It’s the age of viral infections (warning: dated review!) social distancing (warning: super-dated review!) and remakes and remasters of beloved games! As always, I’m pretty fond of these since if a game was great once it’ll probably be great a second time. That’s why I was so pleased with last year’s Resident Evil 2 remake, which took a classic formula and did a wonderful job updating it for a modern audience. I awaited the following remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (here condensed to Resident Evil 3) with bated breath.
Turns out I wasn’t disappointed! Well, I was…kind of, the same way that you’re disappointed when you’re out of dessert. Let’s talk about it.
Around the same time that the events of Resident Evil 2 are taking place, our heroine Jill Valentine finds herself with a pressing need to skip town, and quickly. She’s being chased by a horrible creature called Nemesis, y’see, and it’s not really taking the hint when it comes to leaving her alone. It wants her dead pretty badly, in fact. Jill will need to team up with new pal Carlos, from the completely-benevolent Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service, to hightail it out of Raccoon City, saving as many people as she can and avoiding as many zombie bites as possible.
If you’ve played that remake of Resident Evil 2, you should be prepared for the high-quality horror on offer here. This is survival horror in the classic sense, so ammunition and healing supplies are limited and surprising jump-scares plentiful. Avoiding baddies tends to be the order of the day, especially since modern zombies are a little more unpredictable and a little more lethal than their classic brethren. Other, more dangerous foes are on the patrol as well, with RE3 introducing a few newer, fishier and buggier opponents that might come as a surprise.
You’ve got a selection of five or so weapons, plus auxiliary throwing weapons, to fend these guys off, and you’re best served using them all in order to conserve ammunition. As before, combat feels nice and impactful, with your weapons dealing significant damage and enemy attacks feeling appropriately devastating should they land. That said, they should land a little less often thanks to a new sidestep technique that rewards careful timing with a quick lifesaving dodge. This is a nice perk that doesn’t make the gameplay too easy, since effective use of the dodge takes a ton of practice and doesn’t feel especially reliable until toward the end of the game.
Speaking of that, the end of the game is probably going to come a little sooner than you’d expect. Resident Evil 3 only runs for about six hours, with only four significant areas to explore and a handful of boss fights. On the one hand it’s reasonable that it would be difficult to keep up this level of quality for too long – and make no mistake, this is quality survival horror, with plenty of chills and action to go around.
On the other, well, the Resident Evil 2 remake lasted significantly longer and had two paths to play through besides. I realize it’s not really in vogue to criticize games for being too short these days, but RE3 definitely feels a little too short.
At least it’s great to look at and play. RE3’s a fantastic experience while it lasts. Both the console and PC versions look and sound amazing, with, as always, the edge going to the surprisingly capable PC version. Even a midrange gaming PC should have no trouble running RE3 at high settings and getting quite a bit of graphical performance out of the game. If you’ve got a choice between platforms, you’ll want to check this one out on Steam.
That said, it has to be repeated that Resident Evil 3 is a six-hour game by default. Playing on a higher difficulty or searching for secrets might extend things a bit, but it’s still disappointing when such a great game wraps up so quickly. While it’s not quite the immediate thrill ride its lauded – and fellow remake – predecessor was, hardcore Resident Evil fans and survival horror aficionados might not mind the small price-to-length ratio here, and there’s no denying it’s a lot of fun while it lasts. If you’re hurting for cash, though, it wouldn’t hurt to wait for a sale on this one.