Resident Evil 3 Remake has certainly been a divisive game since its release.
For some it felt like it was lacking, especially when compared to the more robust Resident Evil 2 Remake, which had come out just over a year prior.
For myself (and seemingly a handful of others), it was a really fun experience. There were plenty of unlockables; though there weren’t any extra modes like RE2 Remake had. Excluding the addition of the Resistance asymmetrical co-op mode, there wasn’t too much to cut your teeth on unless you liked blitzing through the game as fast as you could with your new game plus goodies; or challenging yourself on the intensely hard Nightmare and Inferno difficulty options.
All that aside, ironically enough, what Resident Evil 3 Remake failed to do was be a solid remake of the original game.
Having just finished a playthrough of the Dualshock version of Resident Evil 2 for the Playstation the other day, it’s been really easy to see just how faithful the remake of RE2 was. Nearly every single area, cutscene, character and dramatic moment you’d expect to be in the remake were there.
However, RE3 Remake just… simply decided to omit several key scenes, locations (the clock tower for instance, albeit a mention in a newspaper aside), substantial changes to character designs and motivations, swapping playable characters (Jill doesn’t even go to the Raccoon City Police Department in the Remake), among other things.
Now on paper, this doesn’t exactly paint RE3 Remake in a good light, huh? Sure, it’s easy to tear it apart since we have such an obvious comparison to make with RE2 Remake, though it comes down to a case that all remakes face:
Something familiar or something new?
Yes, I know this is kind of a floppy argument, but think about it from a business perspective. Resident Evil 2 Remake could not fail. Capcom knew the stakes were monumentally high, with fan expectations through the roof. The “A” team at Capcom Japan developed RE2R while the “B” team cranked away at RE3R. Now granted, that seems like it was setting up RE3R for disaster, but honestly, if YOU had to choose which game was more faithfully adapted, would you really pick Resident Evil 3? Perhaps, perhaps not. Now, I’m not justifying their choice or how short RE3R is in comparison to 2, but Capcom pushed for a multiplayer supplement for 3, so that’s likely why. Yes, ideally everyone would have gotten what they wanted out of RE3R, but I guess we didn’t, huh?
Another subject to kick around is whether a remake of a game should replace or co-exist alongside their original counterpart. Looking at the remakes of Resident Evil 1-3, you can certainly say the third is the black sheep of the bunch. In my eyes, Resident Evil Remake, the Gamecube original/HD remaster is a masterpiece. Beautiful pre-rendered environments with articulate attention to detail, solid character models/animations that stand the test of time and near perfect replication of the story and flow of the original, while tossing some new ideas into the mix for a terrifying (and critically acclaimed) experience. To me, Resident Evil Remake completely replaces the original. Sure, you miss out on some corny, yet charming dialogue and the “amazing” soundtrack of the Dualshock version; though for anyone looking to cut their teeth on the series for the first time, I always recommend REmake.
Practically every point I stated about REmake could be applied to RE2R as well. It possessed gorgeous environment design and characters thanks to their recent Reach for the Moon Engine (or RE Engine for short) which was used for Resident Evil 7: biohazard as well as Monster Hunter World. The atmosphere and survival gameplay were both gripping, pushing you to your wits end. You were never really sure when Mr. X/the Tyrant would come stopping your way. On the subject of Mr. X…
To me, one of the major gripes I saw people had with the gameplay of RE3R was that Nemesis was not as much of a problem as he was in the original game. Part of that is honestly thanks to Mr. X having taken that mechanic for RE2R. Perhaps Capcom didn’t want the “pursuer” type villain across two games back to back? That would make the most sense to me.
On the subject of core gameplay changes, the removal of the “Live Selection” mechanic from the original (among many other plot changes) left RE3R feeling incredibly linear. Now, I suppose the question to be asked is, “Is that a good thing?”. Personally, I really like the duality that RE2 and 3 Remake have. RE2R is a nerve-wracking, suspenseful nightmare where management of resources and knowledge of how to handle situations is key; while RE3R is more of a bite-sized, ‘beat it in one sitting’ sort of experience. Honestly, I really like that. Sometimes you don’t want to sit and stress your hair out over the threats ahead and instead just dodge and blast your way through a horde of zombies, with some light puzzles and item management on the side.
Ultimately, Resident Evil 3 Remake having the poor fan reception it did could be a good thing. Now hear me out – Resident Evil 4 Remake is likely on the horizon and the stakes are practically in space, they’re so high. RE4 is easily the most popular game in the franchise, so Capcom won’t pull any punches to make sure it’s a success.
Finally, to completely wrap my statements up into one sentence – Resident Evil 3 Remake is a fantastic game, but a horrible remake.
If you want to pick up the latest Resi Evil 3 – you’ll find it on the Xbox Store for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S. It’s also available on PlayStation and PC.