Resident Evil 3 Demo Hands-On: Raccoon City is almost as terrifying as Nemesis

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When Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on September 22nd, 1999, no one knew that the series could be bigger and bolder than it already is. However, that’s about to change when Resident Evil 3 drops on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in a newly reimagined iteration of the PlayStation 1 classic.

When it seemed all of Capcoms chips were down, their final cards had been drawn, and they had nothing up their sleeves, they wanted us to know just how wrong we were. The company came back, throwing heavy-hitting titles such as Street Fighter V, Devil May Cry V, Monster Hunter: World, and Resident Evil 2 Remake would come to be their royal flush, each showing the company has what it takes to exceed every expectation.

Now, we’re visiting Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira once again for the first time in over 20 years. Their story, reimagined to work better than it did when the title, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, first debuted on PlayStation consoles in 1999. However, our demo doesn’t give us much to look at, but at the same time, it gives us a lot more than you might expect.

It’s a brief, yet entertaining and adrenaline-pumping experience. Jill’s supplies are limited and her time with Mikhail and Carlos is all-but-brief. Your entire goal in the demo is a simple one: Get the subway infrastructure back online. Get everything you can up and running as it had been previously, which includes you moving through the vast and open city streets.

The demo is quick to get you acquainted with how combat works. Aiming works the same, Left Trigger to aim, Right Trigger to shoot, D-Pad navigates your hot-keyed items, and from there, it’s off to business as usual, similar to Resident Evil 2. Unlike Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, this version is more in-depth, more intense, and is a much more visceral experience than before.

Once familiar semi-isometric locales are much different than before, bringing it down to over the shoulder just as Leon Kennedy’s experience was in Resident Evil 2 last year. It’s similar in a lot of ways, but now, it’s one that is bigger, it’s a city that feels lived in, devastated, and compromised by an outrageous breakout caused by the Umbrella Corporation.

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The Scale of Resident Evil 3 is impressive and it is no small feat

You can’t help but appreciate it either. Resident Evil 3 isn’t a sub-par remake at all. Much like Resident Evil 2 and Square Enix’s upcoming Final Fantasy VII Remake, you can expect a lot of change to happen. The games themselves will be fully remastered experiences, each one with their own unique twist, allowing them to truly expand upon previous design choices that were made by limited hardware capabilities at the time.

Now, Raccoon City is much grander in overall scale. It’s massive, it’s chaotic, but, it feels lived-in and organic compared to the tightened corridors that Resident Evil 2 was home to, but that’s where this one opens the franchise up for a bigger, darker, ability to experience the T-Virus induced apocalypse. The controls themselves also feel improved upon, allowing for players to experience this entire scenario in a much more fluid way.

Walking through darkened allies lit only by flickers of a fire or sparking wires is truly impressive, asserting a very dark, grim, feeling based on the overall visual design choices made. Zombies aren’t limited to a single space, neither is that all-too-familiar and even more terrifying Nemesis that will chase you about. Resident Evil 3 feels right at home because of this.

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Resident Evil 3’s graphics and performance are as expected and even better in many ways

One thing that can be agreed upon is the graphics. Ever since the current generation launched and the new RE Engine gained steam as an engine full of visual capabilities, we’ve succumbed to its grandeur and it’s hard not to admit it continues to impress. In the demo for Resident Evil 3 on a PlayStation 4 Pro, the game exceeds expectations, maintaining a steady 60 FPS even at the most intense moments of the demo, rarely kicking the fans in the system on.

Performance aside, the graphics themselves are absolutely stunning as Raccoon City comes to life in ways we would never have imagined it to be. The cities are lived-in, they are terrifying, which leaves the lighting effects to be some of the best we’ve seen to date. To be honest, this, at the moment, is quite possibly one of the best-looking experiences we may get from this franchise as this generation begins to slowly come to an end with new consoles expected to release this holiday season.


Encountering Nemesis requires precision and player responsiveness

One of the highlights of the game, is, of course, Nemesis. He’s a terrifying enemy, one that actually doesn’t attack just the players, but also makes a new type of zombie, one that is fast, aggressive, and even more lethal than its previous form. Nemesis also comes with his own weak point almost precisely over the left side of his chest, making it a critical point so that players have some way to fight back against him and escape his assault.

Don’t expect this to be effective though. Nemesis will pursue you through the streets, through the buildings and even attack you in a safe room. He’s as vicious as it seems and if he remains as relentless as he is now, we can only imagine how he’ll compare to the full version of the game, which has led to a truly terrifying experience.

Luckily, a few new features we saw in Resident Evil 2 have made their way over, making maneuvering, dodging, and even getting back on your feet a lot more responsive. Jill, for what it’s worth, has a one-up on Leon Kennedy as she is a bit more nimble thanks to some wise game-design choices that were made. Overall, this is the experience we’ve been waiting for, the very essence of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis we had once hoped we could have had back in 1999. Now, here we are, ready to see Racoon City in an entirely different light.

Safe rooms aren’t safe when the tyrant is around and with how impressive the demo already is, we can only say that April 3rd, 2020, will be quite explosive.

About the Writer(s):


Dustin is our native video game reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the borders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable.  You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook where he interacts with his followers quite a bit!

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