We had S.T.A.R.S in our eyes playing Capcom's new survival horror
Poor Jill Valentine, after the events that occurred in the Spencer Mansion in the original Resident Evil, you'd think she was due a break from the nightmarish zombies, giant snakes and spiders, and that creepy Tyrant fellow... well, apparently not.
Deciding to stay in Raccoon City proved to be a bad choice for the heroine as the dreaded T-Virus has made its way into the city's main water supply, infecting potentially tens of thousands of civilians and turning them into the flesh-eating undead. In Resident Evil 3, we get to see Jill put her skills as a top S.T.A.R.S. member back into action.
It's been over 20 years since the original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis launched, and given the success of Capcom's Resident Evil 2 Remake, we were bound to see the third instalment revitalized. And so it did, the Resident Evil 3 Remake arrives on April 3rd, 2020, in all its remastered glory - and with Sasha Zotova as Jill's new character model.
We got hands on with the latest release in the survival horror series to see what Capcom had to offer following the great success of its previous remastered project.
Here's our review of the Resident Evil 3 Remake, and what it got right.
Intense survival horror
From the get-go, the Resident Evil 3 Remake gives you a brutal reminder of what awaits on the streets of Raccoon City and how the 'Pursuer' is going to make your life a living hell. As with the Resident Evil 2 Remake and the RE Engine, this game shares similar characteristics to its remastered predecessor - the zombies use the same movement patterns and, if you haven't played the previous game for a while or at all, you'll have to get used to these flesh eaters weaving around when you're trying to land a headshot.
A sound piece of advice that I'd give anyone in this game is to make use of your knife, which, unlike RE2, now has unlimited use. I found myself going through the motions of landing a few headshots on a zombie, who would then fall to the ground, and I would then stand a short distance away - near their feet - and begin slashing at their legs and torso.
If a zombie is due to reanimate, they'll do a little wiggle before they attempt to stand up. In most cases, they'd never get to above a crawling stance as the knife damage kills them off for good - so if you've got time, I'd definitely recommended this approach as it saves you tons of ammo.
I opted for the regular mode on my journey through the RE3 Remake - but if you need a helping hand and want to take a more 'tranquil' walk through the city, Assisted Mode (easy) offers assisted aiming, your health slowly regenerates after a certain amount of time, and you'll start the game with an assault rifle.
If you opt for hard mode, you absolute warrior, you'll find fewer item pick ups and enemies will deal more damage.
The inventory system is pretty much identical to RE2, and you can of course find extra hip pouches that gives you more space just in case you find yourself running back to save zones to deposit another red herb or 'fancy boxes' in storage.
It wouldn't be a Resident Evil game without a large array of mutated foes popping up here and there, and you'll be pleased to know that the Resident Evil 3 Remake is no exception. From the scuttling, face grabbing Drain Deimos in the substation power rooms to the agile zombie dogs howling in the streets, you're sure to find a good mix of enemies on your travels.
As expected, the Nemesis back... and if you haven't played the original Resident Evil 3 game, you're in for one hell of a ride. This seven foot tall Tyrant combined with a parasitic lifeform puts you on edge from the opening 20 minutes of the game, right up to the big confrontation at the end of the campaign.
If you played the Resident Evil 2 Remake, there's a similar vibe about the Nemesis to that of the fedora wearing Mr. X, they're both Tyrants after all, however the Nemesis is much stronger, quicker and brings a selection of weapons to the fight.
Running away from the Nemesis isn't enough, this creature can launch forward with attacks from mid range, and I've lost count of the amount of times it's punched me in the back of the head. Nemesis also has the ability to leap in front of you, cutting off entrances to buildings and forcing you to face it head on - the sound option in these scenarios is to use nearby traps to stun him or perform dodges (more on these features below).
Due to the parasite thriving within its body, the 'Pursuer' also has a few extra tricks up its slimy mutated sleeve. Not only can it form a tentacle-like limb from its arm to grab you - pulling you to the floor and making you vulnerable to a follow up attack - it can also pass its parasitic virus onto nearby zombies, which stand out among the crowd with a large parasite attached to their heads.
These zombies are tricky to take down, especially if you're being pursued by the Nemesis and other zombies within close proximity. They have one weak spot, a yellow eye, but its mouth/trap covers this for protection - you have to shoot the body to open up said trap in order to kill it... or send it packing with the grenade launcher!
Those of you who played the RE2 Remake post-release content 'The Ghost Survivors' will recognize the next eerie foe that I'm talking about, the Pale Heads. These monstrosities show up in the latter stages of the game and can move much quicker than the trademark zombies seen before.
Plus, they also have the ability to regenerate after being damaged, much like those creepy ass Regenerators in Resident Evil 4. You'll go through a ton of ammo if you try to take them down with a pistol, so try to use the Magnum, shotgun or grenade launcher instead.
Another big change from the original is the extra time you'll get with secondary playable character Carlos Oliveira, a U.B.C.S. mercenary and all-round good guy, as it turns out. You take control of Carlos on two pretty lengthy spells, one in your return to the Raccoon City Police Department (no Mr. X thankfully), and the second during your 'stay' at the Raccoon City Hospital.
The latter is where Carlos faces one of the game's creepiest and strongest non-boss enemies, the Hunter β. Unlike the sluggish Hunter γ variant that Jill faces in the sewers below the city, the Hunter β is an agile frog-like monster that can one-hit kill you with its devastating leaping swipe attack.
