I will admit that I’ve never cared all that much for Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. I played it for the first and only time back on the GameCube and it was … fine. It felt more like an expansion to the second game rather than a full blown sequel, but with more action in the streets before heading into the police station and lab. The main thing that set the game apart was the addition of the Nemesis villain, who was able to show up pretty much at any time.
Whilst far from being a bad game, I found it rather forgettable for the most part, and even the Nemesis system – whilst cool in concept – ended up feeling like a pain in the arse by the end of the game.
Which brings us to the controversial Resident Evil 3 Remake, a game that many criticised at launch for not being as good as the remake of the second game; considering the original title was also criticised for the the same thing, I can’t say I was hugely enthusiastic about playing this one..
But I ended up pleasantly surprised.
THE MASTER OF UNLOCKING
Jill has had a bit of a rough month. After her assignment with colleagues Albert, Chris, and Barry went south in the Arklay mountains, she has been left slightly traumatised. Nightmares about what she encountered in the mansion plague her nightly, and she can’t wait for the end of the month when she is scheduled to leave the town and hopefully put all this behind her.
Unfortunately, those plans are interrupted when her she receives an urgent phone call warning her of an incoming threat to her life. One that so happens to be busting through her living room wall right now: The Nemesis. This bioweapon is designed to hunt down and kill S.T.A.R.S. members in order to cover up Umbrella’s involvement in the outbreak. Speaking of outbreak, turns out that it wasn’t just restricted to the mansion either. As per the events of Resident Evil 2, the virus is now all around the city and nearly everybody is infected.
As Jill realises the extent of the contagion, her escape plan soon turns to a rescue one as she meets up with Carlos – who is part of Umbrella’s cleanup squad – and attempts to evacuate as many survivors as possible. The remake follows many of the same story beats as the original title did, although there’s far more character development here than before. Carlos in particular benefits from this change as he plays a huge part in the story this time around, making him a far more likeable character in the process.
In addition to the improved story, we also have overhauled visuals, and they look absolutely gorgeous. The Resident Evil 2 remake looked nice, but this game looks miles better by comparison. The graphical fidelity and art direction are superb, and make the city feel far more exciting to explore as a result. I always felt like the original city was a little bland in the original, but exploring Raccoon City in the remake is a delight – even if some of the locations from the older version have been cut … but more on that later.
YOU GOT A NEMESIS IN ME
Much like Resident Evil 2 Remake, Resident Evil 3 Remake takes apart the foundations of the original game and rebuilds it for the modern era. You have the over-the-shoulder viewpoint instead of the static camera, giving you ease of control when manoeuvring both Jill and the camera. Those who have played the other remake should feel right at home here, as it handles more or less the same albeit a tad tighter than before.
One big change with how Jill controls is the addition of the dodge button. This did exist in the original version of the game, but was clumsily implemented meaning that it was tricky to pull off and didn’t even render you invulnerable to attack, making it more hassle to use than it was worth. Here we have a dedicated button that can be used at any time, and it’s an absolute godsend. The zombies in the remakes react fast and are more ferocious than their PS1 counterparts, so this allows you to survive that little bit longer.
Another major change that has been made to the game is that this sequel also feels a little less like survival horror than the previous title. In line with the of an overrun Raccoon City and saving civilians whilst being hunted down by an unstoppable threat, the remake of Resident Evil 3 leans into the action side of things a lot more than the previous title. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this feels like the Hollywood action film that Resident Evil 6 tried to be, except with far greater success. The narrative is constantly moving forward, and it’s filled with set-pieces that keep you wanting to move forward with the spectacle of it all. Even the Nemesis himself has been relegated to very specific moments, but they’re used to much greater effect here.
That does mean that the game lacks the constant threat of attack that the original had, but personally I would argue that the game benefits from the change as a whole. In the original, I often found dealing with him to be a hassle as it often happened whilst in the middle of something or other. Given how strong and fast he is, it made him hard to ignore. It can create some unique and memorable moments, for sure, but after happening a few times it outstayed its welcome. Mr X gets away with it in the second game due to his overall lack of speed, so I’m glad they restricted the [still fearsome] Nemesis to set moments.
Not every change to the game is positive however, and some of which are quite unfortunate. The most notable, and most talked about issue, is that so much of the content from the original was just plain cut. Most notably, a number of the puzzles and areas from the game have been completely removed. Whilst this also affected the second game too, that one at least had plenty of unique additions to take the missing content’s place… for better of for worse.
Resident Evil 3 does have some extra content, and plenty of altered content, that helps set it apart from the original title – but it still ends up being a far shorter experience. That being said though, I found myself not minding all that much. Compared to the Resident Evil 2 Remake, there’s never really any lulls where you feel the game starting to drag. Whilst the previous remake did a fantastic job, it can’t be denied that the sewer area is an absolute slog to get through. Jill does have brief moment down there too, but it’s also far shorter and lack the annoying parastical enemies that were a chore to take down. It is sad that the great Clock Tower in the original game ended up getting cut, but judging the game based on what is there, I end up feeling satisfied with what we ended up with.
It’s such a shame then that there isn’t just a little bit more. Completing the story will unlock the shop mode, a menu where you can exchange earned play points for special items, …. and that’s about it. Sure, there’s the gallery that contains some excellent artwork, but there’s no Mercenaries mode, no extra scenarios, no nothing. Having some short scenarios paying as Mikhail, or Kendo, or anyone would have been extremely welcome, but we’re just left with almost nothing once the credits roll.
As usual, the final thing we need to cover is how the game performs as a cloud game. The fact that the game is one will no doubt turn many straight off from the get go, and this is understandable considering the game will essentially disappear whenever Capcom decides to shut down their servers. It’s a big price to pay, especially considering the pretty hefty price tag.
Thankfully though, this game performs just as well as Resident Evil 2 did on the cloud, and this game has far more action going on that attempts to push their servers to the limit. The user of heavier weaponry means that there’s more emphasis on aiming, and the input lag is so minimal that I had no issues taking out the undead monstrosities. I’d also even argue that for this reason the cloud version is far more acceptable than the previous title, as it would be difficult to optimise this game with so much action going on and have it both looking good and performing well.
But, then comes the pricing again making you question whether it’s really worth picking up the cloud version. Sure, it’s €10 cheaper than Resident Evil 2, but that had a second story mode and five whole extra bonus mini scenarios. Resident Evil 3 is extremely good, but it’s hard to justify getting a cloud version at that price when all you get is a reasonably short story. Capcom tend to drop prices both frequently and deeply though, so if you have no other way to play the game then this could be a reasonable option.
Whilst I can’t deny that some of the cut content is extremely unfortunate, I also found myself not caring all that much. The remake of Resident Evil 3 is so much fun that it’s an absolute thrill ride from start to finish. It is expensive for a cloud game that is lacking in any kind of extra content or replayability, but if you are unable to play the game anywhere else then I’d implore you to grab it in a sale if you have an appropriate internet connection.