escape from Nemesis through the streets of Raccoon City

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The return of Resident Evil 3 it is a dream come true for the fans of the series, who for a long time have hoped to hear, once again, the angry scream of Nemesis. If we add to the nostalgics of the PS1 era those who have never played the original chapter, the spasmodic wait for the arrival of the remake appears more than justified. Pleasantly impressed by the test in London and the last preliminary meeting, we dived into the complete experience with keen enthusiasm, eager to test the goodness of the work done by Capcom and M2. Well, unlike its predecessor, the “newResident Evil 3 is a substantial reinterpretation of the classic title, with all that follows. In fact, when you take such a path, there is always the risk that the production choices end up disappointing the expectations of the fans, failing to fully exploit the reference material. A minefield that unfortunately the Capcom team did not face in the best way, so as to make the desperate escape of Jill Valentine less brilliant than expected.

The fall of Raccoon City and the escape of Jill Valentine

The relentless advance of the Virus-T is turning the quiet town of Raccoon City into a hell teeming with undead, showing the true face of terror to those few survivors who – scared and exhausted – are struggling to achieve an impossible salvation.

Far from being prepared for such an eventuality, the agents of the R.P.D. and the Umbrella Countermeasure Service try to delay the end of an already lost battle, while dark forces exploit the situation to test the abominations created by the pharmaceutical company. In the eye of this cyclone of death, a Jill Valentine marked by the events of Villa Spencer prepares her escape in a hurry, appealing to the little strength she has left to reason with clarity. Without going into detail, the crackling prologue of Resident Evil 3 is definitely more focused than the original, thanks to a high-impact staging that effectively outlines the drama that is taking place in Raccoon City. After meeting Carlos, the protagonist agrees to return to the street to reactivate the metro, in the hope of saving herself and her fellow citizens.

A goal that represents the first step of a fast-paced ordeal, which in part abandons the survival horror connotation of the second chapter to devote itself to a decidedly more action formula, albeit with some stumbling blocks. Before we focus on the characters “in flesh and blood“, it seems only right to spend two words on another great protagonist of the story: the same Raccoon City.

Thanks to the presence of files and documents of various kinds, each setting adds pieces to a much richer narrative mosaic than the original one, net of some important omissions. For example, the remake lacks one of the game’s most iconic locations, replaced by a section “passing“that will not leave a little bitter taste in the mouth of the fans of the series.

But know that some play areas may surprise you both in terms of level design and environmental narrative, the latter modeled to strengthen a key node in the Resident Evil lore: the entire Raccon City is nothing but an immense cover to hide the activities of Umbrella. Although it lacks the pathos that made some of the sequences memorable Resident Evil 2, the plot of the third chapter has been adapted for to be a little more credible than that of ’99, alternating for example the motivations that, during the campaign, push some characters to act in a certain way.

The new characterization of the characters

Going back to Jill and Carlos, both have been characterized voluntarily winking at the 90’s B-movies and this is also evident from the evolution of their relationship. This is not, of course, a real flaw, since the use of clich├ęs taken early from a certain strand of action film is part of the DNA of the series.

Courageous and expert fighter, Valentine is anything but a damsel in need of help, while Oliveira – while maintaining the traditional cheekiness – finally behaves as an individual aware of being in the middle of a disaster. If on the one hand we were satisfied with the new Mikhail, Nicholai and Tyrell, whose character traits emerge immediately, the same cannot be said of many others “known faces“: between appearances to say the least fleeting and often also unsatisfactory, we believe that these supporting actors could have been exploited much better, and perhaps obtain a slightly more generous screen time. Furthermore, in itself the new plot is not evil, but it is limits to telling the escape of Jill without particular creative flashes or noteworthy insights.

A nightmare with open eyes … to face with a hard face

The biggest problem with Resident Evil 3 Remake consists in its longevity: to finish our first run on Standard difficulty it took just over five hours. In the count, however, we include all the lockers and locks to be opened with the pick. Before finishing our test, we finished Resident Evil 3 even on Extreme and Nightmare difficulty, with the aim of verifying the replayability of a title that proves capable of offering much more than a stimulus to hardened completists.

