Resident Evil 3 Remake Review – You Want S.T.A.R.S.? I’ll Give You S.T.A.R.S.

    Title: Resident Evil 3
    Developer: Resident Evil 3
    Release Date: April 3, 2020
    Reviewed On: PS4
    Publisher: Capcom
    Genre: Survival Horror

For years, the Resident Evil series has been there for us to provide scares across a variety of different genres. Sure, not all of them worked, but Capcom has never been afraid to try new things. In the later entries of the series, we got a more action-focused experience, beginning with Resident Evil 4. As we circle back with the remakes, the developer is returning to the survival horror elements that they helped popularize. When it comes to the remake of Resident Evil 3, they seem to have found the perfect balance of survival horror and action systems to create an amazing, although short, experience.

Resident Evil 3 introduces S.T.A.R.S. member, Jill Valentine, as she is just a few days away from leaving Racoon City. However, that day will never come after she is forced out of the comforts of her home by a beastly creature known as Nemesis. After fleeing for her life, she runs into an Umbrella military officer named Carlos Oliveira, who lets her known that they plan on evacuating citizens by subway. Given that this is a Resident Evil game, nothing is that easy, and the two must team up on more than one occasion to defeat Nemesis and escape the city.

Gameplay marries the survival horror and action genre in a way that blurs the line of where one ends and the other begins. However, this becomes a little more apparent as you take control of Carlos and realize how the game plays with the use of an automatic rifle. You wouldn’t have guessed it, but the mood and tone of the game completely shift as the characters switched throughout the story. When playing as Jill, I played a little more cautiously and strategized my way through a map conserving bullets and religiously watching my health. As Carlos, on the other hand, I rushed into rooms full of zombies mowing them down until I realized that I just wasted all of my ammo, but still, I felt unkillable for a time.

The point being, I didn’t feel like one character outweighed the other. They each added benefits to the game, and I believe the experience was made better by the way this was handle. It shows the developer taking the lessons they’ve learned over the years and blending the two to create a unique experience that only Resident Evil 3 can provide and works surprisingly well.

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The relationship between Jill and Carlos plays closely to what fans remember from the first Resident Evil 3, well, without Carlos’s heavy accent, which I’m sure all the foxy ladies will miss. Still, they both help each other out, and them being there for one another makes sense after what they’ve been through. What helped their relationship feel real is just how beautiful the character animations are. Jill uses her face so much to express her feelings, and it really adds tension to the room. It’s these subtle scenes that make it feel like you are playing through a movie. Speaking of which, there are a lot of cutscenes here. During gameplay, expect to have the controls taken away from you during many of the early encounters with Nemesis. Don’t worry, though; you’ll get your revenge sooner or later.

The development team are masters of environmental design. Resident Evil 3 features some of the most intercut and beautiful set pieces that I have ever seen in a game. They’ve crafted a world that you can’t help but explore and look at every little detail. Like in the previous game, you can expect a few references to classic movies and even classic Capcom games sprinkled around as small easter eggs.

However, Resident Evil 3’s puzzle design is way more straight forward than its predecessor’s use of collecting keys and cracking locked boxes. Sure, those still appear, but they are way easier to figure out with a little bit of looking around or searching through notes. Ultimately, nothing will leave you scratching your head or slowing you down from progressing.

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Zombies this time around are just as ruthless as before. However, now you have a dodge machinic that slows-down time and gives you a chance not to take damage. This ties into the more action-oriented mechanics, but I’ll take anything I can get to survive against Nemesis. Multiple enemies appear throughout the game that will challenge you and your ammo conservation skills. I also appreciated that the knife doesn’t break in this entry, because there’s no better follow up attack to a fallen zombie.

Nemesis is a beast in its own category. This guy will just not let up and will follow you almost nonstop throughout this adventure. There are several times where you’ll have to face him one on one, but that won’t stop him from showing up and tracking you down right when thought you got rid of him. He’s annoyingly intimidating and always managed to ruin any peace of mind I had during this nightmare. Often, fights with him require some bit of quick thinking to use of the environment against him, which I found engaging.

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Resident Evil 3 has a lot of different ammo types and weapons to collect, which means inventory managing is something that must be done here. However, on harder difficulties, this wasn’t so much of a problem since I rarely had inventory to begin with. There’s also an assist mode that will significantly help you during a fierce encounter if you turn it on. After dying a few times, the game will ask if you want it enabled.

Like most Resident Evil experiences, the campaign is rather short. I beat it in a little over five hours my first time through in one night. However, the important thing I should mention is how quickly I started a new game after I beat it. You are scored and given points to unlock new items each time you complete the campaign. This provides different experiences every time the credits roll. However, the full price for this short of an experience might be a little more than some fans can stomach, but after my fourth time through the game, I still feel like playing it again.

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Resident Evil 3 is a heart-pounding nightmare that blends survival horror and action elements perfectly with the help of its two protagonists. There’s so much to explore and discover during every moment of this thriller that it’s easy to forget about the horrors that await just around the corner. However, the limited puzzles and short length make it tough to justify the full price. But, like a zombie hungry for brains, I can’t seem to get enough of this game.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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Azario Lopez

Hanging out max, relaxing all cool.