Resident Evil 3 is Capcom’s followup to last year’s Resident Evil 2 (2019) remake and is a response to its massive success and the demand from fans for continued remakes. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999) has long been held as one of the classic entries for the series. It follows Jill Valentine, returning character from the original game, and a new character by the name of Carlos Oliveira. It takes place at the same time as Resident Evil 2, only from a different perspective from the streets of Raccoon City. Resident Evil 3 follows the same general story with the player taking on both roles at separate points as the two attempt to evacuate civilians while avoiding the big bad.
Like last year’s Resident Evil 2 (2019) remake, Resident Evil 3 takes some liberties when it comes to gameplay and plot. Chiefly, Resident Evil 3 adopts a more modern third-person over-the-shoulder perspective first seen in the franchise in Resident Evil 4 (2004) abandoning the traditional isometric and sometimes claustrophobic camera angles of the first few games. As a result, the game is much more fluid and makes navigating the tight streets and corridors a lot easier. Though, long-time fans fo the series will tell you that part of the horror of Resident Evil is the fact that you can see a zombie approaching you from behind and having to struggle with the controls to evade the dangerous ghoul. But, that’s just not very good game design and Resident Evil 3 addresses it by trading the horror of being cornered with the tension of constant pursuit by the Nemesis.
“[…] the story is intense, full of twists and turns, and the trademark Resident Evil puzzles are still there.”
Resident Evil 3 sees the return of Nemesis, a hulking monstrosity that not only has the superhuman strength and regenerative abilities of other zombies, but it also has intelligence and the ability to use weapons. Oh and he’s got it out for every member of the Special Tactics And Rescue Team (S.T.A.R.S.) including Jill. The tentacle wielding freak is definitely one of the main terror points in the game and his constant pursuit of you really amps up the tension especially when the creature can burst through walls and even attack you within safe rooms!
That being said, Resident Evil 3 definitely focuses more on action than horror as we’ve seen in some other entries like Resident Evil 5 & 6. You have access to an assortment of weapons as always, but having the over-the-shoulder gameplay, really changes how you treat the weapons. In standard mode, I wasn’t having any issues finding consistent ammo and never really felt that I had to be stingy with zombie killing. This is in stark contrast to Resident Evil 2 (2019) even though that game also adopts an over-the-shoulder view.
In Resident Evil 2, the “survival” part of “survival horror” seemed a lot more palpable. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that RE2 had you confined for the most part to the dark and claustrophobic Raccoon Police Station, while Resident Evil 3 has you moving from one set piece to the next, so you never really have to worry about using up finite resources. Don’t get me wrong, opening up a locker and having a zombie try to rip your throat out will still get you no matter how much ammo you have!
Resident Evil 3 adds a few other small gameplay changes that also add to the sense of action over horror, like the new ability to “dodge” attacks. It’s definitely a welcome change as you can run through a heavily infested alley and juke any zombies that get to handsy, but it does relieve a bit of the tension which kind of works against the tone of a horror game.
Regardless, the story is intense, full of twists and turns, and the trademark Resident Evil puzzles are still there. As with other entries in the franchise, Resident Evil 3 also has quite a bit of replay value in the unlockables Shop. This is where you’ll find Resident Evil staples like the Infinite Rocket Launcher and Health Regeneration coins. I actually really liked the system implemented with Resident Evil 3 as it ties certain feats to points that you then use to unlock these “cheats” in whatever order you’d like. These feats range from killing two zombies with a shotgun to beating the game in less than two hours and each award a different value. For completionists, the Shop along with the concept art gallery and the unlockable models will provide plenty of added playtime.
Looking at Resident Evil 3 from a technical standpoint, it runs surprisingly well even with several zombies and explosions onscreen. I only had one instance of stuttering late in the game, but overall the performance was solid. Aside from performance, the game looks gorgeous making use of the RE Engine to make every burning car and explosion as realistic as the gore from a shotgun blast to a zombie head.
“Resident Evil 3 drives the gameplay in a more action-oriented direction, but takes care to preserve the tension even on the open streets of Raccoon City.”
Resident Evil 3 drives the gameplay in a more action-oriented direction, but takes care to preserve the tension even on the open streets of Raccoon City. It is a natural progression for the series and a fitting tribute to Resident Evil: Nemesis (1999).
Will you be picking this one up? What’s your favorite Resident Evil game? Did you play the original? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and the Horror Movie Fiend Club on Facebook!