Firstly, I just want to say that I do enjoy the game, but in thinking about it for this review, I can't help but conclude that Resident Evil 3 remake has some fundamental issues that has caused the whole experience to be, well, a little underwhelming to me.
Resident Evil 3 remake follows Resident Evil 2's recent remake, which was excellent in almost every way. RE2's remake redefined how survivial horror games could work, and managed to walk that fine line between staying faithful to the original and reinventing the gameplay from fixed isometric perspectives to true third person action. As such I was really excited for Resident Evil 3 remake.
Unfortunately, the treatment RE3 has gotten in this remake just seems different in a few unfortunate ways. The game takes place before the events of Resident Evil 2, and sees you take control of Jill Valentine or Carlos Oliveira before Raccoon City had fully fell. As such, you see the city in a different light, with areas of the city still fully intact. You'll even encounter civilians running around, as you watch society collapse around you.
Raccoon City really shines in this game as a result. I felt like it was much more immersive than I've experienced before, even the original, and it really gets you invested into the events of the game. The quality of the environments in this game are really something else, and give the game a truly immersive and gritty feeling.
Sadly, the negatives start for me when it comes to the gameplay. Even though its called a survival horror, it feels more like a third person shooter to me, being far more action heavy compared to Resident Evil 2 remake, and as such it seems to lack a lot of the subtle psychological moments I loved that built tension and truly made you feel anxious.
The game is extremely combat heavy, for example, the game has a new dodge combat mechanic which comes from the original Resident Evil 3, but dialled up to 12. Dodging makes certain enemies and bosses feel far too easy, and as such they lack the tension that RE2 remake induced. Dodging can easily be abused, too, even at a harder difficulty, which really ruins the game for me. Overall, movement feels quicker and more fluid and takes away that sense of slow moving, trying to escape tension that RE2 remake had in spades.
Nemesis on the other hand has issues all of his own. He only appears at pre-set scripted moments rather than hunting you randomly like he does in the original. The AI seems so basic and bizarre, and seems to just follow pre-scripted events. Weirdly, he wont even follow you into buildings at times, instead just weirdly staring at you through the window like a creepy uncle. Weirdly he's so easy to knock out, too, and drops really high power items when you do. It's really weird and takes away the entire novelty of Nemesis for me, spoiling the biggest attraction about the game.
Even more of an issue is just how short this game is, and there is a lot, and I mean a lot, of cut content compared to the original. The game feels way too short, clocking in at around 5 hours of gameplay in a typical run-through. There's a lot of significant content missing, not just small moments. One example is the clocktower puzzle, an iconic moment from the original which is entirely absent here, a decision of which I don't understand at all. In fact, puzzles are all but gone from this game, which I find hugely disappointing. It seems the game wanted to purely focus on action combat.
Mercenaries mode is also missing from the original, a mode which let you just run around shooting zombies for as long as you liked, and given how short the game is, it would have been nice to have that mode back at least to help fill out the content. It does have a multiplayer mode to make up for this to some degree though.
Overall the game is still good fun but, for me, fails to live up to both the original and the quality of Resident Evil 2 remake. I'm not sure how Capcom have failed to continue the momentum of Resident Evil 2's remake, and I hope it wasn't due to rushing development, but in any case, unless you're a massive Resident Evil fan, you might want to wait for a sale before picking this up.