Capcom hit a home run with last years, Resident Evil 2. All eyes are on them, with this highly anticipated follow-up. Did they deliver the goods?
Resident Evil 3 begins just before the events of Resident Evil 2 and puts us in the shoes of S.T.A.R.S member Jill Valentine after the tumultuous events of the first Resident Evil game as she investigates the cause of the outbreak (See our handy timeline to get up to speed).
After another night of insomnia, she wakes up and is immediately attacked by an unknown creature. She flees for her life onto the streets of Raccoon City to find it overrun by the undead. After escaping the monster chasing her, she is rescued by an Umbrella operative named Carlos. They meet up with his team and they come up with a plan to escape Raccoon City but the monster still lives and is hell-bent on killing Jill Valentine.
While the Resident Evil 2 remake had a more calculated and deliberately slow pace, Resident Evil 3 turns it up to 11 and refuses to budge. The game keeps you moving at a blinding pace and while it’s certainly a fun ride, it feels like a step down from the last title. The game lasts a less than desirable 5 or 6 hours and fumbles in its effort to tell its story.
Those who played the 1999 original title will expect the short running time and while it wasn’t a shock, I was hoping Capcom would flesh out some characters a little more. That being said, what we get is still very good. Jill is a brilliant lead character, yet another shining example of a strong female lead. There are moments where you will take control of Carlos and he is also established really well.
The supporting cast, however, is thrown in and taken out of the story before you know it. I understand that time is precious when a giant mutated beast is chasing you down but the game needed to take a leaf out of Resident Evil 2’s book and give us some more suspense and downtime. It’s hard to criticise it too much, as it does follow the source material but I wanted to know more about the characters we meet, instead of explosion after explosion.
The Resident Evil 2 remake played like a dream. It was utterly terrifying and required you to think about how you tackled each section. Your ammo was precious and the zombies were a real threat. Mr. X was an omnipresent horror that stalked you to the ends of the earth. The puzzles were intricate and you had to contend with threats as you tried to solve them. Resident Evil 3, however, opts for a more action-orientated affair.
Now, it’s not as egregious as Resident Evil 6, but there is a tonal shift. More undead are thrown at you than ever before and they seem easier to deal with, as the game is very generous with ammo and Jill even has a dodge that slows time if performed perfectly. While the tension is lessened, there is still a lot of fun to be had as you gun down the shambling horde. It’s not like the game throws dozens of enemies at you but a single zombie is not a threat like it was in the last title. It’s a bit different but I’m okay with that. The puzzles, however, see a big drop in difficulty. Resident Evil is known for its crazy puzzles and the ones on offer here are so simple, they may as well be cut out. It’s a big disappointment but Resident Evil 3 still has one trick up its sleeve, the terrifying Nemesis.
Well, that’s what I’d like to say but during normal gameplay, he’s barely ever there and when he is, it’s more annoying to get past him than challenging. Hearing Mr. X stomp around the police station in the last game was genuinely unnerving but that is completely lost here. Nemesis is relegated to poor boss fights and that’s a wasted opportunity. While this all seems negative, it does what it does really well. I had a lot of fun throughout my playtime but it feels like there should have been more.
To nobody’s surprise, the game is jaw-dropping. The RE Engine once again proves to be one of the best in the business. Character models both in-game and in cutscenes are incredible and the attention to detail in the game world is fantastic. Lighting is sublime and those with a HDR display will be treated to some beautiful neon lighting early on.
The soundtrack is excellent and the sound design is solid throughout. Voice acting is really good, with props going to Nicole Tompkins as Jill Valentine in particular. The issue with the voice-work, is that the short run time leads to brief conversations and each line is delivered so quickly, it’s like a rap song.
There are further issues, with the main one being the frame dips. Running on PC, with a 1080ti set-up, drops can be seen from 140FPS to 70FPS, even with GSYNC enabled. This happens too often and even during combat. Lip syncing is also poorly implemented. In the cutscenes, it’s perfectly acceptable but in-game the lip-syncing is not even close.
The story is short, the gameplay isn’t as good as the last game and there are glaring issues. Would I recommend the game? Yes, I would. The story is still interesting and the main cast is great. While the gameplay is streamlined and less tense than the last game, it’s still fun. The issues can be patched but the short run time might sway people towards waiting for a sale. While there are no alternate campaigns like in the previous title, there are several challenges to beat, which unlock all sorts of in-game content to pad out the run time.