I was dropped in just after meeting Carlos for the first time and played for around 2 hours from there. Despite Racoon City being in a state of chaos, something that immediately stood out to me was how vibrant and alive it felt. I was constantly stopping to take in the details and it almost felt like every building was explorable and every item interactable – the returning explosive red barrels and electric boxes definitely were! Stopping to take in the scenery was often impossible though, and almost entirely misguided. Not only did I have to deal with what felt like nimbler and greater quantities of zombies than in RE 2, but I also had to make my way through tighter, winding paths and a maze-like collection of vehicles and barricades. Somehow, the city felt huge and alive, but at the same time claustrophobic and (I don’t mean this in a negative way) a nightmare to navigate. But the biggest threat, by far, was the arrival of the main event himself, the mechanic that Resident Evil 3 hangs its hat on: Nemesis.Fans of the original will remember the rocket launcher loving, S.T.A.R.S hunting pursuer, and his return in the Resident Evil 3 remake doesn’t disappoint. I won’t ruin what I imagine is one of his many surprise appearances, but it’s safe to say it’s both equal parts terrifying and entertaining. If you thought the constant threat of Mr. X was a stressful experience, then Nemesis could be borderline panic-attack inducing. Nemesis not only pursues and hunts you down (while spouting his ‘Stttaaaaaaarrrs’ catchphrase), but has the ability wield weapons, air drop out of nowhere, and – perhaps most terrifyingly – sprint towards you at full pace like a rhino with a deathwish. Nemesis is as stressful as you remember it being, but graphically and mechanically so much more intense, often feeling like there’s no escape. I spent a good 20 minutes just being chased by the giant freak and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake the beast off until I triggered the next story beat. I’m not allowed to talk about the specifics, but he also has a couple of new tricks up his sleeve that make avoidance even more of a nightmare than it was in 1999.
So how do you stop an unstoppable monster? Simply put, you don’t. Much like the original, Resident Evil 3 puts a greater emphasis on manoeuvrability and this comes in the form of the quick step, a dodge button that lets you side-step almost all incoming attacks. The original featured something similar, but simplified to a counter that only worked when timed just right. In the remake, the quick step allows you at any point to make a sharp movement in any direction. Frankly, this move is your new best friend. It also has a timing element: by hitting R1 at the right time, the action slightly slows down and increases the distance of your dodge. Once mastered, it’s the ultimate avoidance tool. It’s invaluable for not only side-stepping Nemesis, but weaving your way through the aforementioned labyrinth of the undead.
Resident Evil 3
The quick step isn’t the only tool available to assist in Jill’s navigation. A slight, but much welcome change from Resident Evil 2 is the ability to quickly pick up items that you already have one of. No longer interrupting your escape with menu screens, the game allows you to grab that precious herb while still maintaining your velocity. It’s a small change, but one that’s incredibly important to maintaining your momentum and not taking you out of a life-threatening moment to stop and inspect some handgun bullets.
Not quite as well implemented is the return of Drain Deimos, which now appear at the electrical substation and serve only to annoy you in the extremely game-y task of transformer activation. It was a section that felt a little archaic and the only part that felt out of step with the rest of my highly promising playthrough. The Drain Deimos lacked any kind of intimidating presence or threat, but were very much the animation-breaking attack they were (unsatisfyingly) designed to be.
Having replayed the original Resident Evil 3 recently, it was a pleasant surprise to see that this isn’t just a beat-for-beat remake, and that care and attention has been made to not only modernise, but spice things up with unexpected moments and enemies. Nothing exemplified this feeling more than in the Racoon City sewer when I was greeted by the Hunter Gamma. Fans will remember that Hunter Gamma was an enemy that featured previously in Resident Evil 3, but instead of it’s anthropomorphic, frog-like appearance, the creature now takes the shape of a 7-foot, hideous blob fish with legs. Watching one lurking round the corner and ready to swallow me whole reminded me that the remake loves to honour its roots, but isn’t afraid to sprout something new and disgusting from them.
In many ways, Resident Evil 3 feels like more of the same, but when that “same” is the incredible Resident Evil 2 Remake, it’s hard to see this as a negative. With the inclusion of Nemesis and a greater emphasis on scale and maneuverability, Resident Evil 3 feels fresh enough to stand on its own and take an important (quick) step for the series.
Dale Driver is a Senior Video Producer for IGN and rumours suggest he may have shat his pants when Nemesis first arrived. Be thoroughly bored by following him Twitter at @_daledriver.