Why Was The R3make So Much Worse Than The R2make?

I’ve never been a huge fan of video game remakes, and I’ve never been a fan of Resident Evil 2, so it was as big a surprise to me as it was to anyone, including the most skeptical Resident Evil followers – who still remember Resident Evil 6 and were justifiably concerned when Capcom announced their plans to remake the 1998 classic – when the Resident Evil 2 Remake was released in 2019 and turned out to kick an ungodly amount of undead ass. Easily one of the best games of the year, Resident Evil 2 Remake didn’t lose any of what made it special to begin with, but improved upon the tank controls, unclear camera angles, and especially the janky aiming, which had made the game rather inaccessible to any modern players who wanted to enjoy the Resident Evil 2 experience.

Remakes usually feel unnecessary to me to begin with, because if you’re remaking a good game like The Wind Waker, then there’s really only so much you can improve what was already brilliant. I’m sure The Wind Waker HD is a 9/10, but so was the original, and I already own that, and since I’m a hundred years old, I still have my GameCube plugged in. You could always remake a bad game to improve it, but… why bother? It was bad. There was probably a reason for that.

I am also just hugely biased against remakes in general because I am a huge sucker for nostalgia – not sure if the name from Commander Keen 4 or the obsession with RollerCoaster Tycoon gave that away – and sometimes, you just want to boot up and play the original Age of Empires II. And yes, I said ‘Age of Empires II’, and emphatically not ‘Age of Empires II: HD Edition’, released in 2013 at a size of more than 4 GB. And I especially emphatically did not mean ‘Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition’, released in 2019, which upped the size again to 10 GB. It’s at this point that I would give up on Steam and go to GOG, and then give up on GOG because the Age of Empire series isn’t for sale there at all. Bah.

The long and the short of it is, I don’t really do remakes. I’ve enjoyed a few, but I tend to avoid them, especially when my Steam library currently contains over a thousand titles. To waste time playing something that I’ve played before would be reckless, and- and unproductive, and- and…

… Well, there are exceptions.

And then there’s Resident Evil 2, which I tried once as a teenager, and gave up on very quickly. The first two GameCube games I owned were Pokémon Colosseum and Resident Evil 4, so the older Resident Evil games were already at a disadvantage, following what was at the time – and arguably still is – the best game in the series. I lasted an hour or two playing Resident Evil Zero and Code Veronica, I tried to start the original Resident Evil Remake once every few years and never got very far, and for Resident Evil 2 and 3, I don’t think I made it far past the first save point. A lot of that actually wasn’t because of Resident Evil 4, but because another of my first GameCube games was Eternal Darkness, a game with a very similar control scheme to old Resident Evil titles, but with an improved camera, and most importantly, a lock-on aiming system. Maybe if I went back to them today, I would have more patience and be able to get invested – or at the very least, get further than I did ten years ago – but a game where you tell your character to aim up and they aim their gun directly at the ceiling is always going to be a hard-sell to me.

So, I’m not a fan of remakes, and I didn’t like Resident Evil 2. And then the Resident Evil 2 Remake – henceforth referred to as the R2make – was released, and to put it calmly and professionally, it rocked my bitch-ass sideways. It blew my mind metaphorically, metaphysically, and literally. It rekindled a long-dead feeling of hope in this old man’s heart. It was… a really good video game, solid 9/10, a couple of flaws here and there but nothing important. I could go on for a very long time about everything that the R2make does right, but we would be here all day, and anyway, that’s half of what this article (I’ve started to say ‘article’ instead of ‘blog’ because it makes me feel fancier) is all about.

And then! Following the incredible R2make, Capcom announced in December 2019… the R3make! With a demo released in March 2020, and the full game being released in April! Not that this was rushed, though; development of both remakes had mostly been underway at the same time, since Capcom had always intended to finish remaking the initial trilogy. At its worst, the R3make would just be more of the same, but who wouldn’t want more of the same of the best Resident Evil game in years? Admittedly only two years, because Resident Evil 7 was amazing, but still! Nemesis was ready to chase us around Raccoon City again and we were prepared to let him. The game was released, and everyone came to the same conclusion.

