Given that we are all in the grips of a virus outbreak that’s crippling the world, it seemed only fitting that the next review I post be that of one that involves a virus outbreak that turns people also into mindless zombies (this one however doing so more directly). I bring you all once again back to Racoon City for the re imaginings of the 3rd instalment of the Resident Evil saga.
For those of you that don’t know, the game focuses around that of S.T.A.R.S member Jill Valentine months after the the mansion incident that brought the poor health and safety standards of Umbrella Inc. to light. This is further proven as the infection spreads to that of the local populous of Racoon City. Now Jill must escape the city while being relentlessly perused by the bio-weapon Nemesis who’s sole purpose is the eradication of S.T.A.R.S.
Most of you will be well aware of my affinity with the Resident Evil series. Still giving that, I went into this game with a bit more caution then I did with RE2 as I wasn’t expecting lightning to strike twice in the same franchise so soon. Low and behold I was right to be cautious as the game does fall a bit short when compared to the previous one. It’s not that it’s bad, on the contrary it’s rather good. I just wish there was more of it to enjoy. It is awfully short, I was able to complete the game in about 4hrs on my first attempt followed by just under 3hrs on my second. This wasn’t even me trying to beat the game as quickly as possible. The game feels like it’s the bits of RE2 that ended up on the cutting room floor mashed together with a few noticeable RE3 elements thrown in so it can be branded as such. True, the game is about the same length as one of the scenarios in RE2 but at least there was 4 scenarios to bulk the game out as well as the last survivor games as well. There isn’t even a remake of the Mercenaries mini-game from the original to unlock new weapons and the like. I know that the game is packaged with the Resident Evil Resistance multiplayer game but in all honesty I had and still have absolutely no interest in playing it. I’d rather they have put the extra effort into fleshing RE3 a bit more. Maybe have a second scenario where you play the game from Carlo’s perspective.
Just like the RE2 remake before it, it has a beautiful aesthetic behind it. Both the graphics and sound quality make the game just as immersive. Although RE3 does feel a lot more action based than that of RE2. Where RE2 is set in 2-3 different locations with jumping back and forward between them, RE3 doesn’t keep us in the same areas for long and rarely allows for revisiting old areas. This idea of a more action based game is reinforced with the new bells and whistles added from the last instalment. Unlike Leon and Claire, Jill is able to parry and counter some enemy attacks when timed right leading to more opportunities to stand and fight your enemy even when ammo is scarce.
The next big difference is that of Nemesis himself, much like Mr X in RE2 he will follow you around the map like he wants to talk to you about Jesus, although Nemesis is much more persistent than that of his predecessor, being harder, better, faster and stronger. Should you take Nemesis down at least for the interim, you are treated to some goodies usually in the form of weapon upgrades, a lot of which come in handy as enemies and Nemesis himself become harder.
Now for my final thought. The more I think about it and the more I write this, the less I enjoyed the game. I remember the early days of survival horror, the likes of Silent Hill and the original Resident Evil teaching us subtly and that “less is more”. The atmosphere of the game did draw me in but the action was that constant that the game didn’t give me the opportunity to lure me into a false sense of security, make me believe that I can step out the next door without worry. I find the best way to create atmosphere in a game is to keep them guessing. The less you see of an enemy the scarier it becomes. Nemesis was always there, relentless in his pursuit. Mr X however, you could get away from him loose him for a while only to walk through a door and find him staring at you from the other end of the corridor. That as a metaphor is why I prefer RE2 to RE3.