The shotgun and grenade launcher are suitable weapons against this Hunter breed as their weak spot (the head) is rarely in sight, given the fact that they dash from side to side and generally move a great pace.
There's one point in the hospital where you'll have to fend off zombies in an isolated reception, similar to the horde-like modes that we've seen in various games over the years. This really tests your combat skills and awareness within such a small, zombie-filled space and, unfortunately, there are no wooden boards this time around to barricade those windows!
You may not head to every location from the original game or face every enemy, but the Resident Evil 3 Remake still amplifies that intense survival horror that you're craving.
Oh good, you saw the note above about more information below...
As well as a glorious remastered makeover thanks to the RE Engine, there are some significant changes from the original RE3 game, as well as tweaks from the RE2 Remake. Firstly, the Resident Evil 3 Remake has scrapped the tank controls and fixed camera angles from RE3: Nemesis and has followed suit from the RE2 Remake and newer entries in the franchise - with a third-person, over the shoulder view.
These are pretty huge changes compared to the original, and players who have made the jump from the old school games to the brand new remake will feel as if they're playing a completely new game. But those who played the previous remake will still find subtle changes in this latest release, and they're pretty cool too.
Jill and Carlos both have a standard slow run/jog which is okay for escaping standard zombies, but not much else. Instead of trying to escape everything, sometimes you'll need to get up close and personal in order to get past enemies, or line up a good opportunity to take them down.
This is where the new dodge mechanic comes in handy. Jill can perform a dodge at any time, but performing one just before an enemy leaps at you will activate a short window where time slows down - giving you the opportunity to leg it or turn and shoot your off-balance enemy.
Carlos's dodge is actually more of a shoulder barge and, if performed as a counter at the right moment, will send most enemies flying back - regardless of their size - giving you the chance to fire off some rounds.
There also new traps which feature in the RE3 Remake, and they come in handy when trying to take out or slow down multiple enemies. The barrels, when shot, explode and torch nearby zombies (we like them crispy) while the small electric generators shock enemies and subdue them for short period of time, including the Nemesis.
A nice addition, post-completion, is the Store that opens up on the main menu, giving you the chance to use XP earned by completing missions in the campaign and spend it on goodies. There's the chance to add an extra Hip Pouch for more inventory space on your next playthough, as well as special coins that increase your defense, attack or regeneration skills when held.
You can also unlock some new weapons, some with infinite ammo, and there's even the classic Jill Valentine outfit from the original Resident Evil - back when she nearly became a, you know, Jill Sandwich!
There's no Mercenaries mode to greet you on the main menu after completing RE3, but there's still plenty to sink your teeth into, even if you haven't completed the story.
Teased as Project Resistance months before launch, Resident Evil Resistance is the new 4v1 online multiplayer mode which pairs you up with three other survivors looking to get the hell out of dodge, while a solo player takes on the role of a Mastermind, who possesses the ability to lay traps and set undead monsters on the wannabe survivors.
Let's start with the Mastermind; the player in this role chooses one of four currently available Mastermind characters - Daniel Fabron, Annette Birkin, Alex Wesker or Ozwell E. Spencer. Each Mastermind has their own specific traits and sets of cards, which can be used to add creatures into the battle.
Daniel Fabron was one of my favorite Masterminds to use as he is the only one who can take personal control of a Tyrant (Mr. X to some of you) - while Annette Birkin is also a good option as you can call on her 'beloved' husband, Dr. William Birkin, to aid you in battle in his monstrous G-Virus form - who you can also control yourself.
You can even use additional boost cards to fire up your army of undead during conflict, such as the Berserker Enhancer, which fires darts at creatures making them go crazy.
As for the survivors, you can choose from a number of current playable characters who all bring unique attributes to the table. Samuel Jordan and Becca Woolett have a heavy focus on damage; Valerie Harmon and Martin Sandwich are support players and have more of an understanding on healing and setting traps; while Tyrone Henry falls under the tank category, with a higher defense and close-quarter combat skills.
There's also January Van Sant, the only current character in the hacker category, who can impair and hack security cameras, which is great if you want to restrict the Mastermind's view of the zombie-infested arena.
The main objective, of course, is to escape the facility that you're trapped in, which is split into three separate areas. You'll need to escape within a certain amount of time, and your actions during the level will either lose or gain back much needed seconds.
Taking out enemies and traps will spare you some more seconds on the clock, but survivors who are killed and respawn will result in a chunk of time being taken away. Communication and teamwork is key in Resistance, you'd be surprised how difficult a few AI zombies or one Mastermind-controlled foe can be when you're in the rush - let alone when there are Lickers and all sorts of monsters tracking you.
It takes some getting used to, especially on the Mastermind side of things and ensuring that you've used the right tactics to suppress and separate the group of survivors, but you'll have a blast. It was certainly a surprise when Capcom first announced it, but it's certainly a welcome one.
The Resident Evil 3 Remake is another great entry in the series, and shows how a remaster can transform a classic 90s title and bring it to a new audience. With a vast area of the city to explore combined with new gameplay mechanics to help during combat, as well as introducing an intense 4v1 multiplayer mode to the mix, the RE3 Remake oozes replayability - and should keep things ticking over until the next RE project arrives (fingers crossed for Resident Evil 8).
SAM'S RATING: ★★★★
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