All you need to know about the recently released remake of 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis can be found in a five word exchange that occurs about a third of the way through the main campaign. Just as the game’s protagonist and proven action hero, Jill Valentine, has seemingly escaped the clutches of Raccoon City’s apocalyptic zombie outbreak aboard a subway train headed for safety, the back of the train is abruptly pulled off in a glorious display of strength and bad-ass flames by the Umbrella Corp’s bioweapon du jour, the titular Nemesis. With all hope seemingly lost, a grizzled old mercenary, whose name escapes me because it was never important, defiantly utters the sure to be iconic line “Get off my train, shitbird” before heroically sacrificing himself and buying Jill some time via suicide bombing. Truly the bard himself could have never concocted a more beautiful turn of phrase, and peak Schwarzenegger couldn’t have hoped for a more fitting sendoff.
At its very core, this game is pure, unadulterated 90’s over-the-top spectacle. If you were to painstakingly distill the sweat dripping from The Rock in any of The Fast and the Furious Films and inject it into last year’s phenomenal Resident Evil 2 Remake, the end result would be this year’s action bonanza, Resident Evil 3 Remake. Whereas RE2 Remake relied heavily on the plodding, never-ceasing pursuit of Mr. X and his stylish headwear, RE3 embraces a far different, set-piece driven approach. There are no footsteps foretelling your imminent death, rather Nemesis tends to just erupt through walls Kool-aid man style at the least opportune times leading to scripted out chase sequence set pieces or boss battles of increasingly epic proportions. Mr. X was a man of discerning tastes who walked at a snail’s pace and let his fists do the talking, but Nemesis would much rather sprint at you while firing from a flamethrower, rocket launcher, or whatever else nearby is convenient.
With plentiful stockpiles of ammo and more explosions encountered than fellow living humans, RE3 fully embraces combat and throws the series’ adventure DNA into the trash. At one point, while traversing the well-worn RPD building of RE2 fame, one character even cracks a joke upon seeing a locked door with an elaborate symbol on it that “they don’t have time for that”. This is a game about blasting through hordes on your way from point A to point B with maybe some exploration once everything has been burnt to ashes to find bigger, badder weapons capable of filling the undead with even larger holes. It’s an addictive dance dashing from one safe room to the next feeling like at any second a door could fly open when really the horrors always seem to pop up from behind you or maybe from up above in the case of one ridiculous, giant piece of toy store paraphernalia. While your heart rate will be constantly racing, the only exercise your brain will be doing is figuring out how to play inventory Tetris to bring as many firearms and grenades as possible along for the ride.
By no means is this a flaw or shortcoming of RE3. Rather it’s a welcome change-up and way to wind down after another long quarantine day in sweatpants. Sure, this game does not reach the lofty perch held by RE2, but it didn’t need to. It just needs to punch you in the face at every turn and provide some much needed wish fulfillment around being able to actually go outside during a pandemic while slinging masterful one-liners throughout.