After the widespread acclaim of 2002’s Resident Evil Remake, and the award-winning praise from the video game industry that 2019’s Resident Evil 2 had received, it was only a matter of time before fan favorite Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was remade...
...Question is “Does it stick the landing?”
As a fan of both the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil 2 (2019), the answer is…Yes.
Three months after the events of Resident Evil, Jill Valentine attempts her final escape from Raccoon City during a viral outbreak of the T-Virus that turns its citizens into undead flesh eating zombies. Jill teams up with Carlos Olivera and his team of mercenaries as they attempt to rescue survivors and escape the outbreak ridden city. But no amount of careful planning can prepare the group for the dangerous enemy that the sinister Umbrella Corporation has sent to cover the truth of what happened.
A dangerous =enemy that only Jill could have seen coming…
The story of this game is streamlined into an intense experience. It takes place during the Raccoon City outbreak, which we have never seen in a Resident Evil game previously. We always follow the protagonist after the infection has happened. Following these events gives the game a realistic grounding, and now in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, it makes the intro that much more topical and realistically unsettling. While the set-up to the environment of Raccoon City is great, the intro to this game may very well be one of the best intros to any game I have ever played. While Resident Evil 2’s remake was near identical in story to its original, Resident Evil 3 makes a lot of changes to the story. The plot and script isn’t The Last of Us level writing, but it’s as strong as it ever was for a Resident Evil title. The callbacks to the other games are fantastic and a real treat to fans of the previous games!
One of the highlights of the game is the characterization of the cast. Jill Valentine has never been better. This reimagined version of Jill is strong in her own right. The game creators were able to get so much performance from the tech that a single look from Jill spells out so much about the damage and trauma this character has undergone without losing any of the fight that she is known for. Jill is played fantastically. Not only has Jill’s character been reinvigorated, but the supporting cast around her has had a massive reboot as well. Every character feels like a living, breathing person with their own wants and goals. Nikolai Zinoviev is as mysterious and deliciously crooked as he’s ever been, but you understand why he’s as big of a bastard as he is.
One of the game’s biggest highlights is Carlos Olivera’s character. Carlos is a far cry from the overly cheesy and womanizing “Latin Leon” portrayed in the original, to a much more grounded and no nonsense soldier who truly wants to help and save people, almost to the point of martyrdom. Jill and Carlo’s interaction isn’t played as anything romantic or corny. Their arc starts off rocky as Jill finds out Carlos is working for the Umbrella Corporation. All through the game, the writing between these two is played just right so that you buy their bond. These two are both completely on equal ground and they need each other more than Jill is willing to admit. Their connection comes from a place of mutual respect and understanding for each other and you buy that these two would team up in this situation. Their connection is not only felt, but it is earned.
As far as the gameplay goes, It’s a much faster game than the Resident Evil 2 remake was. Probably one of the bigger additions to the gameplay is the addition of the Side-Step. One of the bigger things this game adds is for the ability to display more enemies on screen at a time. Resident Evil 2 would put you in a room with maybe four enemies at once at the very most, yet this game pits you against up to seven enemies in a single section of the game. This heightens the panic, but since Jill and Carlos are both more trained than Leon and Claire, this gameplay also works as a character building element. The enemy types in this game range from the normal zombies, to the Drain Demos, to the return of the Hunters. There are also a few surprises in the second half of the game that are a treat for die-hard fans.
The next addition this remake carries over from the original game is that you’ll occasionally take over and play as Carlos. Carlos is a bit slower and bulkier than Jill. It’s not a weakness, but a strength to be used. Instead of dodging, Carlos is more prune to punching his enemies into each other. It’s different, but effective in crowd control.
When you finish the campaign, you have a whole slew of weapons to unlock for the next playthrough. As much as Capcom can be viciously difficult, they also understand the need to reward the player for their hard work. The unlockables lend to a lot of expanded gameplay with harder difficulties such as Hardcore, Nightmare, and Inferno modes that are practically begging you to use that rocket launcher!
