pawn. There is something refreshing about playing as a woman who isn’t sexualised, kicks ass, and develops a believable relationship with the macho soldier of fortune. Gameplay-wise, Jill and Carlos play largely the same aside from having access to different weapons.
Mechanically Resident Evil 3 functions nearly identically to Resident Evil 2, with the small addition of a dodge button. On PC, pressing spacebar allows you to quickly dodge in any direction, if done at the very last moment before an enemy lands an attack you will perform a ‘perfect dodge’, the screen will flash white and the enemy you dodged will take longer to recover, giving you the chance to flee or press the attack.
Nemesis replaces Mr X as the looming threat that chases you throughout the map and can be a real challenge at times. He busts through walls, leaps ahead of you down narrow alleyways and comes careening down ladders. If you damage him enough (save your grenades!) you’ll temporarily disable him and he’ll drop a juicy supply crate. That said, you’re never really in one area long enough that he’s something you have to be constantly afraid of like with Mr X. Instead, if Nemesis does show up, it more than likely means an action-heavy set piece or significant story beat is coming up. Nemesis feels a lot more predictable and therefore less intimidating as a result.
Speaking of action-heavy set pieces, Resident Evil 3 is jam-packed with them, and while they are often glorious to behold, they seem to have largely taken the place of another pillar of Resident Evil games: puzzles. Puzzles are nearly non-existent in this game. I never played the original Resident Evil 3, but it’s clear even from a cursory glance at a playthrough on YouTube that a lot has been either cut or significantly changed. I’m sure there are other examples, but the most obvious one is that the entire Clock Tower area is not in this remake. As for the few puzzles that are here, they usually involve something simple like collecting batteries or keys or ingredients, there’s no real thought involved.
I did encounter some texture glitches like certain surface displaying at super low resolution that would then slowly bump up to normal quality, or random flickering. Also, the audio mixing seemed off across the board, some sounds packed a punch while others were far too quiet. The dialogue and music would sometimes be at odds with each other. Just strange.
It’s clear Capcom knew there was an issue with the value of this package as they’ve bundled in Resident Evil Resistance, an asymmetrical 4v1 multiplayer game where one player lays traps and spawns zombies for a crew of four survivors to battle through. I was unable to get into a match before the review embargo went up, despite trying multiple times, so it’s possible Resistance is great. Once I get some matches in I may update this review and the score I’ve given. However, even if Resistance is the best multiplayer game in years, at its current price point Resident Evil 3 is simply too expensive for me to recommend. It would be upsetting indeed if Resident Evil 3 was rushed out the door in order to be packaged with a multiplayer mode no-one was really asking for.
Ultimately, I had fun playing through the campaign, after all, a significant amount of what made the Resident Evil 2 remake so good can still be found here. However, it’s just so damn short. I can’t help but think that this release would’ve been a far easier pill to swallow if it had released as a $30-$40 DLC expansion for Resident Evil 2. Or better yet, I wish Capcom had taken the time to flesh the narrative out, expand upon ideas from the original instead of making significant cuts. As it stands, this version of Resident Evil 3 may shine at times, but it feels rushed, never really giving you a chance to slow down and smell the zombies.
Resident Evil 3 was reviewed on PC with a code provided by the publisher.