It was… fine.

Y’know, it was… alright. Adequate. A perfectly good way to spend… six or so hours. A passing grade, and nothing more. And let’s be honest; a passing grade is much better than a failing grade.

But this step-down in quality is fascinating to me because there are so many factors you could ordinarily assume resulted in a drop in quality that just don’t apply here! It was the same engine, same zombies, same formula, and for once in this awful industry, it didn’t appear to have been terribly rushed, since it was being developed in conjunction with the R2make. Sure, a ride is always less fun the second time around, but it can’t solely be because the novelty had worn off, can it?

So, since I loved the R2make so very much, and was so… hmm, I wouldn’t say ‘disappointed’ because that implies a negative reaction, which implies any reaction, so… let’s say ‘neutral’; since I was so neutral to the R3make, I wanted to write about where I think one remake went wrong where the other succeeded. And since I want to get the most obvious point out of the way first, I might as well begin by saying that while it can’t be entirely because the novelty had worn off, then…

The novelty had worn off

I hate to blatantly steal take inspiration from other media producers, but there was an Extra Punctuation video posted in July 2022 by fast-talking trilby-lover Ben ‘Yahtzee’ Croshaw about how the Resident Evil series is stuck in its own fascinating cycle. You see, the first Resident Evil was a genre-defining masterpiece… apparently; it didn’t age well and I was way too late to the party to get into it, but I can respect that while Alone in the Dark and Clock Tower came first, Resident Evil basically codified survival horror, and for that, the entire gaming community owes it a lifelong gratitude.

Then came Resident Evil 2 and 3, which were decent enough – not just decent, but good… apparently; again, did not age well and I did not try them until the late 2000s – but they mostly followed the same formula. This is phase two of Ben Croshaw’s theory. The next and final phase is where people get tired that the same formula is being driven into the ground, like with Resident Evil Zero and Code Veronica. Zero is actually the furthest I got with a classic Resident Evil title and I should really go back to it someday.

Then, realising that they have exhausted the goodwill of the fans and squeezed every last drop of potential out of the formula, Capcom decided to rebuild the franchise from the ground up. The first time this happened, we got Resident Evil 4, one of the best video games of all-time. I cannot get into the reasons why because we would never get around to discussing the R2make and R3make. It traded in the claustrophobic, paranoid survival horror for a more self-aware action-horror game, but nobody complained because it was just so damn good. Then, recycling the formula that they had just perfected, we got the alright but nothing special Resident Evil 5 and the really quite bad Resident Evil 6. Phase two and phase three complete again. Having painted themselves into a corner, Capcom revamped the series again with Resident Evil 7, which returned the series to critical and commercial acclaim, and… you get the idea. This is the Resident Evil cycle. Make a good game, then deliver less-good versions of the good game until you reach outright bad territory, then revitalize the series with another banger.

Now, this theory isn’t perfect, nor does it account for the many spin-off series that Resident Evil has, but it does adequately explain in a succinct manner why R2make is remembered more fondly than R3make. Capcom kind of hit a double-whammy of reinventing the genre to resounding success with Resident Evil 7 followed immediately by a fantastic remake of the beloved but undeniably-aged Resident Evil 2, with enough updated content, controls and new gameplay that it couldn’t just be written off as a rehash of the original, but it also had enough individuality that it equally wasn’t just piggybacking off of the success of Resident Evil 7.

And the R3make was just… more of that. No drastic changes, except for potentially a few negative ones. There’s a dodge button now. Nemesis can run faster than Mr X ever could. But that was about it; same zombies, same general setting, same control scheme, and with a runtime of five to six hours and a serious lack of replay value, it just didn’t have the same ‘Wow!’ factor. But hey, that’s a lot of words to convey “The R3make, as the sequel to the R2make, was not as original as its predecessor,” so how about we move onto the surprise double-meaning?

