Resident Evil 3 Remake: More survival horror excellence worthy of GOTY chatter
Had Resident Evil 2 not already been lauded for its dramatic recreation of the horrors within Raccoon City, it's quite possible that Resident Evil 3 could be in the running for one of 2020's possible Game of the Year contenders.
Which isn't to say the Resi 3 Remake isn't of that substantial-quality, because it very much is. However, like the original release, it's easy to see how the game might be overlooked for being more of the same.
Whilst that's unlikely to be a problem for ardent fans of the series who'll lap up the sumptuous remake at launch, we pray it doesn't dissuade casual gamers who might be thinking of saving the cash for another release this year.
And with the likes of DOOM Eternal, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, Cyberpunk 2077, The Last of Us Part 2 and so many more 'must-buy' games, it's easy to see how that could happen.
Especially with Resident Evil 3 always having the whiff of DLC passed off as a full game.
But here's the thing. Resident Evil 3, like 2019's remake, is most definitely a 'must-buy' game and it's not in any way a glorified add on.
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For the most part, the games main mechanics are blow-for-blow like Resident Evil 2, only now we have the hulking Nemesis chasing you down from time to time.
He's faster, more agile and all the more frustrating that the ominous Mr X who pursued you in Resi 2.
That aside, If you found yourself enjoying the 4K makeover of Raccoon City and the shuffling undead, you're likely to enjoy everything that Resi 3 serves up for you.
And no matter how many playthroughs of Resi 2, it still doesn't prepare you for every jumpscare or nightmare scenario you're faced with.
Once again, ammo is hard to come by, making every fleeting encounter on the streets all the more difficult. Should you stand and fight, or run and save the ammo.
Of course, the one big plus is the addition of a constant knife to call on. But it's scant help when faced with 2 or more zombies backing you into a corner.
Our playthrough begins roughly 30 minutes into the game. We can't say for certain because Resi 3 is not beat for beat exactly like the original. There is some wiggle room, and we'd venture a guess that the start is somewhat different too.
Where we pick up with Jill Valentine she only has a handgun and a knife, the city, for what it's worth, is slightly different to what we've seen in Resi 2. Taking place near the start of the outbreak means some shops are not bloodbaths yet and there's ample lighting on the streets to guide you as you weave between the undead.
Most of this early section is fairly standard for the series. By that we mean there's puzzles, items and more to be collected if you dig deep enough across the map.
It's the sudden and abrupt appearance of the Nemesis from time to time that really throws a spanner in the works and turns your mild tension into a full-blown cardiac arrest.
As we alluded to before, Nemesis is not Mr X. Far from it. He's a bigger pain in the arse which is twice as difficult to shake.
And despite being pursued outside, in what is largely open-spaces (at least by Resident Evil's standards) never has the map felt so claustrophobic. And to good effect, because it feels as though the Nemesis is constantly on top of you in his pursuit.
Away from the busy streets of Raccoon City, we're treated to two small sections which help ensure the tension takes on an altogether different guise.
In one instance, when navigating an infected power station that's become the home to some sticky spider-like creatures, it's pure body horror that all but scares you stiff. You know you need to head into progress, but you'll need some big daddy breaths before doing so.
The second area, underground in the sewers, is slightly more calmer, but not before the hulking great Hunter γ creatures appear to ruin your day.
They're supremely ugly, but also slow and ponderous and provided you've saved some shotgun shells, are not all that tricky to fell.
If you wildly shot everything in sight previously and have little to no ammo, well, good luck because you'll need it.
In truth, both sections are a welcome breather from the frantic streets or constant footrace against the Nemesis. But they're far from enjoyable, that's for certain.
After managing to escape the sewers, we're once again sprinting to avoid the Nemesis who's hot on our heels.
Our playthrough came to a close with one final confrontation with the Nemesis, who manages to chase Clair up some sort of building site before a dramatic 1 v 1 on the roof.
It's only here where our time and enjoyment with Resident Evil 3 starts to wane ever so slightly, with the boss battle feeling every bit the atypical 90's boss battle we'd hope the game might have moved on from.
Of course, health, ammo and more is scattered across the roof. Naturally, there are two convenient stacks of crates to provide some separation between yourself and the monster so you can get off some potshots.
Yet after a fabulous few hours with the game, full of fear, trepidation, scares and sheer terror at what might grab you next, the final clash – at least for this section of the game – felt a little underwhelming.
Maybe that's the nature of bullet sponge bosses like the Nemesis. Brutal creations built to take a beating. But it's a somewhat sour – and brief – note to an otherwise fantastic recreation of the game from the late '90s.
Is it enough to put us off the game entirely? Certainly not.
Knowing that our gung ho approach and countless grenade launcher rounds still won't have finished the job, we simply can’t wait for the full release to see how the rest of the game pans out; and test ourselves against the Nemesis all over again.
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