2019 started with a bang, with Capcom’s long-awaited Resident Evil 2 remake screaming into the gaming scene with universal acclaim. Perfect score, near-perfect scores, award nominations, you name it. The people loved Resident Evil 2 . Naturally, a remake of Resident Evil 3 followed. But while many fans were riding the wave of Resident Evil 2 hype to 2020’s follow-up, there’s a bit more to consider. It’s too early to say if the remake is any good or not, but it isn’t as much of a guarantee as its predecessor. Here’s why.
Resident Evil 3 , the original one, historically has a strange reputation. And it has a strange history, even for a Resident Evil game. The behind the scenes situation for each game in the series is a distinct nightmare, but Resident Evil 3 ’s history is truly messy. Capcom was following-up its massive hit Resident Evil 2 with multiple games, including a numbered sequel from Hideki Kamiya’s game set on a cruise ship, a spinoff set in Raccoon City, and what would eventually be Code Veronica . The ship game ended up being cancelled, and the spinoff project became the new Resident Evil 3 . Suddenly, an inexperienced team (including a new writer not familiar with the main plot at all) was in charge of a marquee franchise installment.
It turned out fairly well, with lots of praise for Resident Evil 3 ’s visuals, the Nemesis character, and the story’s branching paths. Critics and fans were less thrilled about some of the more action-oriented mechanics, such as dodging and ammo crafting. RE 3 did well enough, but was obviously treated as the beginning of Resident Evil ’s first decline, the one ultimately leading to Resident Evil 4 . And even then, many classic fans would argue Resident Evil lost its identity from there, something that wouldn’t truly be considered “back” until Resident Evil 7 , and especially the 2 remake. And as we approach the remake for Resident Evil 3 , I have to wonder if history might repeat itself in some ways.
It’s already apparent that Resident Evil 3 ’s remake will be upholding the action-ish roots of the original. Jill is still out here dodging enemy attacks, and taking the fight a little more directly to the zombie hordes. Also, you know, Nemesis is kind of unavoidable. The talent behind this game is also a big change, including several industry vets who were most recently doing work at Platinum Games. I’m not suggesting Resident Evil 3 will suddenly become Metal Gear Rising , but I am suggesting there may be some whiplash between what got RE 7 and 2 so much praise, and what RE 3 is at its core.
It also makes me a little nervous that Resident Evil Resistance is a part of the package. On its own, Resistance looks pretty cool, a contemporary return to concepts introduced in the Outbreak games. But while it was being teased out before Resident Evil 3 was even announced, it seemed like it would be its own thing. Resident Evil 3 was criticized in part due to how short its story was (albeit a story with multiple endings), as its single-disc, Jill-centric adventure directly followed the two-disc adventures of Claire and Leon. Not complaining about extra stuff to do, but it almost seems like a preemptive strike against that same talking point coming back up.
I’m not a Resident Evil 3 naysayer by any means. I actually never played the original game despite my Resident Evil fandom, but that’s kind of the point. Capcom has long brushed Resident Evil 3 aside, spending years revisiting the other games but barely nodding to 3 except for some real specific aspects (Jill’s outfit, Nemesis). It was well-received at the moment it came out, but to many fans it hasn’t held up as well as the others. This remake is a huge opportunity to repair RE 3 ’s reputation a bit, and I’m sure that’s been on the team’s mind. I just see how quickly Capcom seemed to jump on it after taking so long to greenlight Resident Evil 2 , and I see signs of old, hasty Capcom. I want to be wrong though, and have the gaming world singing praises of the true Resident Evil O.G., Jill Valentine.