How do I make a smaller sub-heading, WordPress you are being very unintuitive right now; the novelty had literally worn off

Did you know that the R3make contains a thirty minute to an hour playable section (depending on how bad you are at fighting Lickers and that one crowd of zombies in the locker room) that’s literally just the R2make again? Yes, the exact same building. On the one hand, the original Resident Evil 3 also featured an early trip to Raccoon City Police Department as Jill, but on the other hand, while faithfulness to the original is admirable, it may well have been lazy design back then too.

I am torn over complaining about this because part of me enjoys it a great deal. My favourite moment in the Outlast series – it feels weird to call it a series, when it’s two games and one DLC – is the ending of the DLC story Outlast: Whistleblower in which the player escapes the asylum. It’s a perfect ending because your way out of the asylum takes you through much of the way in that you experienced in the base game, only instead of climbing through a window in the dead of night to uncover the horrible truth, you’re fully aware of the horrible truth and are successfully escaping out of the front door, where it’s now morning and the birds are singing.

And I think that the reason why this doesn’t work so well in the R3make is because it’s all very… Marvel. It feels like the game is constantly poking you in the shoulder and asking if you understand the references. For a positive example, early in the R2make, you meet Marvin Branagh, one of the last survivors and a fellow officer who saves Leon and Claire, but is unable to assist them very much as he’s already injured. He sternly warns them not to hesitate if they encounter a zombie; you shoot, or you run, don’t make the same mistake that he did.

In the R3make, you get to see the mistake that he made, and why he made it, and it’s genuinely a really good moment. This would have been perfectly fine, but the game then goes overboard in trying to justify or explain every little detail that you may have noticed in the original. The two cops in the West Hallway who were clearly killed by Lickers? You see them get killed by Lickers. Remember when Leon had to find a battery and remote detonator to blow down a barrier with C4? You find the arrest report for the guy who was making the bombs. Remember the giant hole in the wall between the shower room and locker room? Carlos did that by blowing it up.

On some level, these are all also kind of neat touches that didn’t need to be there but add a little bonus to players of this game’s predecessor, but at a certain point it begins to feel unnecessary and a little too self-referential, not helped by Carlos’ amusing but sometimes grating commentary that amounts to encountering something from the original, shooting a knowing look into the camera and rolling his eyes with a sarcastic “Gee, these locked doors with card suit patterns sure are weird!” or “A ‘keep out’ sign? You got it, buddy!” It’s all very Chandler from Friends hanging a huge lampshade on the setting of a survival horror game.

And it feels dishonest for me to say that this is bad because I enjoyed it well enough and it was a creative and mostly effective way of using maps that had already been made to deliver a fun little romp through Raccoon City PD before Leon and Claire arrived there. But it would be more dishonest not to mention that maybe one of the reasons why the R3make had less of an impact than the R2make was because a sizeable chunk of the latter was literally copy-pasted into the former.

Although I suppose you are exploring it in a different context; Resident Evil 3 was always the most action-oriented of the original trilogy, and the remake continues this trend. Speaking of which!

Lights! Camera! Action! Action! Action! Actio-

Just to be clear, criticizing an action-oriented video game for being too focussed on action would be a clear-cut case of apples and oranges, in which I would literally metaphorically be taking a huge bite out of an orange and then saying “Pfweh! Disgusting! This doesn’t taste like an apple at all! Zero out of ten!” I have absolutely no intention of slagging off the R3make just because it places a higher emphasis on action than its predecessor; there is nothing inherently wrong about that. But if I could target a single criticism towards the increased emphasis on action, it would be this.

Why is the action in the Resident Evil 3 Remake several orders of magnitude worse than it was in the Resident Evil 2 Remake?

