Resident Evil 3 fails to achieve the same success its previous iteration achieved.

Some Preamble… As someone who was a young child when Resident Evil 3 was originally released in the US for the original PlayStation, as you can probably guess, I didn’t play it. I would ultimately go on to play the game about a decade later via my PlayStation Portable, but I really didn’t enjoy it. You see, if there’s one connective thread in all my time mentioning video games in any kind of way, I am bad at old games. Seriously, I spent an entire summer attempting to beat The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time at a point when the PlayStation 2 was dominating the cultural zeitgeist in terms of what was synonymous with video games. I would eventually go on to complete Ocarina of Time… with a family friend… twice. See, I forgot how to video game and accidentally deleted the save file. It was surely a time to be had. It wasn’t until I started watching the Let’s Play’s that 2 Best Friends Play made that would go on to influence my taste in gaming for the better.

Resident Evil 2 to Resident Evil 3

After Resident Evil 2 was released in January of 2019, the next game set to be remade was Resident Evil 3… and I was concerned. I had progressed to a certain point in RE2 and just stopped playing the game. What I knew prior to the release of Resident Evil 3 was the loose connectivity it had with its predecessor as you explore Raccoon City, the Raccoon City Police Department, and even run into characters who are prominently featured in the second game. While one character is only seen and not interacted with, there is another who – more or less – is the same exact appearance the character had in the previous game. While Resident Evil 2 was more of a familiar experience that had great set pieces, altering the flow of the game when compared to the original version, I expected something similar to happen with the Resident Evil 3 remake. I would ultimately be correct in my assumption.

Credit: We Got This Covered

The Story and S.T.A.R.S. of Resident Evil 3

For the longest time, I was adamant that the other Resident Evil game in development around the time of RE3, Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, was going to be the actual third entry in the series. It makes sense when you think about it, as the game features big names like Claire Redfield, Chris Redfield, and Albert Wesker, expanded upon the lore of the in-game universe, and introduces new characters that were associated with Umbrella. Resident Evil 3, as the first game did, placed you in the boots of S.T.A.R.S. member Jill Valentine. The game begins with an interesting black and white filter being applied to the screen while you walk around her apartment. This leads to the player’s realization it is a nightmare as she is still trying to get over the harrowing incident at the Spencer Mansion in Resident Evil 1. One of the interesting things to notice in Jill’s apartment – before the story officially begins – is that she has numerous connection boards showing her attempt to piece everything together that would implicate Umbrella and expose them for their true malevolent nature. The story picks up when you get a call from the only other S.T.A.R.S. member in the city, Brad Vickers, who is warning you to get out of the city. It is then that the game’s big beast makes its debut. I will say that I loved the attention given to the creation of Nemesis before things properly begin. All I had known about Nemesis was the hot garbage rendition from the Paul W.S. Anderson Resident Evil film adaptations that honestly just felt wrong. But talking about the disappointment of the RE films is a discussion for another time.

Following your first escape from Nemesis, you begin making your way to an escape chopper and, hopefully, the end of this very real nightmare. What follows is a brilliant sequence filled with explosions, vehicular mayhem, and the meeting between Jill and Carlos, a meeting that will kickstart the plot forward. Carlos is employed by Umbrella under the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service, which all in all is a private military corps. Carlos’s character arc throughout Resident Evil 3 will cause him to question the morality of working for a company like Umbrella and the harm they are causing. Then, you have the two antagonists of the game, both being representatives of Umbrella. One is Nemesis, the Bio-Organic Weapon that stalks you throughout the story on numerous occasions and is the representation of the brutal inhumane actions of Umbrella. The other is Nicholai, the representation of Umbrella’s greed.

Credit: PC Gamer

With the Resident Evil 2 remake, there were multiple characters, both memorable and forgettable. Take, for instance, the driver of the tanker truck that indirectly sets Claire and Leon on their respective character journeys. Then, there’s Lt. Marvin Branagh, who rescues either Claire or Leon, depending on which scenario you choose. He, too, sets the plot further into motion. Every human character in Resident Evil 2 is memorable for one reason or another. They either help kick off the overall story, add something to said story that will have an impact on the protagonist, or have a memorable moment that will stick with the player. There is a mere handful of characters in Resident Evil 3, which is a considerable decrease when compared to the previous game. Most of the characters you interact with as Jill and Carlos, respectively, are Umbrella personnel. The monitors of UBCS, of which a majority of the game cast are a part of, take up the most screen time with the order of importance being Jill, Nemesis, Carlos, Nicholai, Tyrell, Murphy, and Brad Vickers. There are more characters, but these are the only ones that have any real narrative importance.