The game beyond the first runResident Evil 3 limps not a little on the content front, but it would be inappropriate not to include the “secondary” offer in our discussion. The short duration of the experience encourages us to return to the streets of Raccoon City on higher difficulty, obviously starting from a series of assumptions. Ending the game on Extreme difficulty, for example, guarantees the earning of a good number of points, to be used in a special in-game shop to unlock alternative costumes and formidable armaments. These can be used immediately and in any run, and can make repeating the most difficult sections pleasant and fun. Overcoming the Challenges provided by Resident Evil 3 allows you to get other points to buy special weapons and useful tools, which could push the daredevils to opt for the run on the Nightmare difficulty. Engaging in such an undertaking means to perfectly dose the bullets, learn to make the most of the dodges and expect to find objects and enemies in different places. In addition to being more leathery than normal, the monstrosities will be able to eliminate Jill with ease, not to mention Nemesis, even faster, more lethal and reactive than usual. Furthermore, completing this race also allows you to unlock the insane Hell mode, capable of putting even experienced players to the test. Flying over the gallery of models and concept art, we obviously mention Resident Evil: Resistance, the asymmetric 4v1 multiplayer that we will talk about in a dedicated article.

Anyhow, thanks to the absence of the New Game Plus and the double adventure, the content of Resident Evil 3 is clearly lower than that of the predecessor, despite the addition of Resident Evil: Resistance try to balance the accounts.
Returning to us, the title of Capcom and M2 differs greatly from the investigation of Leon and Claire, and not only on the front of the combat system. The pace of the game is decidedly more pressing on the other hand, the average size of the scenarios is considerably reduced. Moreover, the range of puzzles is reduced to the bone and the backtracking opportunities – a characteristic feature of Resident Evil 2 – can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
In this regard, we did not like the choice to prevent players from returning to the initial areas to complete the exploration, especially considering how difficult it is to engage in this activity during the Nemesis assaults. Once the necessary tools have been obtained, it is still possible to linger in order to sift through each ravine in the city, a task facilitated by a game map that clearly indicates the “state” of the looting (a red section indicates an area with some secrets yet to be discovered).

Unfortunately, however, between the fast movements and the sections with Carlos, Resident Evil 3 it offers a lively but also more linear experience, unable to establish that atmosphere of palpable tension typical of the second chapter. In other words, we will no longer be tempted to avoid the most lethal enemies to solve the puzzles in a specific macro area, and indeed we will be stimulated to face them more openly.

Unlike the brave but inexperienced protagonists of RE2, Jill and Carlos are two trained fighters, which also reflects on their offensive possibilities. The S.T.A.R.S. agent is able to take a quick step to get away from the enemies: if implemented with the right timing, the shot will turn into a perfect dodge, allowing us to reach an advantageous position and activate, for short moments, a slow motion thanks to which aim at the target more precisely. In addition to being decidedly fitting with the tones of experience, this mechanic it works perfectly but you have to practice enough before you can use it with ease.

After all, each opponent has his moveset and “attack times”, which – especially in the case of Nemesis – could complicate our dodging attempts. In the case of Carlos, however, acting before suffering the attack allows him to deliver a devastating punch, capable of damaging and removing the opponent. Between the excellent feeling of the weapons and a first-rate effect, the shooting system of the second chapter has been adapted to align with the action turn of Resident Evil 3, and with remarkable results.

During his journey in horror, Jill takes part in a myriad of fast-paced firefights, supported by a solid aiming system, which allows you to change the sensitivity of the viewfinder at will. Thanks to a highly effective gore system, reading the points of impact of the bullets on the bodies of the opponents is very easy: a visual feedback that allows you to minimize the waste of ammunition. The pistols, rifles and the rest of the arsenal can be enhanced with special “modification kit“, available both within the scenarios, and by collecting the crates that fall to Nemesis when he is stunned.

Extending the magazines, adding sights and whatnot, could lead some weapons to take up more space in the inventory, which however it is possible to expand by recovering the bags scattered throughout the environments.

That said, the zombies that populate the city center they are only the first species on a nightmare roster with monstrosity of quite different caliber. In this regard, if at Standard level the number of treatments and ammunition is confirmed to say the least abundant, the Extreme difficulty requires an intelligent management of the inventory, in order to be able to face the most leathery BOWs with suitable armaments. Just to give an example, the Hunter Beta manage to eliminate our heroes even with a single targeted attack and, in addition, they move with an impressive agility. For this reason, reaching its weak point is not really a walk, and this discussion concerns many other creatures in the game. Net of the (painful) absence of the Grave Digger, the many beasts to be killed will certainly satisfy the palates of the veterans of the series, especially at the highest levels of challenge.

