This isn’t your daddy’s Resident Evil 3

 

While I love the remakes of Resident Evil, I am always up for a new game in the franchise that retains classic game play elements. So in a way, Resident Evil 3make is both good and bad. While it modernizes the control mechanics, what it doesn’t give us is an overhaul of the graphics of the original PS1 game with some new areas to beef up the game, as the Resident Evil and Resident Evil 2 remakes did. Other than Nemesis pursuing Jill throughout the game, this is virtually an entirely different experience. It is a lot of fun because it is all new, but there’s just too much to miss about the original game, which means I can’t help but feeling disappointed. It’s been nearly 20 years since I played my first Resident Evil game: Nemesis. It remains my absolute favorite of the series and I was longing for an upgraded version. As it stands, this release leaves the opportunity for an actual remake along the lines of RE2 remake some day.

Obviously the game was rushed out within a year of the RE2 remake success. I would gladly have waited two or even three years if RE3make had been given the same treatment as RE2. Instead we get what feels more like a short branching game like Revelations or Operation Raccoon City. It is hard to justify the 60-dollar price tag unless you play the hell out of the bonus game Resistance, but that is only an online game. Although one person controls the baddie in this bonus game, it’s a shame they didn’t make a single player, offline version as a consolation prize for the slimmed down RE3.

Raccoon City looks entirely different in RE3make. And because this is an action game, alleys and streets don’t feel as desolate or claustrophobic. Gone are all those magnificent, cinematic camera perspectives that made the classic RE games look and feel like horror movies. There are loads of alleys and new stores to explore, as well as new characters—as well as subtle overlaps with moments from the RE2 remake. It kind of makes you wonder—did Tyrant and Nemesis ever run into each other on the street?

Of course the music score is not the same, which is as much of a blow as it was with RE2 remake. Only difference is, we were given DLC that brought back the original RE2 score, which vastly improved the experience for me. While doing the same for this sequel seemed like a no-brainer, I don’t think it’s going to happen. My heart aches for the RE3 save room music—my favorite save music in the entire series. I swear, whenever I saved in RE3make, I thought I faintly heard this melody in the background, but I don’t know if it’s really there or just a ghost in my mind.

 

Gone are the crows, giant worms, giant spiders (why does Capcom refuse to bring the spiders into the modern era?), the clock tower, and the biggest loss of all for me—the park. The park was so damn eerie despite those fricking snakes dropping every time you ran by the water. I’ll never forget the first time I encountered a lone zombie just swaying in the breeze on the edge of a boarded walkway in the middle of the park’s vegetation. Eek!

Most importantly, how has Nemesis changed, if at all? For starters, his “S.T.A.R.S.!” war cry is a lot less booming and ominous. There were times I could hardly hear it. On the bright side, his chases aren’t as relentless as Tyrant’s in RE2, so he doesn’t get in the way of you achieving your objective. Instead he basically chases you right to it, which triggers the end of his chase and your movement on to the next part of the game. His sudden appearances do make for some good jump scares, and this time he ends up with a heat-seeking gun that you have to avoid. Also, I discovered that if you take him down temporarily (grenade works best), he drops a suitcase you can run by and pick up (really fast before he rises). When you get to safety, check it out and you’ll find gun upgrades inside! In essence, it’s worth it to take him down every time you encounter him.

Naturally I played the game on easy, which is heavenly (because I’m your daddy and this isn’t my Resident Evil 3). The enemies go down faster (still takes quite a few shots), ammo is more plentiful, and you heal a bit automatically as you continue on. There are item boxes and typewriters in save rooms, and the greatest news is that there are no ink ribbons. You can save infinitely. There are also 20 bobbleheads hidden throughout the levels that you can shoot or slash with your knife, but all you get is a stupid trophy. Yawn.

Aside from just lying around in the open, supplies can be found in breakable crates and locked cases and lockers that you can open once you find the lock pick, which means backtracking eventually to try to remember everything you missed. Luckily the map labels items in their locations, and leaves rooms red until you’ve completed everything you can in them, at which point they turn blue. Items can also be discarded if you need to make room in inventory, but most of the time a save room is nearby, so you’re better off just running back there to dump items in the box so you can collect the new stuff to add to your arsenal. Expansion pouches can be found as you progress to give you more item slots, but unfortunately you seem to find them just as you are upgrading weapons, causing them to take up two slots rather than one. Dammit. Also, certain key items needed for specific tasks will tell you when you can discard them, but not by the text prompt we’re used to. Instead a little trashcan icon appears next to the item in your inventory. Health and ammo can be picked up as is, or you can collect gunpowder and herbs to combine in various ways to make different supplies.

