Warning: This opinion piece contains spoilers to those who have yet to play the Resident Evil 3 remake. Read at your own risk.
After playing around 25 hours of Resident Evil 3 remake there are a few things that stand out, most of them disappointing. While this is not a review per se, I’ll give my unbiased opinion.
First of all, after the impressive 2019 Resident Evil 2 remake, I was really hyped for the RE3 remake. I remember playing a ton of the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on the original PlayStation; so much so that I knew every map of Mercenaries like the back of my hand and I knew the game by heart. I used to play it over and over; best I can remember my best time was around 1hr 45 minutes. Sure, it’s not world record pace, but I was still proud of it.
Unfortunately, this is a case where the original surpasses the remake. It doesn’t happen often, but as a long time RE fan, the remake felt butchered, half-assed, and soulless.
One of the main problems of the RE3 remake: they cut out way too much content. First off, the removal of the Clock Tower section of the game. Those who played the original remember the spider-filled super creepy Clock Tower where you’d fry Nemesis and where Carlos would help keep Jill safe while he went off to the hospital. Just imagining the Clock Tower with those spiders remade in Capcom’s RE Engine made me giddy all over. I was shattered to read it was cut from the game. But I still had some hype in hopes of that being the only cut content and that they would have compensated with something better.
Additionally, the worm fight was also removed. While it was a bit clunky in the original game, re-visiting this with a new engine and control scheme could’ve possibly have been one of the most frightening moments of the game. While Nemesis chasing you can be a tense, poop enducing moment, it’s easy to see that it’s all pre-determined and you can figure out where Nemesis is going to be. But putting Jill in a narrow corridor with a giant worm? I can guarantee it would have definitely been a highlight. At that point, my hype had cooled down.
Another unfortunate casualty of this remake is the Mercenaries mode. Merc mode would allow players to select a character with a limited arsenal of weapons and earn as many points as possible in a short amount of time. Killing enemies would give time bonus so players could amass the highest score possible. It also allowed players to purchase weapons usable in the main game. This mode was present in later RE games such as 4, 5, 6, and was known as Raid Mode in the Revelations games.
In lieu of the Mercenaries mode, Capcom instead added Resistance, an asymmetrical game mode where a mastermind player unleashes terror on four players. While an interesting idea, asymmetrical games usually don’t have a long life span; just ask anyone who played Evolve. Friday the 13th The Game, which I love to death, also has seen its numbers dropping (last 30 days as of this writing had just over 700 players on Steam, compared to 10, 000 across the first two months). Problems with cheaters and with players helping the enemy, among other issues, can hurt this type of game in the long run.
At this point, if you want to add a multiplayer mode or co-op mode, why not just remove the Mastermind and give us Outbreak 3?
Despite all of these cuts, the worst one is definitely the removal of branching paths and decision making. In the original game, during certain encounters with Nemesis, you’d be presented with a choice; either confront Nemesis or escape, for example. While it didn’t have any direct impact on the game’s ending, it allowed players to explore various scenarios and felt less linear than the 2020 remake. It was also a great way to replay the game as making different choices will show you different options and paths. At this point, I was like “Ok, just ship me my game so I can finish it and store it”.
So, instead of giving players branching paths, Capcom (lazily) added harder difficulty settings to increase the game’s already limited replay value. Once you’re done with Hardcore, you can tackle Nightmare difficulty, and once you’re done with that you can try your luck at Inferno. While I can appreciate the challenge, which increases Nemesis’ damage output and speed, it makes the final battle feel like something straight out of Dark Souls.
In Capcom’s defence, they also switched some items and enemy placement for Nightmare and Inferno, but there’s nothing really drastic. Nemesis shows up in the exact same places at the exact same times. And as a joke in itself, you come across a Hunter before its official in-game presentation. And enemy placement isn’t that different, there’s just more of them in certain areas and some enemies show up where they weren’t spotted before, such as a Licker in the Hospital.
Without spoiling too much, during the final battle, Nemesis has attacks which do a massive amount of damage on the last 2 harder difficulty settings. It also comes out of its stun much faster, meaning that you have to make perfect use of the dodge maneuver. For example, on Nightmare mode, Nemesis will try to swat you like a fly three times in a row. If you can’t dodge the first attempt you’re screwed, as he attacks so quickly afterwards that your chances of getting up in time to successfully dodge (or heal, as you’ll be in Danger status) are about 1 out of 20. Doesn’t the Soulsbourne genre live or die on perfectly dodging attacks? I rest my case.
Furthermore, making this a more action oriented game removes the fear factor. The first few times that Nemesis jumps in your face from seemingly “out of nowhere” are scary, but it gets old fast. Even the first encounter with a Licker is vastly under-presented. The Hunter’s introduction is fine, but very much “been there, done that”. Remember what happened with RE6? RE has always been about the scare factor; if you remove that and add more emphasis on action, you’ll find yourself with a generic shooter.
While the game had been in development since 2016, there were rumblings of both Resident Evil 2 remake and Resident Evil 3 remake being developed simultaneously for a bundled release. Considering how butchered and half-assed Resident Evil 3 remake feels, I’d be inclined to believe that. Rumours also mentioned that full development switched to RE2 remake as it proved too big of a project. According to Capcom, the development of both games overlapped, however this could easily be a PR answer to cover RE3’s shortcomings.
It’s unfortunate to see Capcom go from one of the greatest remakes (Resident Evil 2) to one of the weakest with RE3. So much content cut, it feels backwards. The RE2 remake added a few new things here and there, whereas RE3 cut a ton of content and barely added any fluff (more Carlos) to compensate.
Admittedly, for having spent near 25 hours playing the game across multiple playthroughs, I somewhat enjoyed my time. Successfully completing in-game challenges rewards players with currency to be used in the shop where you can purchase an all powerful unlimited rocket launcher, but again it feels like a lazy way to increase your replay value. And while I was facing off against the final phase of Nemesis on Nightmare, it literally killed my interest of playing anymore of it. Despite only missing 2 Inferno related trophies to get the Platinum, the single thought of Nemesis on Inferno irked me off the game beyond belief.
And now Capcom is on a remake rampage. Rumours are running wild about them remaking the Resident Evil remake (WTF) and there’s word that a Resident Evil 4 remake is on the way for 2022. Considering how well the RE4 game still holds up today, this would be a dumb move considering no matter how many times they port it, people still buy it. And I’m pretty sure ports are less expensive than full blown remakes. At this point, there’s only one question I have in mind: How are they gonna top the best RE game?
While it may not sound like it, Resident Evil 3 remake is not a bad game by any means, but knowing the source material, it feels sub-par compared to the 1999 game. Had this been a different entry in the series or unrelated to Resident Evil 3 Nemesis in every way, it would’ve been a fun, dumb, action game. Unfortunately, Capcom has left us wondering too many “What Ifs”, thanks to their chopping of so much original stuff. But hey, at this rate, maybe we’ll get a Resident Evil 3 remake remake in 2030.