It’s fitting to say that the Resident Evil franchise is going through a second golden age. Ever since Capcom relaunched the franchise with Resident Evil VII in 2017, the game has gone from strength to strength. Last year saw the critical and commercial success of the Resident Evil 2 remake, one of the fans’ favorite entries in the franchise. Can Capcom continue the streak with Resident Evil 3? Read more below.
The story picks up between the original Resident Evil and 24 hours before the events of Resident Evil 2. The game opens up with old school full-motion videos of news reports about chaos ensuing in Racoon city. Players control Jill Valentine, a member of the elite Special Tactics and Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.) team involved in the mansion incident from the original Resident Evil.
Valentine is in her apartment when suddenly a behemoth breaks through the walls and attempts to kill her. This enemy is none other than Nemesis. The towering monstrosity is perhaps one of the most iconic villains of the franchise. Created by the sinister Umbrella Corporation, he has one mission and one mission only, to hunt down S.T.A.R.S. members from the Resident Evil mansion event.
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Resident Evil often tackles issues such as humans playing as gods, corporate greed and conspiracy. Typically, it’s the Umbrella Corporation at the receiving end of such commentary. The franchise repeatedly depicts Umbrella’s role in developing biological weapons only to cover up their missteps. However, in Resident Evil 3, concerns itself with escaping a corporate cover-up.
Resident Evil 3 never shies away from over-the-top cutscenes. These moments keep things interesting, while also helps in breaking up tense gameplay. Some of the cutscenes are visual set-pieces, filled with enough explosions, gore, and flames that would even make Michael Bay blush. The game’s flow maintains consistent fast-pacing that doesn’t detract.
The overlapping narrative is a unique story-telling method. It provides different takes on one engrossing conflict, which keeps the story interesting while remaining familiar at the same time. It also helps flesh out additional details of the same T-Virus outbreak.
In its heart, Resident Evil 3 is a modern reimagined survival-horror game. Gone are the days of the controversial tank controls. Instead, the game replaces it with an excellent over-the-shoulder perspective from 2019’s remake. Resident Evil 3 continues the trend of excellent camera and player movement. Animations feel fluid throughout and barely shrug.
The addition of a dodge mechanic is subtle but very useful in avoiding attacks. Another notable change is that knives no longer break in Resident Evil 3, unlike RE2. This may appear as a nerf, but in reality, knives no longer break up zombie grabs.
Resident Evil 3 is a much more linear experience than its predecessor. While some gamers despise backtracking, Resident Evil 2 did so in a clever way. The map was intuitive, marking areas that players potentially missed. The map still functions the same in Resident Evil 3. But since locations change frequently, it limits opportunities to go back and search for missing items.
This is unfortunate since the game’s most memorable area was the streets of Raccoon City. Within an hour, Raccoon City is done and dusted. The change in pacing means players blaze through the game compared to the previous installments. The overall game length considerably short, around six hours or so.
Unlike previous games in the franchise, there are no puzzles in Resident Evil 3. This makes gameplay feel more like an action title than a survival-horror game. This also loses the intended effects of Nemesis. He is a constant presence throughout the game, but in reality, he’s only a minor hurdle appearing in a few scripted sections. This contrasts Mr. X in Resident Evil 2, who relentlessly searched for the player in the RPD building. Causing enough of a ruckus will attract Mr. X’s attention, creating a sense of dread. This effect is not replicated in Resident Evil 3.
Graphics Art Style
Resident Evil 3‘s graphics continue to impress like its predecessors. Its art style is refreshed for modern days while remaining close to the source material. While Capcom took the liberty to revamp some of the character designs, they still remain somewhat in-line with the original, which helps maintain nostalgia. The game boasts excellent facial textures and animations, giving the cutscenes new depth and believability.
Hands down, the character models are some of the best in the industry. Fully fleshed out and filled to the brim with details. It’s impressive to see the RE Engine develop over the years. It’s quickly becoming one of the industry’s leading engines in terms of visual quality and performance. The streets of Raccoon City are lit with flashy neon signs and filled with minute details. This helps create a convincing impression that this place was once a spiraling urban center, which is now is reduced to chaos and mayhem.
Resident Evil 3 use of lights and shadows really pay off in the immersion department. Lighting, in particular, adds visual depth, giving a sense of realism to the overall graphical presentation. Shadows, in particular, are useful to subtly warn players of an impending enemy attack around a corner. On the PC version, some of the water reflections sometimes seem over-exaggerated. This doesn’t detract much from the overall visual aesthetics. Once again, Capcom hits it out of the park when it comes to graphics.
Audio & Music
Resident Evil 3 continues the strong audio quality from previous entries. Gun sounds feel powerful and filled with voluminous intent. Whether players are firing a pistol, assault rifle or grenade launcher, feel the weapon’s power when firing it.
In terms of music, again Resident Evil 3 sits in the shadow of its predecessor. It has the same style and overall toning expected from a Resident Evil title, however, didn’t translate the same sense of fear and tension as successfully as Resident Evil 2 did last year. This is probably likely due to the faster pacing and more action-oriented direction of Resident Evil 3.
There are fewer voice-overs this time, but lines are delivered well. Jill Valentine is voiced by Nicole Tompkins, and Carlos Oliveira by Jeff Schine. They do a good job of bringing out a bit more personality in their characters. They even managed to pull off lines during the cheesier moments in the game, which there are many. However, there are some instances in Resident Evil 3 where lip-syncing seems a touch off. This could drive audiophiles crazy.
Resident Evil 3 Final Thoughts
It’s difficult to divorce reviewing Resident Evil 3 from 2019’s entry. Since Resident Evil 2 was just released last year, it’s still fresh in the mind. Overall, Resident Evil 3 feels less refined compared to its predecessor. While the game continues the impressive gameplay and visuals from last year’s remake, making slight tweaks in the process, it also falls short in the story length and content. Average game time completion hovers around the six-hour mark. Fans of the series should pick it up, as the overall experience is rewarding. Casual fans can afford to wait a bit before buying it. In the end, Resident Evil 3, like the original from 1999, is a controversial, yet solid entry in the series.