None of the secondary or tertiary characters have any lasting impact or leave anything of remembrance, either. Every character’s death in this game is either caused by Nemesis or indirectly caused by Nicholai. With the game taking place around the same point in time as Resident Evil 2, you do see characters from that game who – in one case – just make a cameo to explain the state they are in when encountering them in RE2. The other only has one scene, and if you blink, you’ll miss it. It’s a shame, as there is a potential worldbuilding moment that a character has that will make you question what just happened. Just a point to end this portion on, the three major voiced characters of this game would go on to return as different characters in 2021’s Resident Evil: Village, showing that Capcom sticks with what works, even if it disgruntles fans of the series, such as me with Resident Evil 4’s remake looking to make Paul Mercier’s iconic performance as Leon Kennedy redundant.

Credit: PC Gamer

The Disappointing Gameplay

So, there was a problem I had with Resident Evil 2 that returns with Resident Evil 3, and that is the fact that characters die in the game, with most of the numbered deaths being attributed to Nemesis. Said problem is the fact that zombies do not die with a shot to the head. Out of all the zombies I faced as Jill and as Carlos, maybe one out of every fifteen would lose their noggin. Not only that, but when playing as Carlos, his assault rifle can be used by Jill as well if the player chooses the lowest difficulty setting. The way in which the assault rifle is handled gameplaywise is one of the worst weapons I have used in a video game. It felt as if I had somehow mixed things up and gotten the assault rifle from 2006’s Dead Rising, as opposed to a weapon from a game nearly two decades later. This led to me using the pistol during most of my time as Carlos. The only time I really used the assault rifle was when the hunters make their appearance, and during the time spent in the RCPD. It’s frankly just strange that with the RE2 and RE3 remakes there was barely any head gibs, compared to the frankly absurd number of times it occurs in Resident Evil: Village.

Resident Evil 3 plays the exact same way as RE2 and doesn’t actually innovate the series or make a lasting impact with its gameplay. There is a lot left to be desired from the way RE2 played versus the way RE3 plays. There is a sequence in Village that, if you know anything about that game, is terrifying. RE3, on the other hand, plays it safe as throughout the entire experience… you are armed. Because it is a remake, you would expect there would be tribute paid to the big iconic moments from the original game, as well as interspersing new alterations to the formula. In fact, I am confident that playing Resident Evil: Village before playing Resident Evil 3 will ruin your whole perception of the game. Especially in my case, as someone who had never completed the source game. RE8 felt like anything was possible and it had that freedom due to the fact that most of the story threads from RE7 were wrapped up in the two expansions “End of Zoe”, and “Not A Hero” with both wrapping up any dangling threads connected to the Baker family. Meanwhile, when playing Resident Evil 3, I had the complete opposite thought. At a certain point, I was completely sick of Nicholai and Nemesis. It is hard to be worried about a city that is going to be destroyed when, in the following games, it is mentioned numerous times. Especially in Resident Evil 6, when one of the campaigns is heavily attached to the Raccoon City incident. Or, how the end of the previous game’s main goal is to escape the city before it is wiped out.

Credit: NPR

The Final Thought

At the end of my playthrough – which was four or five hours long – I felt like I got scammed out of money I could have used to do something more important, such as buying MLB The Show 22 stubs or… buying a meatball sub. I would have rather done either if I had known what awaited me in Resident Evil 3. Now, I am actually concerned about the well-being of Resident Evil 4’s upcoming remake, which is set to release in March of next year. After all that I have said regarding this game, there is virtually nothing I can think of that could redeem this game. Aside from two of the Nemesis boss fights, I was just going through the motions with Resident Evil 3. If you are starved for Resident Evil content in terms of video games, there is no scenario in which I would recommend this game. Sure, the game might look nice with its Xbox and PlayStation visual enhancements, but this isn’t a game that is supposed to win you over with its looks. Resident Evil 2 is still the best of the third-person over-the-shoulder-style Resident Evil games. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get back to Persona 4 Golden like the weeb I know I am.

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