In 2019, Capcom found success and a resurgence in their flagship franchise with their Resident Evil 2 remake. Now we are only a short time away from the release of Resident Evil 3 (RE3) and with that comes a demo for players to take a bite out of. Many fans have been eagerly awaiting its release because, up to this point, it has been the only mainline title in the series without a release of some kind during this generation of consoles. Unfortunately, the segments of the demo feel like a retread of what we received in the previous remake and does so in a very quick and truncated way that makes it difficult to really immerse yourself into it. It won’t win you over if you’re new to the series, but if you enjoyed the Resident Evil 2 (RE2) remake then there may be something to look forward to here.
Through the RE3 demo, you take control of Jill Valentine as she navigates the chaotic streets of Raccoon City looking for survivors while avoiding the hordes of zombies and the looming threat of Umbrella Corporation’s hulking bio-weapon Nemesis. You don’t get a whole lot of story set-up beyond that and you’re thrown directly into a mission. You do get to meet your allies, Carlos and Mikhail, very briefly before immediately parting ways with them. Although Carlos does stick around a bit longer and offers a bit of guidance to Jill and the player through an earpiece. From the little bit that we were given, I do really like the direction they are going with Jill and this version of Carlos so I am eager to see how they re-contextualize both of them this time around.
Visually, everything in the RE3 demo is amazing. From the character models to the zombie-ravaged streets and alleys. The streets are littered with debris and advertisements for in-universe businesses and even films. It adds a lot of character to the environment and is very welcome given that so much of the game will take place within these varied areas. I’m very much looking forward to finding little hidden nooks and Easter eggs that Capcom is always known for including for its fans. Everything you come across just has a flare to it and there is a lot to look at to differentiate from the police stations and mansions that we’re often used to seeing in this franchise. Capcom once again shows that their RE Engine has been a powerhouse since it made its arrival with Resident Evil 7.
If you’re familiar with Capcom’s previous remake, then you’ll see that a lot of the elements have carried over from that iteration. The menu system, the map, and the controls overall are just about identical to RE2. The biggest change being a dodge feature that feels like something you’d come across in a character-action game like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. Unfortunately, headshots don’t hold much weight otherwise. As was the case with RE2, enemies are bullet sponges and I found myself nearly using entire clips to take down even the smallest and most inconsequential of enemies that populate the streets of Raccoon City. This was something I was hoping would not be included in this game as it was a point on contention for myself and many others In RE2. It still remains to be seen if this remake will take cues from the original game it’s based on and become more heavily reliant on giving out excessive amounts of ammo so you can dispatch everything coming your way.
Even as far as demos go, this one felt very short and was even shorter than Resident Evil 2’s. As a result, it was difficult for me to really hammer down exactly the tone and experience that we were getting here. Whereas RE2’s demo grabbed me instantly with what was taking place, RE3 Remake felt like it wanted to speed on through to the big reveal of Nemesis. This left very little room to breathe and take in exactly what this section of the world has to offer. Lore and world-building have been a staple of the Resident Evil series since it’s inception so having a truncated and sped-up experience made it feel a bit lacking for me. This is a demo, of course, and isn’t necessarily indicative of the final product. I just wanted more from it after having been spoiled and completely enthralled by its predecessor.
RE3’s demo may not have blown me away or made me more eager than I already was to play it, but the demo for RE3‘s long-awaited remake does a competent job of showing players what’s in store even if what’s in store isn’t groundbreaking or exciting. This demo won’t win you over if you were on the fence, but if you enjoyed the previous remake then you more than likely are already looking forward to this one. I am still excited for the full release and this hasn’t soured my outlook on the overall game. There is simply a very high bar that has been set by Resident Evil 2 that unfortunately was not crossed or even reached here. It all still remains to be seen what we’re in store for when the game is released in just over a week and hopefully the real nemesis of the game doesn’t prove to be high expectations.
RE3 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows April 3, 2020.