Horror Game Icon begins the season of fear by looking back at what the original and remake of Resident Evil 3 did right.
A Tale of Two Nightmares
Last year, Horror Game Icon did a comparison between the original Resident Evil 2 and the remake. This year I’m going to kick off the season of fear by comparing the original Resident Evil 3 with the remake. The original has been praised as one of the last good titles of the PlayStation while the remake has been praised for modernizing a classic.
Horror Game Icon will be looking back at what each version of Resident Evil 3 did right. This is not to see which version is the best. Instead it’s to highlight which version did what better. I will be looking at several key criteria then judging which version did it better.
Both games follow Jill Valentine as she attempts to escape Raccoon City during the outbreak. The situation is made worse when a new Tyrant (codenamed Nemesis) has been deployed with the task of killing all the surviving members of S.T.A.R.S. Her only hope of escaping is teaming up with Carlos Oliveira and other members of the U.B.C.S.
The original starts 24 hours before and 24 hours after the events of Resident Evil 2. This creates a major plot hole regarding how Leon and Clair. Especially how they got pass a military quarantine or how they failed to get into contact with a doomed Delta Force unit (as shown in the final boss fight). It also has multiple endings based on the players actions. The remake did away with the multiple endings and cleaned up most of the plot holes by connecting the narrative direction.
Overall: The remake did its best to correct many of the plot holes that its predecessor failed to fix. Worse is that many of these plot holes were created by the original Resident Evil 3.
The original Resident Evil 3 only had its predecessors to look back on when it came to crafting the gameplay. After two hit titles and plenty of feedback, the team worked to improve upon the already successful gameplay mechanics. Among the new features introduced were dodging and crafting ammo. A unique addition was requiring players to make a quick decision that could alter the flow of their progression.
The remake took the lessons of Resident Evil 2 and slightly tweaked them. It’s predecessor had three console generations worth of titles to look back on when it came to crafting the gameplay. The remake didn’t need to reinvent the wheel again, but it also didn’t need to regress it either. Some of the hallmark improvements from Resident Evil 2 were lost in the Resident Evil 3 remake.
Overall: The original did more of an effort to improve the gameplay mechanics while the remake felt like a setback compared to its predecessor.
The villain of the game, Nemesis is an advanced version of the Tyrant. It was deployed by the Umbrella Corporation to eliminate the members of S.T.A.R.S. In the original, we are introduced to Nemesis after it ambushes Jill and Brad at the police station. The remake has Jill battling it from the start of the game (thus setting the tone of the overall nightmare). Both versions gave players a fight or flight option (while rewarding the brave ones).
Overall: This is a tie as the original first introduced Nemesis while the remake reminded fans of what made it an iconic villain.
Exploring the World
To survive the outbreak, players need to explore the world to find key items along with weapons and health items. The original required players to explore every corner of the map and search every room. This was mostly to find what was needed along with ammo, First Aid and hidden suprises.
The remake also has players explore but requires them to do more then just look around an area. Players are encouraged to take different paths and explore every section of Raccoon City. Doing so will reward players with additional weapon upgrades, gear or short cuts that help them avoid unnecessary combat.
Overall: The remake rewards players for exploring the area (with gear and short cuts) while the original didn’t reward players for their curiosity.
The original had a solid playtime with branching narratives and plenty of unlockables. Players could unlock special outfits and plot details about other characters. It was the first in series to introduce “The Mercenaries”, a mini-game that requires players to escape before the timer runs out. Playing the mini-game allowed players to unlock weapons that can be used in the single player campaign.
The remake has been criticized for being too short (I beat it in 4 hours during my first play through). Not helping its case has been the limited number of unlockable content and rewards. Making matters worse is Resident Evil: Resistance, an asymmetrical multiplayer game that nobody asked for. It’s obvious that Capcom was banking too much on Resistance and not the main game.
Overall: The original Resident Evil 3 is rich in replay value thanks to its solid playtime and plenty of unlockable content (unlike the remake).
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