- We here at HardwareTimes believe that perception of the quality of any art piece depends on personal preferences and hence refrain from giving a “score” to one. We believe a review should be of the sole purpose of objectively listing out the parameters of a said art piece for you to subjectively judge and decide whether you would want it to be a part of your life. We start with a personal opinion and end with the objective points. With that said, let's get started with this review. (Spoiler-Free)
When Capcom announced the remake of Resident Evil 2 a year ago, it was met with equal amounts of enthusiasm and skepticism of living up to the original quality. They delivered a quality game, hitting multiple checkmarks with old-schoolers and new-comers alike. Capcom let the consumers know they would be interested in making one for the third game, and with plenty of fan support, they went ahead. This time there was less skepticism and more trust. The same can be said for Capcom, they had lesser to worry about. The game is finally coming out soon and after playing through it, I can confirm it’s a good take, but there are hints of neglect that come with having lesser to worry about.
Right off the bat, I expected more Nemesis. Having played through a bunch of the original in my younger days, I remember the paranoia of having to explore the streets of Raccoon City, knowing the Nemesis was stalking me and could show up around any corner. I positively dreaded leaving those comfortable safe rooms. For some reason, Capcom has gone with a more scripted approach to the nemesis in this game. There were rumors and reports of it having an AI even more advanced than Mr.X from RE2 Remake, but the Nemesis only seems to appear at certain locations, and nowhere else. Once you realize this scripted nature, the Nemesis simply turns into another boss you need to fight to move on with the game, instead of being an active element in the “normal” game itself.
I can presume the reasoning behind this choice- perhaps the nemesis had too much maneuverability and the modern version would be annoyingly unavoidable once locked on. But this is still a significant loss to the charm offered in the original. The demo gave you a segment of the chase but cleverly hid this scripted nature in doing so. But in no way does that make the Nemesis less formidable. For when he does appear, you may find yourself fumbling through in-game areas as well as buttons on your keyboard/controller. You can find some respite in knowing a few grenades can stall it for a while, but just enough to haul your self way out of its reach and recount your strategies. The Nemesis is kind enough to drop some items when you do stun it at most times, so you can only assume it’s trying to make friends with you, probably.
Jill Valentine returns voiced by Nicole Tompkins(English). The new character design is faithful to the original; in capturing the essence, while upgrading the stylistic choices to something more modern. She wields an unbreakable combat knife and uses it to stab enemies instead of the slicing action Leon was going for with his flimsy knives. Taking on from the original game, you’re more nimble in this game with a dodge mechanic as well as a quick turn. Time the dodge right, and you’ve got yourself some Max Payne style bullet-time action, nice. This is only fair considering the even nimbler nemesis swooping its way towards you.
The story has been condensed and merged to offer a more cohesively linear and modern take, with an emphasis on frantic pacing to keep the stakes high. Action is a much bigger deal here, though nothing like RE5 or RE6 so don’t worry, the horror is there too. Significant environmental locations and story choices have been removed or revamped. The clocktower exploration is missing and so are the different endings available in the original, though they were minor in differences.
Weapons and Ammo
The weapons are varied and fun to use. You never feel stuck to a particular weapon, even though you may have favorites. Most of them serve a purpose against certain types of enemies and environmental objects. There is a significant joy to the loop of item looting and storing, along with combining as needed when you see your resources pile up. It’s like leveling up in survival horror, the same as leveling up with points in other games.
This is not mandatory but helps make the game much easier when you have all the weapon attachments, extra ammo and health items you need, instead of constantly getting by with barely anything. But that is completely based on your playstyle, and neither is the wrong approach to this game. Exploration is not a necessity but simply a lucrative addition, especially with the map marking out all the detected items not picked up and marking rooms as completely looted with a blue color, showing up as red otherwise.
On the replayability front, there is no new game plus mode as of yet, but completing in-game challenges in a play through rewards you with points which you can use in the shop, unlocked after your first run. These include costumes, item enhancements and more, necessary items if you plan to try the hardcore mode with some extra power. You can further challenge yourself with the time taken and saves made to get the S ranking. The game has no B side to it, but this is simply emulating the original RE3.
When that one came out, reviewers felt way back then that it was shorter and had no extra game modes, but was still explosive fun. This time, it is worth mentioning that Capcom is bundling the new RE Resistance Multuiplayter experience along with this game for no extra price, and in doing so is ensuring it pads out the length for modern titles, instead of changing the vision of the original. We will have a review of that section up soon so stay tuned.
The sound design is incredible as in the previous two entries. You can hear distant howls of zombies or the nearby breath of other monsters. The guns sound great and each material has a distinct sound when shot or walked upon, like the scrunch of glass or the slosh of muck. The music and ambient soundtracks are great as well, wonderfully merging the original tunes to a more modern bassy take. The saferoom music will give you some nostalgic tears if you’ve played the original. That’s when you first truly realize that you’re indeed playing a remake 20 years after the original. The Nemesis theme is equal parts terrifying and adrenaline-inducing fun.
Jill Valentine: The character model has been upgraded to feature actual weapon holsters that show up whenever hip pouches are picked up. The English voice is done by Nicole Tompkins who does a commendable job of capturing the spirit of Jill Valentine. She now wears a modern version of practical clothing, a humble pair of jeans and a top. As in the original, she is grounded and humane, while maintaining healthy confidence in her abilities to pursue missions, being the only surviving STARS member.
Brad Vickers: The character model and personality stay completely true to the original, and certain sequences feel a little dramatically non-American, but this is Resident Evil and that’s why we love it, not for boring realistic characters.
Carlos Oliveira: A much heavier dosage of an upgrade to modernize the character has been applied, featuring frizzy hair to die for and more importantly a personality update consisting of less cringy pick-up lines. You get to play as Carlos as well which changes things up giving you a different arsenal and a dodge mechanic which is more like a counter punch. The voice acting is way less cliched than in the original and is a wonderful character enhancer.
Mikhail Victor: Minor upgrades, is pretty similar to the original with a good job in voice acting.
Nikolai Zinoviev: Bordering on cartoony behavior, he puts forth a true to the original performance of the dubious character on villainy.