Resident Evil 3

RELEASE DATEApril 3, 2020 (All Platforms)
PLATFORMSPlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC/Steam

Gameplay Video


Resident Evil 3 is not a game that I remember very well. It’s one of the very few that I’ve only played once or twice. I knew the gist of it going in, enough to be able to appreciate things that were different/changed around – but not quite enough to know every little change.

That being said – much like the Resident Evil 2 remake – you don’t need to have played the original to enjoy this game. It’ll just make things a little more enjoyable to see how they play out differently.

RE as a series has always had an action slant to it. Even with the original game – it was always more of a B-movie action film with monsters than a true horror film. More jumpscares & cheap thrills than true dread. Like the difference between A Nightmare on Elm Street and something like Night of the Living Dead.

RE3 is no different. While RE2 was slow, methodical, and leaned more into body horror & gore – RE3 is more about panic, survival, and just escaping a terrible, horrifying situation.

That’s not to say there won’t be creepy/scary moments.

The aptest comparison is probably The Terminator. A weird blend of a sci-fi action movie and an unstoppable, nearly unkillable monster – like Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees.

Nemesis pops off almost immediately.

Right off the bat – the game’s story deviates from the original by starting with Jill in her apartment and within 10 minutes – she’s being hunted down by Nemesis.

Not exactly unexpected – after all, RE2‘s remake made a lot of changes like this – but definitely surprising with just how early on Nemesis becomes a present threat.

Most of the game’s story plays like this – fleshing out characters who were otherwise minor in the original. Giving them more depth and making them much more serious (Most of the time, anyway. Some of the characters…feel like they have cartoon-level motivations).

Carlos especially sees some good changes. Becoming a much more heartfelt, relatable human being as opposed to the nearly cartoonish level of machismo he had originally.

That’s not to say he’s not still a macho doofus – he’s just much more believable.

All-in-all, the game hits most of the same story beats – although in a bit of a different order, perhaps – or with different characters experiencing them.

Carlos is much more likeable this time around.

At its core, though, it’s still Resident Evil 3 – which is still a Resident Evil story. Expect some goofiness and for some things to be hard to parse. You can also expect some overlap with Resident Evil 2. Not a lot of overlap – but enough to make it feel like the stories do happen around each other. Not just reusing areas from the last game – actual story moments that take place not long before RE2‘s events.

I, personally, would have liked to see a little more connective tissue added to RE2 with a patch – more of the stuff like the note you can find from Jill in Kendo’s gun shop. That was a great touch.


This is probably where RE3 shines the brightest. Somehow, they’ve managed to make a game that looks better than Resident Evil 2 – despite the game coming out no more than a year later.

Sure – there are reused assets, but it’s cleverly done. It makes sense. And even so – most of the game’s environments are actually new.

For instance: The sewers. The texturing of the walls and water is similar, if not the same, as the sewers in RE2 – but it’s an entirely new area. Smaller and less complicated.

It feels connected to the sewers of RE2 without actually being connected. Without actually reusing the original area.

The character models also manage to somehow look much better this time around. The artists over at Capcom are honestly very skilled at their craft. Expressions feel much more natural and other animations feel much less stiff.

It’s almost hard to believe this is a horror game with how much color is present at any given time.

It’s legitimately impressive just how much new exists in this game when considering how soon after the last game it happened.

A fair amount of lights around – but still hard to see.

I’ve got very little bad to say about the game’s presentation. Other than maybe it can be a bit too dark in places. I had the same issue in RE2 – some places can be nearly pitch black and hard to see, but the character won’t turn on the flashlight. It doesn’t happen often enough to be a real problem – just a bit of an annoyance.

It’s definitely a stylistic choice – because neither Resident Evil 7 nor Devil May Cry V really have the same issue.

That light is very bright – and yet it doesn’t feel safe here. I also love the shadows in this area.

At least with Resident Evil 2, it made a bit more sense – you were indoors most of the time and going through a lot of areas that had no lights or power at night.

With Resident Evil 3 it’s a little bit weirder. You’re outdoors a lot more and there are lights everywhere. Huge, bright lights all over the place – you’d think it’d be easier to see.

I will say though – weirdly dark areas aside, the lighting in the game is frankly on point. Working to create some very threatening, unpleasant atmospheres most of the time.

Seeing a light at the end of a tunnel often has the opposite effect of instilling safety.

On the technical side of things, I have no qualms. The framerate never really dipped (Outside of one or two little moments perhaps), and the game never once crashed on me. It ran beautifully throughout my entire 30 hours of playtime.


We now come to the part of the game that might be the weakest.

That’s not to say the gameplay is bad – in fact, it’s far from bad. I’d even say it’s a bit improved over the last game.

It’s just not that much different to Resident Evil 2 – which was always going to be an issue. While the visuals saw a marked improvement, the gameplay doesn’t see that much changed or new.

There is new stuff here, of course – and it does a good job making the game feel different enough – but they’re changes that feel more like a patched-in improvement on the original game, rather than actual new mechanics.

Most of the changes feel more like little quality of life enhancements more than anything – but there is at least one new thing that works to differentiate this from the last game. The Dodge/Counter mechanic.

Sadly, puzzles aren’t really a thing this time. But there are a lot of safes to crack for good items & upgrades.

This is something I wished was in RE2 – a means of mobility to deal with zombies and other enemies grabbing and attacking you. If you got grabbed and had no defensive items, you were simply forced to take damage. You couldn’t even mash to escape like in the older games.