The R2make wasn’t as action-heavy, but it still had boss fights and rooms full of zombies that needed clearing out, and flamethrowers and grenade launchers and shotguns. All of the short post-game campaigns ramp up the enemies drastically, especially the most difficult one, where you play as the cop from the beginning of the game in the gas station, the victim of the first zombie Leon encounters. In his story, he has to fight off a hundred zombies in an enclosed space with limited weaponry, and that sequence has a greater focus on action than anything in the R3make. And as much as I swore my way through that awful, frequently-shitty challenge, it controlled a lot better too.

There’s no single defining negative change made between remakes that you can highlight as undeniable evidence that it’s empirically worse, but lots of irritating little changes instead. Although if I had to pick a main complaint, it would be this; you can’t equip knives and grenades as defence items any more.

In the R2make, if you have a knife, hand grenade, or flash grenade equipped defensively, then you have the option to use it if you’re attacked by an enemy… most of the time (obviously you can’t stab someone in the face in self-defence if they’ve attacked you from behind.) This isn’t always beneficial, because you can get your knife back by killing the enemy, but it drains its already weak durability, and the grenade is just lost forever, although it detonates shortly after it’s used, stunning or killing a crowd of enemies. This is also incredibly useful because it let you have a gun and a knife/grenade equipped at the same time, so you didn’t need to constantly switch if you wanted to knife a grounded zombie to check if they were really dead.

The R3make does away with this incredibly useful strategic feature for seemingly no reason other than “Well, I guess we just felt like it.” Your knife and grenades now take up a full slot on the weapons-shortcut wheel which only holds four weapons, meaning that not only are you limited regarding how many guns you can easily switch to, but you also will constantly need to switch back and forth to the knife over and over every time you encounter a breakable box and don’t want to waste ammunition on it.

Speaking of the knife, unlike Leon and Claire, Jill Valentine is a trained expert, a combat specialist, the pride of S.T.A.R.S. and direct threat to Nemesis. And to highlight this, she flails the knife around like a deranged psychopath. Leon, Claire and Carlos – in his playable section – all use the knife in a traditional standing swipe or slash, like Leon did – or would go on to do later, I guess – in Resident Evil 4. However, Jill knows better, and stabs at downed enemies using a technique that can best be described as “… What?!?”

Sometimes Jill stabs. Sometimes Jill lunges and stabs. Sometimes Jill stabs and then retreats two full steps so you can’t stab a second time without moving back into position. I genuinely have no idea what the motivation behind this design was. It’s one of those truly bizarre choices that defies explanation. At least in this game, the knife is unbreakable again, whereas in the R2make they had the durability of a defrosting fish finger. But at least there were plenty of them, and one of the first things you unlocked after completing the game was a knife that never broke, and unlike the rest of the unlockable weapons with infinite ammunition, it didn’t prevent you from getting an S Rank when completing the game.

I suppose I should mention that the R3make made one notable addition to the game; a dodge mechanic, where Jill covers a small-to-medium amount of distance, which can be used to gain some extra space from enemies. The big draw is that if used right before an enemy is about to attack you, Jill will perform a perfect dodge, rolling out of way and entering a brief period of slow motion where she can slug the zombie with several bullets… but the whole point of the game is to keep yourself out of positions where enemies are lunging at you, with a nanosecond to act before they take a chunk out of your shoulder, so it honestly isn’t a feature that comes in very useful, especially since the dodge won’t stop Nemesis from occasionally stun-locking you into an inescapable death that’s more irritating than scary.

As I said, none of these are huge changes that completely ruin the game, but it’s remarkable that for the entry with an increased focus on combat, they somehow made the combat worse. And they couldn’t fall back onto the survival horror appeal of the game, because… well, if we’re talking about action and horror, we can’t avoid this anymore.

Mr X > Nemesis

Just to immediately clear up two things. Firstly, since I started writing on ScrewAttack, and all that remains of ScrewAttack is the RoosterTeeth show DEATH BATTLE, I should clarify that I am not saying that Mr X would win in a fight. He would not. Second, this is also an apples and oranges situation in which both of these stalker enemies have different behaviours and different personalities that make them terrifying in ways that are unique to each other, so it would be fairer to say that Nemesis isn’t worse than Mr X, just better in a different way. It would be fairer, but it would also be untrue, because Nemesis in this game… kind of sucks.