Despite having the over-the-shoulder perspective rather than the old tank controls, this feels very much like RE, with a quick turn, a dodge button (that I always forgot to use), map, inventory, and reload buttons, trigger combos for aiming and shooting, and quick change weapon slots on the directional pad.

You begin the game as Jill—in her apartment! Awesome. It’s first person for this brief opening, but switches to third person as soon as all hell breaks loose and you have to go out into the city. It’s hard not to notice that Jill bears a striking resemblance to the movie franchise’s heroine Milla Jovovich in this game, especially the hair. Wonder if that was intentional.

Once you are in the city, don’t expect to know where to go, because I can’t stress enough that nothing is familiar here. There are barely any puzzles (maybe two at most that are essentially figuring out the right order in which to press buttons), so it’s mostly a run and fetch game in foreign territory. The zombies make it feel more like home, but be warned—they are really good at sneaking up on you and grabbing you. There’s an X button press opportunity to shake them off, but I have no idea if it actually ever worked, because I got a biting cinematic every single time one grabbed me. Not sure if that’s standard or if there is a pushing them away cinematic without a bite.

The game is quite clearly broken down into areas and missions. The first is to get the power going again for the subway. This is the part in which you run around the city the most. There’s an icky area in which giant cockroach things come after you, Nemesis chases you a few times, and eventually you encounter zombies with splitting faces and tentacles more reminiscent of RE4. And it wouldn’t be Resident Evil without those damn dogs, which are just as hard to target as ever.

Next is a short segment in the sewers (not complaining. I hate the sewers). No spiders, but there are these two-legged slug creatures that are one hit kills. So annoying. The game does make sure you score a grenade launcher to deal with most of these—after you’ve already been eaten by the first one in one big gulp.

Once you get to the police station it’s hard not to notice that the terror you felt when you first played the original RE2 and RE3 returns because you know how scary the police station is. Encountering lickers in narrow halls alone brings on that feeling of dread. Sadly, this segment is super short and only has you do a few things in one wing of the police station, and you don’t get to access any of the areas that were closed off in RE2 remake. WTF? Oh, and most importantly, you play the whole section as Carlos, not Jill. Don’t you just hate when you’ve spent half a game building up your inventory only to wake up as a different character with no damn supplies? Although I’d be glad to wake up as Carlos any day.

Next, it’s a new area, and the most expansive section in the game. You’re at a hospital! This is when you finally encounter Hunters for the first time. You’re still playing as Carlos, and his segment ends with a damn protection challenge. Zombies pour in through windows and you have to fight them off for a certain amount of time—in which Hunters eventually join in on the fun. Argh! I used up absolutely every last bit of ammo I had and just made it through this challenge. Once Carlos has done all the work, you’re Jill again and can just run around the hospital collecting everything you missed as Carlos.

You then move on to an underground facility. It’s quite a maze of stairs and lifts, and the goal is to find three fuses. A new raw mutant zombie you meet takes more bullets than regular zombies, but it’s still not that hard to kill (on easy).

It’s a shock when you at last reach “The Nest” to find it’s the absolute smallest damn lab you’ve ever encountered in a Resident Evil game. It’s a very straightforward final mission to make a serum, there’s a central save room, and the branching hallways don’t go very far. It seriously feels like this game was super rushed.

Finally there are two boss battles with save rooms in between each. The first boss requires a lot of ammo, not only to kill the boss but also to take down the damn zombies that show up to make things annoying. The final boss is virtually not a battle. You do have to hit the pulsing sacks on the boss a few times to put him out for a moment while you charge a massive gun, but it’s a quick task and then you end the game with a blast or two of the super charged weapon. It’s hard not to feel unsatisfied as the credits role. You know playing the game again will bring no surprises, but I do know one thing that would make it worth a replay: the original music as DLC.

Once you complete the game you open up a shop where you can buy items for a second play through, using points you earned by accomplishing certain tasks in the game. As far as I’m concerned, unless the shop sells the original soundtrack…who cares?

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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