The sound mixing in this game is phenomenal! The sound effects that the team have selected are jaw dropping. There’s various sounds for each individual type of effect. Be it a bullet to the chest, or to the pavement, or the sound of footsteps over grass or puddles in the pavement or glass on top of the pavement. Speaking of the sounds, the game also remakes some of the more recognizable musical beats from the original version. Listening to this game’s rendition of Free From Terror and City of Ruin transported me back to 1999 when playing the original game. Resident Evil 2 was criticized for a lack of an original musical score or music for that matter. The music in this game provides a sense of atmosphere and dread. It works perfectly and was a treat for a Resident Evil fan like myself. Even when the classic Staff Credits music played, the game just left me with a huge smile on my face.
And now for the one we’ve all been waiting for: NEMESIS.
The Nemesis is the primary antagonist of the entire game. Nemesis appears and he won’t stop until every S.T.A.R.S. member is dead. Not only is he back, but with the upgrade in the graphics and gameplay, Nemesis has brought a few new tricks up his sleeve. This IS your dad’s Nemesis. He is back for the first time in 20 years and he’s more vicious than ever. After the terrible interpretations in the spin-offs Gun Survivor 2, Umbrella Chronicles, and Operation: Raccoon City, Nemesis is finally scary again! Nemesis’ A.I. makes Resident Evil 2’s Mr. X look like child’s play. Whenever he appears, he will run up to you and punch or curb stomp you into a bloody pulp and that’s if you don’t run into any nearby undead waiting to rip your throat out. Running into a building, as you would with Mr. X, does nothing! Nemesis will follow you anywhere and will follow you into some save rooms as well! And if you manage to run away and get ahead of Nemesis, HE WILL DIVE RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU and beat the crap out of you again. You can run a couple of streets over and you think you’ve lost him, yet he will appear out of the sky like a bat from hell! If you decide you’ve had enough of his crap, you can try taking him on, but this will only buy you so much time if you manage to down him. Again, this will only buy you time, YOU CAN NOT KILL HIM.
The game is very entertaining and well done, but it’s not perfect. I’ve sung the praises but there are a few flaws that keep this from being a perfect home run as Resident Evil 2 was.
While Nemesis works fantastically well, the biggest flaw that it is not a constant threat as Mr. X felt like. Nemesis’ appearance is now narrowed to fewer scripted moments than the original was. While he’s super effective as an enemy, he is ultimately underused before transforming to his next forms and becoming less of a constant threat. In the original, Nemesis’ appearances were scripted but it felt constant and random at points depending on the choices you made.
Which brings me to my next flaw, the lack of a branching path system for the game. In the original game, you were given a branching path system that led to different endings. This small thing added so much replayability to the original in an attempt to get all of the different conclusions. Also, I couldn’t help but feel that the game was short. While the game has less backtracking than 2 did, it streamlines the game to be faster and shorter. Which is both a positive and negative.
The biggest thing I miss from the original game is The Mercenaries Mode! Mercenaries has been a staple of the series since it debuted in the original game. You replay a rescue mission as one of the Mercenaries from Carlos’ crew. It was wholly fun and just a great way to re-experience the game.
The online multiplayer mode included with this game, RESIDENT EVIL RESISTENCE, is an asymmetrical multiplayer game. Very similar to Friday the 13th or Dead by Daylight. The problem is this mode, while its been given a lot of care and attention, feels ultimately like a side game that you don’t feel the need to come back to. It’s loads of fun when you play as the Boss. But honestly, I felt like playing Friday the 13th or Dead by Daylight before playing Resistance again. It’s ultimately just a passable online multiplayer experience. Just play as Valerie and you’ll have fun!
Ultimately, did this remake live up to my expectations? Yes! While I had a few flaws with the game, the scope of the game is epic, but claustrophobic. The game is a ton of fun and absolutely worth the attention of not only Resident Evil fans, but video game players in general. It’s a fun horror experience to be sure. This is also coming from someone that has beaten the game five times in a weekend and just 100% the game. It was not easy by any means, but it was a worthy challenge and I felt like I got my moneys worth and then some! It was great to re-enter this world after twenty years. It was also great to see Nemesis be terrifying all over again. The return to Raccoon City was epic, short, but well worth the wait! Jill Valentine, Carlos Olivera, Nemesis…it was amazing having them back and I can’t wait to beat the campaign back to back with Resident Evil 2!
Resident Evil 3 is now available from Capcom on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
By Andres Gallego