There were two key features that made Mr X so scary in the R2make. The first was that, unlike many other horror game antagonists, who appear during setpieces and then disappear again, Mr X is always out there. Those footsteps you hear of him stomping around searching for you? They aren’t an effect; Mr X is somewhere in the Raccoon City Police Department, systematically hunting you down in every single room. There are some great videos by Shesez (the Boundary Break guy) and Slippy Slides (who has similar videos about Nemesis, Lady Dimitrescu, and Jack Baker) about how once Mr X spawns onto the map, he will methodically chase you down until he finds you.

The other feature that made Mr X so terrifying was how utterly impersonal he was. Unlike the above, this difference strictly makes him scary in a different way to Nemesis and not necessarily a better way. He doesn’t stalk you throughout the building because he has a vendetta against you personally, he doesn’t scream “STAAAAARS!” when he spots you, and he takes no joy in trying to end your life. This is a matter of personal taste, but to me this makes him even scarier; it’s truly the closest a Resident Evil villain has come to recapturing the implacable, unstoppable nature of a Terminator. Sure, you can outrun him, but how much does that help when there’s only so much of the building you can run to, and he never stops chasing you, like some sort of… non-giving-up school guy?

Anyway, in gameplay past the introduction, Nemesis chases you around during four setpieces. Four. Everything other than that is a cutscene, a Quick Time Event, or a boss battle. Four times. Four. Charitably, they each take around five minutes to beat if you’re taking your time, except for the third chase, which is less than a minute long because shortly after he begins chasing you, you find three explosive barrels which easily knock him out long enough for you to escape. Four times. Four.

Not only is this sort-of garbage, but it’s also remarkably unfaithful to the original Resident Evil 3, where Nemesis showed up to ruin your day much more frequently, and also took an ungodly amount of ammunition to take down. And that brings me to maybe the biggest problem with Nemesis in the remake; you are encouraged to take him down, and it’s really quite easy.

In the R2make, if you had an overabundance of ammo, or just felt like being reckless, you were welcome to waste your bullets, shells and grenades on forcing Mr X to fall to one knee. When this happened, you had a good thirty seconds to run away before he got up again and continued to chase you like nothing happened. However, this wasn’t really advisable in any situation, because he took a lot of ammo to go down, you didn’t get any kind of reward for it, and even with the head start, he’s still going to be back up and chasing you shortly afterwards.

True to the original Resident Evil 3, knocking out Nemesis for a short time makes him drop a supply case containing various items; upgrades to your weapons, extra ammunition, etc. This is why it’s so easy to remember that he’s only actually chasing you down during gameplay on four occasions; because he drops four supply cases. You need to take him down a) While he’s chasing you from the power station to the Subway control office b) From the Subway office to the Subway station, c) Inside the station (this is the one that takes twenty seconds because of the convenient red barrels) and d) Later chasing you back to the Subway station again but with a rocket launcher.

And because you don’t want to miss out on those drops, it is ridiculously easy to take down Nemesis. The horrifying stalker whose presence is supposed to make or break the game. One of the most memorable antagonists in the entire Resident Evil series. The original non-giving-up school guy. It turns out, even on higher difficulty levels like Hardcore, throwing just one hand grenade is enough to take him out for long enough for you to escape. You don’t even have to resort to a hand grenade if you’ve saved some of the red barrels conveniently placed around Raccoon City. Just one simple explosion, and he’s done.

There is one key advantage that Nemesis has over Mr X; he’s much faster, so you can’t escape him by simply running in the opposite direction, at least not without a few perfect dodges along the way. However, this isn’t enough to make him scary, especially since he still very politely refuses to follow you into several buildings, save rooms (at least on early difficulty settings,) and in addition to the red barrels, there are also several uncovered generators scattered around Raccoon City that stun him in place as if he’s just another zombie.

