CS Review: Resident Evil 3 Remake is Dead On Arrival
Slow and creepy. Those were the words that sprung to mind during my relatively brief passage through Raccoon City’s zombie-ravaged cityscape in Capcom’s beautifully rendered, though leaden remake of 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (released on the original Playstation console). Remember that one? Neither do I. That was a long time ago.
No matter. This remake is basically an all-new game, save for some story elements and characters. You play as tough gal Jill Valentine, who, er, wears a blue shirt. And later, Carlos Oliveira, who sports funny hair and talks like Keanu Reeves (“Woa!”). Character and personalities aren’t important right now. We’re fighting zombies, baby!
Well, kind of. After a brief intro, players must navigate through a relatively small city block in search of herbs, weapons, and other devices needed to open doors, lockers, and magical crates.
And that’s about it.
A variety of zombies mosey about the city. Some look like people, others like spiders, and others still like goddamned t-rexes. Occasionally, larger villains like Nemesis pop up and throw or shoot stuff at you in which case you need to run, or, actually, walk at a faster pace.
Therein lies one of my biggest gripes with the game — the pacing. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last few weeks blasting demons to Hell in the non-stop action extravaganza Doom: Eternal, or maybe I’m used to the open spaces of Red Dead Redemption 2. At any rate, Resident Evil 3, while glorious to look at, feels sluggish and small in comparison to other third-person shooters of late.
As Jill, and later Carlos, you basically have two speeds: leisurely and not quite so leisurely. I assume because faster speeds would make the enemies easier to evade, or maybe the up-tempo would make the maps feel even smaller than they already feel. And so, you slowly avoid slow-moving zombies — or tap R1 on a PS4 controller to slowly dodge — whilst collecting the aforementioned artifacts needed to advance the plot. This involves a lot of backtracking and frustration as you deal with a ridiculous number of undead that are more difficult to kill than a horde of East African Giant Snails. At one point early in the game, I needed a firehose to attach to a fire hydrant to put out a fire. I had to cross the map (through a donut shop, no less) and eventually found the object-of-need in a subway power station. With the hose now in tow, I had to go back to the fire hydrant’s location, put out the fire, deal with some annoying spider zombies to turn on the power, then go all the way back to the subway station to route a train, and finally run to the train station to meet up with Carlos who I suppose was too busy styling his hair to help out. Oh, and Nemesis was on my tale through at least half of that, making the adventure even more annoying.
Poor Jill accrued an irrational amount of bites-to-the-neck due to my inability to aim my friggin’ gun or run faster than a morbidly obese man through molasses. That’s on me, I suppose.
Thankfully, the tale lasts a fairly brief 6-10 hours, depending on how adept you are at avoiding the pesky villains. I suck. So, it took me about nine hours to complete. As such, I would say the campaign works as a mild diversion over a weekend. But Capcom wants $60 for this sucker and I’m not sure the quality (or length) validates such an enormous price tag.
To defer such criticism, the makers tacked on Resident Evil: Resistance, a multiplayer bonus game that sees a variety of characters pushing through ruined locations in search of puzzle pieces and parts to open doors and mystery boxes. A timer urges you along. When it hits zero, the game is over. The more doors you open, the longer the game goes.
I played Resistance with my daughter and the two of us (mostly) had fun for a couple of hours before growing bored with the formula. There’s only so many times you can restart a map, or search for herbs before such tasks grow tedious.
Maybe I’m being too critical. Perhaps there’s more to the multiplayer once you really dive into it for more than a few hours. People I’ve talked to seem to dig it. I suppose if you enjoy wandering through a post-apocalyptic landscape in search of puzzle pieces and other wack-a-dos with your online buddies, then Resistance is for you.
Overall, fans of the Resident Evil series will probably enjoy the revamped Resident Evil 3. I had fun-ish. Moments of pure adrenaline-pumping joy, such as an intense battle with the aforementioned Nemesis atop a flaming building, occasionally disrupt the humdrum campaign. But even these bits lacked a certain something. More action? More urgency? An increase in tempo? More Carlos/Keanu?
As a bit of escapism, Resident Evil 3 Remake does its job. The graphics are stunning, and some of the set pieces thrill. As with all Resident Evil games, there’s a tried and true formula the developers seem keen to recreate rather than expand or improve upon.
For all its spiffy upgrades, Resident Evil 3 Remake feels like a relic of the 90s.