Now, defensive items are gone (The knife and grenades still exist – they just act as normal weapons now), and in their place is a dodge (For Jill) and a counter (For Carlos). These are extremely useful, and powerful when done correctly – but they aren’t free.

You need to properly time your button press to have it be effective, otherwise, you could find yourself dodging directly into the mouth of a Zombie or the claws of a Hunter Beta.

Time it perfectly and you’ll get a white screen flash to signify you’ve executed a perfect dodge. Aim your weapon quickly enough and take advantage of a very powerful counter-attack.

Like that.

I feel Carlos’ counter is much more useful as it puts the enemy into a downed state, making the follow-up headshot much easier to get.

Other than that new mechanic – most of the other changes are minor. Things like not having to constantly open up the inventory every time you pick up ammo you already have.

Little things that just make the game flow a bit faster and smoother.

It would have been nice if they brought back the “You No Longer Need This Item” prompt when a key item has served its purpose – but letting it be a player choice is good too.

Inventory management is still here in full force.

As far as other critical changes: expect to do a lot more fighting overall. Like I mentioned early on – this is much more of an action game than RE2 was. There are more enemies to deal with which can make avoidance a little less likely. You can avoid enemies – but you’ll almost certainly need to stand your ground a lot more often. Especially when playing as Carlos.

Other than that – there isn’t much else to say that hasn’t already been said about Resident Evil 2.

As far as Nemesis is concerned – he isn’t as much of an ever-present threat as he may have seemed initially. Much like Mr. X/Tyrant, Nemesis is very scripted. When he appears, he can pretty much do what he wants and will aggressively hunt you down – but those moments, much like in the original game, happen at very pre-determined points.

I will say, though: He’s certainly more of an actual problem than Mr. X when he is around. Capable of jumping, sprinting, and grabbing you from a distance – just a lot of ways for him to otherwise ruin your day.

Once you learned what Mr. X was capable of, he stopped being intimidating. That doesn’t exactly happen with Nemesis. Even if you know when he shows up – you don’t necessarily know what he’ll do at that given time. It helps to keep you on your toes – especially on the later difficulties.

You can also choose to fight Nemesis early on and be rewarded with handgun upgrades – you could max out your starting handgun before even getting to the first boss fight.

I think the thing that perhaps disappoints me the most, if I had to pick something – is the lack of actual puzzles to deal with. Sure, the safes return from Resident Evil 2 (Even ones that were in that game and even have the same combination if you remember them!) – but that’s about as complex as puzzles get. The “hardest” puzzle comes at the end of the game – and doesn’t even give you any information. It’s just trial and error until you get it (With no punishment for not doing so).

Replay Value

Much like RE2, the game rewards multiple playthroughs. This time, however – there’s only one campaign. As such, the game ends up feeling a bit shorter (It’s still about the same average length as an A or B playthrough in 2, but there’s no “B scenario” this time.)

Unlocks are also much easier to get this time – working on a point system similar to later Resident Evil games. Complete the different achievements/records in the game and earn points that you can spend in the extras shop to game things like an infinite ammo handgun or rocket launcher, extra hip pouches to start the game off with, or even key items like the Lockpick and Bolt Cutters to open up things that would otherwise be locked much earlier.

There are also more difficulty modes to play through – Inferno and Nightmare – which kind of act like the “Must Die” difficulty from the Devil May Cry series – changing enemy placements, adding in late-game enemies to earlier areas, and cranking up the amount of damage they do. Nightmare adds in the stipulation of no autosaves – but you can save at typewriters as much as you want.

Sadly, no ink ribbons this time. Not even on Hardcore.

Trophy-wise, this is about on par with Resident Evil 2 – however, there is no extra mode (Which is a little disappointing. Hopefully, they add some extra stuff like The Ghost Survivors. After all – that mode was a lot like The Mercenaries, which originated in the original Resident Evil 3.)

There’s nothing too outlandish here with trophy/achievement requirements – it’s all fairly straightforward.

Just be ready for the final boss on Inferno. Hope you learned how to dodge well.

Final Verdict

Resident Evil 3 was always going to fall into a bit of a weird place. Hype and excitement levels for RE2 were high due to it being unexpected and a full-on remake that was going to be entirely new.

RE3 was then a repeat of that. It wasn’t a new thing anymore – and it was coming out so soon after the last one that it felt as though they wouldn’t be able to do much different.

And they didn’t – it mostly still plays like Resident Evil 2, but more refined.

There are a few things from the original game that didn’t carry over – likely because they just didn’t add anything relative to what they wanted to do here.

I barely noticed them being gone – and if you never played the original, you won’t even know anything is missing. It feels complete.

Overall – I enjoyed this game as much as I did Resident Evil 2. It’s like having a delicious dessert that you’ve never had before, and then getting a second serving of that same dessert.

It’s not quite as special the second time – but it’s still a really tasty thing that you enjoyed. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Like what you read? Want to see more? Consider supporting the site on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!

  • More of the same great gameplay from Resident Evil 2

  • Small quality of life improvements here and there help the game feel a bit faster.

  • A marked visual improvement over the last game made even more impressive with the relative short span of time between them.

  • No additional modes like 4th Survivor to help pad out the game's slightly shorter playtime.

  • An odd lack of actual puzzles to solve.

James Headrick
James Headrick

Gamer & Fractal Artist. // Lover of giant robots & Fighting in Streets. I've been gaming for over 20 years, and writing reviews for over 10 now. ReviewHaven is my baby.

Articles: 74