A little over halfway into the game, Nemesis transforms into a weird water-dinosaur-chicken monster, and from then on, he only shows up for cutscenes and two boss fights, both of which are remarkably similar, before undergoing a final mutation that leaves him completely immobile, albeit still dangerous and difficult to kill. Overall, Nemesis isn’t a bad villain, but he doesn’t live up to his terrifying behaviour in the original game, and for all of his grumbling about “STAAAAARS!” nothing he says is as unsettling to the player as the simple thump-thump-thump of Mr X’s footsteps.

One Is The Loneliest Number

Especially when it’s compared to four.

A large part of what made the R2make feel like much better value for money is that it had a lot of replay value, and you were encouraged to replay it since it had four different campaigns – one campaign for every brief playable set-piece in which Nemesis bothers to chase you down in the R3make. Leon had two campaigns, Claire had two campaigns, and the player had a game that was good value for money.

I’m not going to tell you that these campaigns were radically different; in every single one of them, you arrive at the police station and have to collect three medallions to unlock the route to fight G1. Then you need to repair a clock to find an electrical MacGuffin to unlock your way out of the station, then you go to the sewers and solve a bizarre chess-themed lock puzzle, fight G2, make your way to the NEST labs, fight G3, etc; broadly speaking, it’s mostly the same campaign. But there are some notable differences.

Leon and Claire respectively meet Ada Wong and Sherry Birkin, and have radically different stories including playable sections with those characters. Leon and Claire each fight a different final boss, with Claire taking down William Birkin’s almost-final G4 phase, and Leon finally squaring up to Mr X, goading him to just try and give it to ya. There’s also a huge fundamental difference in their weaponry; both of them start with basic handguns, but Leon then gets a shotgun while Claire gets a grenade launcher, greatly altering how you approach situations, since Leon can now reliably kill zombies in one hit, but Claire has greater area control. They go on to get more unique weapons; Leon with the Magnum and a flamethrower, and Claire with an assault rifle and a heavy duty stun gun named the Spark Shot.

While the broad strokes are quite similar, the R2make heartily deserves to have two campaigns. There are enough changes to justify it, and they definitely weren’t skimping on making the two experiences sufficiently unique. And then, just for fun, Leon and Claire also get a B scenario each. These campaigns aren’t nearly as different compared to their A scenarios, but there are still some neat touches; enemy placement is different, item placement is different, Leon and Claire get the bolt-cutters early which opens some new routes, and they can both get access to their ultimate weapon (Magnum or Assault Rifle) before the very first boss. Mr X also shows up a little earlier than expected, and the B scenarios are the only way to fight the real final boss… who is a complete pushover, but still, it’s nice.

And then there’s all of the campaigns in the Resident Evil 3 Remake. And by ‘all’, I mean ‘one’. On the one hand, this is definitely true to the original and I can’t exactly complain that they didn’t create an entirely new campaign by magic, just for the remake. On the other hand… even if this is a faithful adaptation, that doesn’t change the fact that even looking at the original titles, this means that Resident Evil 3 only had one campaign compared to Resident Evil 2 having four. A pretty raw deal if you ask me. And while I try not to slip into angry entitled gamer mode too often, I can’t help but think that it wouldn’t have been that hard to record some extra dialogue and come up with a flimsy justification for Carlos and Jill’s gameplay segments to be switched.

None of this is to say that it’s objectively bad that the R3make only has one campaign, but it does mean that the R3make objectively has three fewer campaigns than the R2make had. It tries to make up for it with additional difficulty settings – in additional to Assisted, Standard and Hardcore, there are now Nightmare and Inferno for added challenge – but you have to unlock Nightmare by beating Hardcore, and then unlock Inferno by beating Nightmare. That’s a lot of time spent playing what is essentially the same campaign, in order to unlock the ability to once again play with is essentially the same campaign. They give Jill the Magnum very early on when you play on Nightmare or higher, and move around some of the items, but other than making the enemies – especially Nemesis, in those whopping four chase sequences – more tanky, nothing much has changed. Not enough to justify repeated plays if you’re not having a great time.

