In the midst of a global pandemic, enter the virtual undead apocalypse of 2020’s Resident Evil 3. Similar to 2019’s Resident Evil 2, this game provides a complete reimagining of 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, updating gameplay and visual mechanics while encapsulating the spirit of the original title. Independent of its history, Resident Evil 3 provides an exciting and stress-inducing experience, albeit with some apparent hindrances.
Resident Evil 3 follows heroine Jill Valentine attempting to escape the zombie-ridden Raccoon City before it collapses. Valentine also deals with her haunting past experiences as a Special Tactics and Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S) agent, referencing another outbreak within mountain land near the city. Besides reanimated corpses and other abominations, Valentine’s biggest obstacle is Nemesis: a hulking monster created by corrupt pharmaceutical company, Umbrella.
Despite the original title releasing over 2 decades ago, the video game franchise recently made a resurgence due to the success of Resident Evil 7: Biohazardand the Resident Evil 2 remake. Newer installments focus on the survival horror elements, such as limited resources, the series innovated in the 1990’s.
As for the narrative, the story remained simple, yet also intriguing. Valentine is a fantastic female protagonist, being convincingly tough while confidently proclaiming memorable one-liners. Valentine’s dynamic with Nemesis is tremendous, with ingame cutscenes and scripted sequences supporting him as a terrifying threat. In fact, Nemesis’s limited appearance is the game’s biggest fault, as interactions with him were among the game’s most memorable moments.
The gameplay, similar to other Resident Evil titles, allows for player experimentation and decision making. Players can enjoy theorizing how to advance through a hoard of enemies, alongside needing to attend to the item management. The latter is particularly crucial, as resources become scarce in certain stages of the game. Scanning the area is paramount, attempting to find ammo and other items while avoiding dangerous threats. All in all, fantastic gameplay that’ll invest players throughout.
Controlling Jill feels solid, while also remaining weak compared to many enemies. Aiming is concise, with players being rewarded for shooting enemy weak points. Jill even utilizes other defensive abilities, such as the dodging mechanic rewarding players with proper timing. All aspects of controls feel manageable, while also allowing mastery for skilled players.
Speaking of skilled players, the game includes “adaptive difficulty.” In this, the game monitors damage taken, adjusting the difficulty accordingly. Difficulty also increases when the player performs well. This system avoids both boredom and overt frustration, leading to each player having their fitting experience. Higher difficulties also avoid this system, permitting dedicated fans to overcome wicked challenges.
Presentation was exceptional. Characters and areas looked fantastic, with the art from in-game posters being my personal favorite visual component. I did, however, feel zombies weren’t as visually polished as before, with their movement being more “glitchy” than previous games. Besides visual details, the game’s musical score was excellent, perfectly fitting the game’s tense tone.
The set pieces were varied and distinguishable. One of my personal gripes with Resident Evil 2 was the areas travelled were rather limited in variety. Resident Evil 3 avoids repetition by adding more areas, along with each having unique enemies to deal with. In fact, some segments bring the player back to locations from Resident Evil 2 adding cohesion for fans of both games.
Yet,the approach to overall exploration was lacking compared to Resident Evil 2. Secrets aren’t particularly abundant within the levels, meaning the journey itself becomes linear in terms of which areas to proceed. In addition, rather than the franchise’s complex puzzles to solve, this entry focuses on going back and forth to opposite ends of the map. At times, gathering keys and such became tedious, feeling as fodder for the game’s duration.
In mentioning the game’s length, many are disappointed with the game’s 4 to 5 hour average duration. While this length may seem ill proportionate to the $60 price, Resident Evil 3 isn’t necessarily designed for single consumption. The series encourages multiple playthroughs, with replaying the game under different difficulty levels and tasks providing ingame rewards.
Along with the main campaign, purchase the game offers Resident Evil: Resistance. This seperate multiplayer experience challenges four players to survive a player-controlled onslaught of zombies and monsters.
Overall, Resident Evil 3 gets an 8 out of 10. The short length may leave those new to the series unfulfilled. However, those who love the series’ unique offerings will appreciate all Resident Evil 3 offers. Skeptical consumers should wait for the game to go on sale, as this game’s frightening journey shouldn’t be missed.