‘Resident Evil 3:’ Terrifying and exciting for new and old players alike

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Capcom’s next entry in one of its most popular franchises, “Resident Evil 3,” marks the return of Jill Valentine and one of the most iconic villains in video game history, Nemesis. 

“Resident Evil 3” is a remake of the 1999 game “Resident Evil 3: Nemesis” and was released on April 3, a little more than a year after the “Resident Evil 2” remake. There’s already been significant improvements in gameplay and visuals that make this game more fun than last year’s remake. 

The game follows the story of Jill Valentine, an operative in the special forces team known as S.T.A.R.S., and her fight for survival amidst the zombie outbreak in the fictional metropolis of Raccoon City. Along the way, she’s investigating the mysterious Umbrella Corporation’s ties to the manufacturing of the T-Virus which started the pandemic and cost the lives of millions. Players explore above and below Raccoon City in an effort to not only escape, but to find a vaccine to save lives. Along the way, Jill is consistently chased by a 7-foot-tall Umbrella bio weapon known as Nemesis, who will stop at nothing to eliminate all members of S.T.A.R.S.

“Resident Evil 3” is visually stunning, and this might be my favorite part about the game. In the beginning, I was absolutely floored by the particle effects of burning fires in the streets and the glowing neon signs of storefronts. The neon signs were captivating and helped breathe life into the city. This game is worldbuilding at its finest, with small details littered throughout the streets of Raccoon City that help tell the story of the outbreak.

I will add that the creative use of light was something that I hadn’t noticed before in video games. It’s obvious here that the developers used light to direct players toward objectives, useful items and weapons. For example, a single door might be illuminated in a dark alleyway, and on the other side of that door is a locked safe with a lamp shining its light on it. It’ll be obvious to players that they’ll need to find the code, since unlocking this safe will grant them a useful item, so it’s something for them to pay attention to while exploring the surrounding environment.

I was also really surprised by the realistic graphics of characters and enemies. However, I wasn’t entirely convinced by some of the voice acting. Cutscenes have cinematic camera angles that help tell the story and distance a player, or bring them into the moment. 

Similar to horror movies, this game relies heavily on its sound and music to build suspense and make players uncomfortable. It’s exhilarating, to say the least. The sound of Nemesis’ stomping feet in the distance warns players to keep moving and be cautious. The presence of high-pitched string instruments builds tension and will probably lead up to a jump scare. It isn’t until players reach the safe room and are greeted by its soft piano and solemn strings that they can experience relief, if only for a moment.

The gameplay itself has a lot of subtle nuances that make for a better experience. When Jill’s health reaches “Danger,” the screen will become black and white for a moment, and the edges of the screen remain that way until the player is able to heal themselves.  

Unlike in “Resident Evil 2,” players no longer have to worry about the combat knife’s durability or needing to use flash or hand grenades as defensive items against zombie attacks. Instead, “Resident Evil 3” makes use of the original game’s dodge mechanic and allows players to dodge out of a zombie’s grasp. In the case of a “perfect” dodge, players can trigger slow-motion for a few seconds that allow them to land some well-placed shots on an enemy.

However, the game does have a few shortcomings, including a really short playtime. I finished the game in two days, with my final playtime clocking in at under five hours. Although the story itself was well-paced, it felt like five hours was too short for a game being sold at $60. Aside from this, the writing felt mediocre to decent at best, with dialogue having a few too many cheesy one-liners that further make the game feel like a cheap action flick. Going along with this, the game does place more emphasis on the action instead of the franchise’s clever use of puzzles, which might make for a more enjoyable experience for some players.

With a little more emphasis on the action, “Resident Evil 3” is a worthy addition to the survival horror franchise. While it doesn’t do anything terribly innovative, improved gameplay makes it accessible to new players. It has a pretty good story, despite some characters feeling unnecessary. Above all else, the game is absolutely fun, if only for five hours. 

Rating: 4/5

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Brandon Barzola is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at brandon.barzola@uconn.edu.

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