There is one benefit to replaying; once you first beat the game, you unlock the shop, and this gives you the ability to hold Recovery Coins, Defence Coins, and you can even pick up two extra hip pouches right at the start. I ended up playing the R3make three times, a normal run on Standard, a no-healing run on Hardcore (equipped with the Recovery Coin,) and a no item box run on Standard again. Independent of the R2make, I would say that the R3make is perfectly decent value for money. But I played the R2make around ten times, including wanting to get an S-Rank on every campaign on Hardcore; not for any reward, but just because I wanted to. And that is a level of investment that the R3make never inspired in me.

A Shocking Lack of Post-Game Content

This is another entry which doesn’t highlight a flaw in the R3make as much as it highlights a… highlight in the R2make. Although it is definitely still a flaw, and I was definitely still surprised to find out upon finishing the R3make that there is no more content. No mini-campaigns, no bonus adventures, no nothing. Which is independently fine, not every game has to have mountains of post-game content, sometimes you just want to finish a game and start something else. But let’s compare this to the R2make again, which had a handful of fun small scenarios to play after the original four. How many? Oh, not a lot, just… TEN.

The Resident Evil 2 Remake received a FREE DLC update named ‘Ghost Survivors’ in February 2019. These four short bonus campaigns play out like ‘What If?’ scenarios. Kendo the gun shop owner fights an army of poisonous zombies through the RCPD and later sewers in order to be rescued by Barry Burton. Katherine Warren, one of Chief Irons’ latest victims in the game, kills him and escapes to reunite with Ben, the journalist Leon meets locked in the RCPD holding cells. An unnamed Umbrella operative fights backwards through the NEST labs in order to retrieve the G-Virus sample. And Sheriff Daniel Cortini from the beginning of the game fights off 100 zombies in a cramped and claustrophobic gas station. All of these are unique, as every character starts with their own assortment of weapons, and there are vending machines along the way that offer a variety of items, but you can only choose one.

But if you can’t be bothered to download a free DLC, then after beating at least one of the B scenarios, you unlock ‘The 4th Survivor’, a campaign with everyone’s favourite Umbrella operative, HUNK. HUNK escapes from the sewers into the RCPD, which has been very creatively blocked off to ensure that you have to take a specific route that runs through almost the entire building just to reach the courtyard exit. HUNK faces some of the toughest enemies and room designs in the game, but he’s also equipped with all of the best items, so it’s less of a challenge and more of a victory lap as you blast everyone with the Magnum and throw grenades everywhere.

Then there are five separate adventures through ‘The 4th Survivor’, playing as everyone’s favourite sentient-block of coagulated soy milk bean curd; Tofu! Tofu has none of HUNK’s incredible weapons, but has an inventory packed with enough knives to counter and flee from any enemies that attack you, if you’re fast enough. Gee, countering sure is handy, I sure hope they don’t take it out of the next Resident Evil remake for absolutely no reason.

Once you’ve beaten Tofu mode, you unlock every more varieties of tofu, each with their own spin on the challenge! Uiro-Mochi carries thirty-six grenades! Konjac has the flamethrower, a grenade launcher with forty flame rounds, and six grenades just for good measure. Flan is just insane, packing Claire’s endgame minigun, Leon’s endgame rocket-launcher, and the Spark Shot with two hundred ammunition. Sorry for excessive italicizing but these are all extremely cool. Finally there’s Annin Tofu, the most difficult of all the Tofus, as their only weapons are two handguns, but their inventory is also packed with a more generous amount of heals.

So now that we’ve covered all ten short bonus campaigns in the Resident Evil 2 Remake, let’s look in more detail at the post-game content in the Resident Evil 3 Remake.

There is no post-game content in the Resident Evil 3 Remake.