Face to face with Nemesis

There quality of Nemesis restoration it could only have been a key point of our discussion, given its leading role in the experience. On the design front, at least as regards its classic shape, it would have been difficult to ask for more: disputes about the presence of the nose aside, the Tyrant proves capable of instilling an instant and suffocating fear, thanks to a painstaking modeling that leaves no detail to chance. The gigantic pulsing vein covered by the pectoral lining, the elongated teeth, and the flaps of torn flesh – a sign that the symbiosis between the bio-weapon and the Ne-Alpha parasite has not happened placidly – are just some of the most successful ideas behind its new appearance , capable of inspiring fear and fascinating at the same time.

To make this unstoppable abomination even more unnerving, we find a simply perfect soundtrack, which goes far beyond its angry screams or the iconic “S.T.A.R.S.“. The noise produced by its regeneration process is able to freeze the blood in your veins, not to mention its labored breathing and the dull thuds produced by its furious clicks.

Established the effectiveness of the cutscenes that see him as protagonist, we now move on to the playful personality of the monster who, above all at Nightmare difficulty, emerges in all its macabre splendor. Although you also use weapons in specific more “guided” sections, what really impressed us are basic Tyrant skills, that they exceed those of Mr. X in every possible sense.

The horrid being can shoot at immense speed, and ambush Jill by going down the buildings or using her own tentacles, which she also uses to grab the protagonist. To believe that he has put him out of the game and then find him in front of him after a few seconds is surprising, but seeing him immobile, while studying Jill from outside the room where the woman took refuge, it’s chilling.

All praise that unfortunately we do with a bad taste in the mouth, at the thought of what could have been and what was not. Without going into detail, the Nemesis “traditional“- and that is what chased poor Valentine until the end of the original adventure – is actually present only in the first half of the game. Given the incredible quality of the work done to bring it back to life, we believe that its classic form would have deserved one much more consistent screen time, as well as a level design aimed at exploiting their incredible horror skills for longer and in the best way. As far as boss fights are concerned, we will not unbutton ourselves much, and you just need to know that their quality is unfortunately fluctuating. Some are undoubtedly more spectacular, while others have proved all too similar to each other, which once again represents a real shame.

The face of fear

Resident Evil 3 is yet another graphic jewel in RE Engine, which has nothing to envy to other famous productions coming out in 2020. Capcom and M2 title on PS4 Pro runs at 60 fixed fps, net of some minimal fluctuation which in no way is capable of affecting the enjoyability of the action. Moving on the resolution, the game reaches the threshold of 1620p upscaled to 4K, just like in the case of Resident Evil 2, but the image quality remains at a high level. The textures of some walls and other secondary elements show a level of detail that is not always stellar, but the excellent lighting system helps to smooth these oscillations and to give a realistic look to objects and characters.

The Raccoon City disaster, in other words, it has never been so credible, between fires, undead everywhere and the streets crowded with end-of-life vehicles and frightened survivors. The rest of the settings present the same level of care, to the point of making the horrors that took place in the rooms upside down or in the districts in ruins almost palpable. For completeness, the sporadic aliasing that occurs on some surfaces cannot overshadow a careful and inspired artistic direction, which is able to rival that of the predecessor.

As attractive as it is detailed, the Jill played by Sasha Zotova she is a “lively” and expressive protagonist, like the supporting actors. Mikhail’s tiredness and Nicholai’s hardness emerge from the first scenes, also thanks to the splendid work done by the team in the realization of the faces.

The protagonists have been animated carefully and the same can be said of the many creatures that haunt the town, although the frame rate of the zombies in the distance has been halved. We close the speech on the visual presentation with I usually applaud the rendering of the effects, from explosions, to gore elements such as splashes of blood and bowels. As for the audio side, the excellent soundtracking work did not stop only in Nemesis, between the background noises of the collapsing town, the shots from the mouths of fire and the rales of zombies and monsters. The good soundtrack is composed of unpublished tracks and reinterpreted classic pieces, which accompany the events narrated and the most excited moments effectively. Flying over the imperfect audio mix, the Italian dubbing is more than discreet, although the actors’ interpretations are not always in part.



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