Resident Evil 3’s Next-Gen Upgrade Won’t Fix An Underwhelming Remake

I remember attending a preview event for Resident Evil 3 where Capcom had us play through a couple of hours of the survival horror remake. Little did I know at the time that I had already experienced almost half the campaign as part of this spooky showcase.

A Capcom representative poked me on the shoulder and asked me to stop playing at a certain point, expressing surprise that I’d made it through the preview section so quickly. I’m a massive gamer so all I could do was raise my hands and accept his generous praise, but that’s not the point here. They were right, though – I’m the best.

The point is that Resident Evil 3 is a short and underwhelming remake that feels like a glorified expansion to its predecessor. I saw half of the campaign in just two short hours at this event, and to be honest there wasn’t much more waiting for me in the finished product.

I couldn’t escape that potential thought as I stepped out of the demo kiosk and snacked on some tasty burgers the PR had provided, cementing myself as the journalist shill I truly am.

I know there’s plenty of speculation that Resident Evil 2 & 3 were developed simultaneously, and the decision was made during production to release them as individual products instead of a single package. If that’s the case, I can understand the decision (it all but doubled Capcom’s potential profits), but Resident Evil 3 isn’t nearly substantial enough to justify a premium price tag. It came packaged with a mediocre asymmetrical multiplayer experience in the form of Project Resistance, but the community tired of this quickly and long-term support from its creators soon became a thing of the past.

Even Jill Valentine’s badassery wasn’t enough to stave off my disappointment. The campaign was great, but it was so short, cut so many ideas from the original, and felt like it lacked the ambition of Resident Evil 2. Heck – we even revisit the Raccoon City Police Department but all the puzzles have been solved. It’s as if we’re just passing through, murdering zombies and searching for resources before the game gets bored and moves us along.

Ahead of launch it was theorised that Nemesis would take the place of Mr. X, stalking us throughout Raccoon City as an unpredictable horror we’d need to use a combination of wits and firepower to avoid. Instead, he’s reduced down to little more than a boring handful of cutscenes and boss battles that make him feel like a minor threat and nothing a handful of conveniently placed rocket launchers can’t deal with. Resident Evil 3 wasn’t scary, it was an action movie that railroaded us through familiar locations like it was in a rush to reach the credits. New characters and sequences not seen in the original game didn’t help matters either, especially when fans would rather see the return of old favourites instead of half-baked horde sections. Gosh, I’m getting bummed out just thinking about it.

Earlier this week Capcom confirmed that Resident Evil 2 & 3 will be coming to PS5, Xbox Series X/S later this year, with a free upgrade for existing owners. Awesome, those games are already gorgeous and will no doubt shine on new consoles with a few extra bells and whistles. Unfortunately it won’t fix Resident Evil 3’s dire length and unimaginative design. Resident Evil 2 is Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later while its sequel is Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, with the gap in quality so monumental that I can’t help but step back and ask what the hell happened. It felt like the first loss for Capcom in a streak of winners and makes me worry for whatever Resident Evil 4 Remake will end up being. Please don’t suck…

The finest graphics in the world won’t distract from a survival horror shooter that fails to capitalise on the brilliance of what came before it, or perhaps it was intended to work as a faster, more adrenaline-fueled companion in the same lineage instead of being pulled away to stand on its own. In that context Resident Evil 3 would have shined, but as a standalone product left to exist on its own merits, I can’t help but view it as inferior in almost every conceivable way. Jill and Carlos are both hot though, so I guess it isn’t all bad.

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