Zero! Zilch! Zip! Nada! Nothing! This is not just a shocking lack of content compared to the R2make, but a shocking lack of content in general. Resident Evil 7 had EIGHT more campaigns that ranged from epilogues that expanded and then wrapped up the story of the Baker family, to blackjack and a bizarre but effective room-escape challenge. Resident Evil Village is currently awaiting a new campaign, a new third-person gameplay mode, and new characters in Mercenaries mode, which has been available from the start. Even going back to Resident Evil 4, finishing the game unlocked Separate Ways or Assignment Ada, depending on which version you were playing. How do you go from that to nothing?

And it’s not like there weren’t plenty of obvious opportunities. Carlos’ buddy Tyrell, he could easily have a short story. The UBCS sniper who immediately gets killed by Nicholai to highlight that Nicholai is an asshole, he could get a minisode. Nicholai himself, who repeatedly appears in dangerous spots in the story despite never showing any actual combat prowess; he especially was begging for an expanded story, since he’s technically quite important to the story but also not present for huge swarths despite ostensibly being in the middle of the action.

But the R3make does feature one bit of additional content; packaged with the game was Resident Evil: Resistance, a… (exhausted sigh) – an online multiplayer mode that received mixed reviews. I’ve never been into online multiplayer shooters, so I worried I was being unfair by not giving this mode a chance, but then I discovered that it also has lootboxes and microtransactions, so ha ha ha, great job Capcom, it would have been better to just package the R3make with literally nothing.

Anticlimactic Conclusion

It’s hard to tell exactly how much the considerably-worse reception to the Resident Evil 3 Remake is due to the flaws of the game itself, and how much is because the Resident Evil 2 Remake was just that good. Ironically for a game that could have been a cheap and rushed nostalgia-grab, the Resident Evil 2 Remake was one of the best games of the year, possibly even the decade. Managing to recapture the appeal of an original title while also updating it for modern sensibilities, but also not in a way that loses any of the magic or feels like it’s inherently trying to rip off any titles that have been released in the meantime. It’s an easy 9/10.

The Resident Evil 3 Remake is… fine. Adequate. Functional. It’s like a shower curtain or a toaster; it has a purpose and it serves that purpose, but it never exceeds those goals, and it feels like it never tries to. I know that both remakes were in development at the same time, but something about this just feels rushed. Less care was put into this game, and it shows. It’s alright – and there’s nothing wrong with just being alright (official motto of dopefishblog dot com) – but it’s an obvious step down. It’s an easy 6/10.

This brings us to the upcoming Resident Evil 4 Remake, and I am extremely curious to see how it is received. It’s not what I would call a release with a lot of hype surrounding it, since so many people are doubtful that it will fulfil expectations, but it’s been a long time since a game was announced with a Duke Nukem Forever-esque legacy to live up to. The legacy being that anything short of a 10/10 will be viewed as an unmitigated disaster. Maybe it somehow will, maybe it will just be okay, and maybe it will be terrible, but what I like about the previous two remakes is that you can already see the possibilities.

The Resident Evil 4 Remake could stay faithful to the exceptional Resident Evil 4 while integrating new gameplay additions and genres to an old classic, reinventing it in a way that’s fresh but familiar, bold and new while honourable to the original. That is certainly possible. Or, they could do the bare minimum, releasing a product that satisfies all of the stated criteria but never tries to be anything special, and ends up languishing in mere adequacy. That is also certainly possible. But it’s nice to know that those aren’t just words; Capcom has shown that they have the potential to do both, and while I am doubtful that they can truly live up to one of the greatest video games of all-time, I’ll be excited to see where they land.

The Resident Evil remakes prove that Capcom are capable of developing some of the greatest video games of the generation, and also that they’re capable of phoning it in. And honestly, regardless of which direction they choose, it’s at least reassuring to know that they can make something truly remarkable. I certainly hope they do.

That sounds very dramatic and philosophical, like the end of a video essay. Anyway, my next post should be a review of a game about a talking sock. Bye!

Thanks for reading!


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