Why Resident Evil 3 is still haunting our nightmares after 20 years

Resident Evil 3 Retrospective
Resident Evil 3 Retrospective

Much like Mr X smashing through a wall to pulverise Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, Resident Evil 2’s brilliant remake smashed our expectations last year. The team at Capcom didn’t just expertly modernise the survival horror classic – they also delivered one of the best games of 2019.

So, you can probably imagine our excitement when Capcom revealed that they’re hard at work resurrecting another horror masterpiece, bringing Resident Evil 3 onto the current console generation complete with shiny new graphics, updated gameplay, and even more horrifying scares. We’ve already analysed the trailer in search of every crumb of new info, but this time we wanted to cover what made the PlayStation original so special.

Resident Evil 3 logo

Much like Mr X smashing through a wall to pulverise Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield, Resident Evil 2’s brilliant remake smashed our expectations last year. The team at Capcom didn’t just expertly modernise the survival horror classic – they also delivered one of the best games of 2019.

So, you can probably imagine our excitement when Capcom revealed that they’re hard at work resurrecting another horror masterpiece, bringing Resident Evil 3 onto the current console generation complete with shiny new graphics, updated gameplay, and even more horrifying scares. We’ve already analysed the trailer in search of every crumb of new info, but this time we wanted to cover what made the PlayStation original so special.

Because, after the runaway critical and commercial success of Resident Evil 2, many were dubious that a third instalment could live up to the hype of the series’ devoted fanbase. To make matters worse, the game’s development was proving difficult. Capcom’s original plan for a sequel set aboard an ocean liner had to be scrapped, and a spin-off project being worked on by a junior team was suddenly thrust into the limelight.

Despite all this, when Resident Evil 3 launched in 1999, it set a new standard for horror gaming. The game’s designers wisely chose to build on the elements that fans most loved in Resident Evil 2, making everything bigger, tougher, and most importantly, scarier. Several important improvements were made to the feel and controls of the game, making returning hero Jill Valentine more nimble than previous player characters, while still maintaining the methodical pacing that was the series’ trademark.

More significantly, the environments were bigger and more varied than any seen in the series so far. Naturally, we returned to Raccoon City, starting in the iconic police station, but this time we could move on to explore more of the city, including downtown, the hospital, and an extremely creepy derelict factory.

And much like Mr X, Resident Evil 3 also had a beefed-up villain who dogged the player’s steps throughout the game. This time it was the hulking beast, Nemesis, who cut an even more imposing figure than the aforementioned tyrant due to the mutating effects of the Nemesis parasite. The constant threat of this daunting villain created a lasting tension that scarcely let up, even when the action paused for some puzzle solving. The introduction of several more enemy types who were corrupted by the T-virus also helped to diversify the gameplay, meaning that the player could never let their guard down.

While we’re not quite sure we’re ready for Nemesis to scare the daylights out of us all over again, we certainly can’t wait to get stuck into Resident Evil 3 when it launches on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in April. Not sure which version to go for? Read up on every edition of Resident Evil 3.

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