Resident Evil 3: Remake (PS4) Review

RE3 Remake

This all happened rather quickly (I still have one more PS4 game that I played before this to review, I guess that’ll be next week…), but that’s RE3 for you! Much like last year’s Resident Evil 2 Remake, the RE3 remake here is a stunning looking and easier to play recreation of the original game (once again already reviewed on this blog), but unlike the 2nd REmake this has some flaws, and doesn’t faithfully recreate the original 1-to-1. Is it still worth a play? Let’s find out!

Background:

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Erm… I think I’ll stay inside.

The Resident Evil 3 Remake went into production in roughly 2016, a good few months into the production of the 2 Remake. This is why there was only a one year gap between the two, though admittedly that was about the same length of time between the original 2 and 3, which is why 3 reused a lot of 2’s assets.

It was released for PS4, XBOX One and PC worldwide on April 3rd 2020, just managing to avoid any Coronavirus-related delay…

Gameplay:

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That’s what they get for… being undead, I guess?

The gameplay is much like RE2 Remake, which given it’s the same engine makes sense! It’s an over-the-shoulder 3rd person game, so you walk, run and occasionally climb around Raccoon City and various buildings within, using a variety of weapons to kill some zombies, zombie dogs and other mutated horrors. Headshots do more damage (and occasionally one-hit kill zombies) and you can upgrade the weapons by finding … weapon upgrades, rather fittingly, and along with handguns, shotguns and machine guns, there are also grenades and flashbangs for a bit more Resi4-and-onwards-ness. The two different types of Hunters are here as well, though the Gamma looks quite a bit different (the Beta is still annoying as hell though) and a new type of zombie called a “Pale Face” is here and is … rather annoying, as it can regenerate health and is a lot quicker than your regular zombs.

Obviously the big thing here should be Nemesis, but I will say he’s a bit of a disappointment. He no longer stalks you at every moment, never knowing when he’ll show up. No, despite Mr. X in Resi2RE showing a perfect system for how this could work, Nemesis instead only appears during specific scripted moments, apart from one time where he chases you as you try and free-roam back to through the streets, but just that once. Otherwise he’s pretty much just a recurring boss. Even the multiple choice moments of “Run and do THIS or stand and fight Nemesis” have been removed entirely, though you can still pick to stay and fight him instead of running away, and he still drops a box of loot if you do defeat him, so at least that’s the same. It’s a shame after, as I said, Mr. X seemed like a taster for what we’d get in the then-hypothetical Resi3 Remake.

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Ah, the mysterious red barrels of doom. Handy so many were placed around the city…

Another thing tied to Nemesis I didn’t like was that he turns some zombies into things that look a hell of a lot like the plagas parasite heads from 4 (and 5 and 6 with variations!) and that took me out of the “original trilogy” feel that the first two remakes did so well. Seeing a group of zombies, some of which I have to defeat in a specific, accurate way because they’ve got a ball of mutated tentacles for a head just felt out of place. I mean, Resi3 was always closer to the more action-heavy 4-6, and I can confirm that the explosive barrels and such that were added to Resi3 make a comeback here, so that part of the remake is correct. Also sections of large hordes of zombies and Carlos machine gunning them all down is also present and correct, though one moment where you have to hold a lobby as zombies were pouring in through the windows took the action a tad too far.

Obviously there are still a couple of… very simple puzzles to solve and keys to collect, plus stuff like herbs to mix and heal yourself with, all the usual Resi stuff. The slowest and least interesting puzzle that was found in the clocktower has actually been removed entirely, the clocktower serving as the setting for one of the Nemesis boss encounters and nothing more. Kind of glad, but also somewhat sad… Much like the original game, there is just the one scenario to play, though given they removed the multiple choice mechanic, there is less incentive to do so, unless you really want to unlock all the bonus items (regen health, start with a special gun or two in the crate, that sort of thing) or artwork / models to look at.

Another shock was that they removed the Mercenaries mode. Take a look at Resi2RE and look at how it even ported across the Tofu Survivor minigame, and this game couldn’t do the same with the original Mercenaries mode, the mode that started off the Merc modes in 4 to 6? It does come with an online multiplayer mode called “Resident Evil: Resistance”, but I haven’t bothered with it. Online co-op with strangers never appealed to me, so… I didn’t play it. One of the perks of not being a paid professional!

Graphics and Sound:

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If nothing else, the Hunter Gamma is always smiling!

To the surprise of nobody this looks a lot like the Resi2 remake, and that’s a good thing, because the detail, lighting and general look of that game was fantastic, and this is much the same. In particular I love the more realistic looking models for the likes of Jill and Carlos, plus people like Nicholai and Mikhail. Overall it looks stunning, even if the Nemesis redesign doesn’t quite look as good as the original, but that’s a taste thing, graphically it still looks amazing.

Sound is good too, the gentle background music slowly rising with strings and haunting melodies making you nervous as you approach a blind corner, it’s perfect (well, for your first playthrough or two, before you know when the stuff happens). Voice acting is good, nothing will light the world on fire, but good. Much like Resi2RE, there is quite a bit more swearing too, but given all the characters go through, it’s more than logical!

Story:

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Carlos looks unimpressed in the background… I think. It’s hard to tell underneath all that hair…

The story is much the same as the original, obviously, but with one or two little differences. So the original was Jill escaping Raccoon City with the help of Umbrella Merc. Carlos, the two having to deal with Nemesis and cold-hearted Merc Nicholai along the way. Jill is infected during this incident, but is saved by Carlos, and the two eventually leave via helicopter, but not after Jill obliterates Nemesis with a large, stationary railcannon.

In the remake Nicolai is less cold-hearted and more of a complete bastard, taking great pleasure in leaving Jill in deadly scenarios, smiling all the way. Jill ran through the RPD early on in the original (saved some money by reusing assets!) but in the remake it’s Carlos who runs through the RPD (which still saved assets due to the RE2 remake!) around the middle of the game. Also in this version the railcannon is a railgun, a massive sci-fi looking rifle that Jill wields like a space marine from Aliens, it’s… immersion breaking.

Another key difference is Brad Vickers, the cowardly pilot from RE1, who in the original… timeline, I guess? … was killed by Nemesis in front of the RPD and later found as a zombie by Claire/Leon in RE2, despite Nemesis putting a tentacle through his head. In the remakes he’s bitten by a zombie while trying to keep some doors closed alongside Jill, and then later is the zombie responsible for taking a bite out of Marvin the cop. This is funny because this would have been a retcon to explain Brad the zombie in RE2, but instead he’s not in RE2 at all and you kill the zombie Brad as Carlos. They wrote out the tentacle-through-the-head bit, but then had him only appear in RE3 anyway. Funny.

Thoughts Now:

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Hmmm… I don’t remember Wall Anuses being a foe in the original. Pretty scary though!

It’s hard to come up with a score for this. On the one hand, I really enjoyed playing through it, the controls are tight and responsive and the story better delivered, but at the same time it’s lacking replay value compared to the original, and possibly goes too far in the action direction, making it feel more like the 4-6 trilogy rather than the original trilogy. I guess I’d say buy it, but not at full price, unless you really fancy the Resistance multiplayer mode and you want to get in while there are still loads of players. It funnily feels like the original RE3 in that the “bloom is off the rose” and the remakes are starting to feel less special, even if it is still a good game…

4 Star Game New

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