Lots of people lately have suggested that Nintendo’s newest Animal Crossing game is the perfect diversion to sweetly wile away our time in these quarantined, COVID-19 days. In that light, then, Capcom’s remake of Resident Evil 3 might be considered the worst.
After all, it starts with reporters fearfully warning the public of a pandemic that’s spreading throughout the world faster than any other. Of course, in this case, we’re not dealing with face mask-clad folks ambling about anxiously in the local supermarket. No, the Resident Evil pandemic turns its victims into actual zombies!
The original Resident Evil 3: Nemesis arrived in 1999 and changed things up quite a bit for the series. It streamlined the man-made zombie apocalypse scenario into something more focused and action-oriented, setting the tone for future franchise games and movies. And this new version certainly reimagines that action-focused tale with all the current-gen game-mechanics and graphic reality it can muster.
Jill Valentine, the game’s Special Tactics and Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.) protagonist, finds herself holed up in a Racoon City apartment when the game begins. She’s trying to figure out how this zombie plague began and who to blame for the horror raging in the streets. Of course, as anyone familiar with Resident Evil games will know, the clues point to Umbrella Corp: the leading brand in all things evil.
Jill’s short-lived moment of contemplation, however, is just a brief intro to the situation at hand before a massive monstrosity of stacked-up humanoid muscle and nearly indestructible flesh comes smashing through her bedroom wall and bashes her around like a ragdoll. The creature—later revealed to be a purposely created bioweapon called the Nemesis—is laser-focused on eliminating any and all remaining S.T.A.R.S. officers. And Jill remains in its ever-rampaging and ever-mutating crosshairs throughout the game.
There’s not a lot of time, then, for mystery or puzzle-solving in this RE entry. Jill just has to keep moving as she tries to rescue survivors and, if possible, to find some form of cure while fending off zombie hordes along the way.
And other than meeting another trustworthy military type named Carlos—a guy gamers play in a couple sequences—it’s all Jill and her constant bloody battle.
And I do mean bloody.
Indeed, this is a gory, goopy, explosive and flesh-shredding game. And all of that bloody detail isn’t just some peripheral aspect of play, either: It’s the star of the show. Jill may be grabbing whatever weapons she can find to blast away at zombies and other grotesque creatures, but it’s the photorealistic disemboweled organs and the many examples of mutilated human anatomy that are given center stage here.
And the creatures on hand aren’t simple target practice dummies, either. They keep coming and coming. Even after Jill shoots them down—popping open their heads, ripping out a lung or splattering off a jaw bone in flamboyant, body-horror ways—they just keep staggering back up for more. Other horrific, mutated creatures comprised of razor teeth, grizzled flesh and peculiar plant life spew gore, offal and seemingly molten gunk all over the world Jill (and you, of course) wades through.
That’s not even taking into account the rancid mess that the agile Nemesis creates as it terrorizes Jill and continues to morph into increasingly nasty, ever-more mutated versions of itself, all while gutting, impaling and pureeing anything in its path. By the time Jill faces off in the final boss battle with this now gigantic creature, the huge room they’re in ends up covered in a thick coat of meat-grinder flesh pulp.
Some have called this game “visually stunning,” and I would grudgingly have to agree. But that doesn’t make it easy to stomach. Add in a constant spew of f-words, nasty crudities and misuses of God’s name, and you’ve got a game that’s frightening, foul and fevered. In other words, perhaps not the healthiest content combo for anyone in this moment (or any other) of self-isolation.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.