By Anthony “LibrariaNPC” DeMinico, 29 April 2020
Like last year, once I knew there was a remake of a Resident Evil game from my younger days, I knew I needed to grab it, doubly so when my gaming group dove into Resident Evil: Resistance.
In a fit of pandemic-inspired boredom, I decided to sit and play the remake of Resident Evil 3 in one sitting…and stream it the entire time. This is my rather abbreviated review of the game.
Resident Evil 3 (RE3) is a remake of the Playstation 1 game of the same name. Take the role of Jill Valentine, one of the few members of S.T.A.R.S. to survive the Mansion Incident in the Arklay mountains as the T-Virus runs rampant in Racoon City, and fight to get out of it alive.
==What You Get==
RE3 comes as a stand-alone game story-mode as well as a secondary game, Resident Evil: Resistance.
RE3 uses the same RE Engine used for the RE2 remake and for RE7. It is a full remaster of the original with a new voice cast, updated designs, and a completely new take on Racoon City.
The added game, RE: Resistance, is a 5 player game pitting four survivors against a single “Mastermind,” an Umbrella Employee that is out run experiments on these infected individuals. This seems to replace the Mercenary Mode we had in the original RE3.
Like RE2, the graphical improvements over the original are stellar. I can’t help but love the level of life brought to Racoon City, and while I have a soft spot for the pre-rendered backgrounds of the original, the level of detail here is just top notch.
Even compared to RE2, we have at least one major improvement: the return of the knife as a standard weapon. Instead of being a breakable item as it was in RE2, it is equippable like in the classic games, and with the return of the item crates that were introduced in RE4, it’s a welcome change.
I’m also fond of what they’ve done to the story here. While the original felt shoehorned and jumped around a little bit, this one feels more organic and fits in better with the established RE canon (granted, introducing a specific elements from RE4 does feel rather strange). Between tying the events of Resistance into the main story, as well as reskinning some old enemies from the older generations into something new, it’s better storytelling.
Of course, you can’t tell a story without voices, and the cast for RE3 is just stellar. The actor selection was top notch, the scripts were fun (with plenty of solid one-liners for horror movie fans), character interactions were great, and the actual script itself was enjoyable. I think it may be one of the better RE entries for this reason alone.
Unlike last year’s RE2, RE3 has a number of changes from the original. While a few locations, like Jack’s Bar, make appearances, most of the game itself has changed. Yes, we still technically start the game being ejected from a burning building, and the character goals are still similar, many locations were changed, some characters never set foot in places they did before, and more story nuance was added. If anything, I felt that RE3 was more of a new game than a remake, and I have to give major credit for that.
Finally, I have to say if you want to just kill some zombies, this isn’t a bad choice. Resistance is pretty easy to pick up and run with, while playing the main game in Assisted mode gives you plenty of ammunition to kill everything that crosses your path. I think, during my playthrough, I only ran out of ammunition once, and that was during a highly challenging event. Of course, playing through the game once unlocks the shop, which gives even more unlimited ammo options, so…
As I frequently say, no game is perfect, and RE3 is going to get that same treatment.
Before going into the changes in this game, I do need to note that this game carries some of the same flaws we had in RE2; namely some fuzzy graphics (zombies get “fuzzy” and don’t seem to be “there”), some rather cheap enemies with one-hit kills and/or being bullet sponges, and the issue with damage being rather erratic.
There’s also a couple…”problematic” moments in the game. The drain deimos scene is one that has gotten quite a bit of reaction, and the sheer number of tentacle tropes is a bit awkward as well. This could deter some people, so fair warning.
My biggest gripe, honestly, is just how short the game is. This was a major concern with the original, and apparently it remained for this one as well. I finished the main game within a 6hr 45 minute stream, with over 30 minutes being dead air due to getting called away. I think the game had about four hours of gameplay, not including the cutscenes and the like, and I spent time double backing, exploring, and literally killing everything that crossed my path. Unlike RE2, you don’t have a secondary character with their own story to play through, so once you finish it, that’s it, you’re done. From there, it’s just speeding up your playthroughs and finishing challenges for other unlocks. I’ve already done another playthrough which took 4 hours (with the unlimited handgun and a guide to find all the dolls), and a recent speedrun was completed in about 1:45.
For a $60 game, that’s not a lot of gameplay, especially since some goal play times are under 2 hours, and some unlocks are brutal (like the higher difficulty ratings).
I’m also a bit put off by the lack of secondary play methods. RE2 gave us Ghost Survivors to give a number of what-ifs and extended gameplay, while the original RE3 gave us a Mercenary mode to add some challenges. The lack of this makes the core game of RE3 rather lackluster.
Which brings up the argument about Resistance. Yes, it’s a game you can play repeatedly, but it comes with a number of flaws. Matchmaking isn’t very balanced (my group of mostly newbies was pitted against a Mastermind player with, at minimum, 55 levels), and all of the unlocks are kept behind loot boxes. Character appearances, character and mastermind performance upgrades, and more are, technically, set up in a “pay to win” situation (via RP Boosters to speed up levels). While some unlocks have a level requirement, it can heavily skew the game and leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth because of this lock.
I’m also just wary that Resistance will branch off as a stand-alone, lower-cost game, further detracting from the value of RE3. Honestly, it’s a bit frustrating to say that a not-quite linked multiplayer is a big perk of the game, but here we are.
The remake of Resident Evil 3 is walking away with a rather appropriate 3 Buns.
While it is a stark improvement over the classic, the length of gameplay and replayability just isn’t there for me, especially with the pricetag. Tack on Mercenary Mode being replaced by a lootbox driven money-engine, and I’m a little put off for the price I paid.
If you are a fan of the Resident Evil franchise or enjoy zombie games, then RE3 is worth the pickup. Sidestep it if you’re not a fan of the above.
Resident Evil 3 is currently available from major game retailers for $59.99 for the PS4 (reviewed), XBox One, and PC.