Note: This Cloud Version of Resident Evil 2 was tested on 100MB UW Broadband over WiFi and wired ethernet cable, along with a 5G mobile connection.
Following up Resident Evil 2 — whether it’s the 1998 original or the 2019 remake — is no easy task. Indeed, in the run-up to the launch of the PlayStation 2, Capcom found itself in a tricky position: the company was in the midst of producing multiple Resident Evil projects, yet none would be ready for Sony’s next console debut. As such, it saw fit to upgrade a smaller, spin-off title to mainline status in order to satiate a vastly expanding audience, and so Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was born.
Although Nemesis sits comfortably in the shadow of its predecessor, it received its own full remake for modern systems in 2020 with Resident Evil 3, introducing new audiences to one of the most fearsome enemies in the franchise’s history. Developed concurrently with the Resident Evil 2 remake, it nevertheless feels like a lesser product, lacking the scope and ambition of its older sibling and making some bizarre choices with the game’s overall structure and its main villain.
Taking place both before and after the events of the previous game, Resident Evil 3 stars series veteran Jill Valentine as she strives to escape the overrun streets of Raccoon City. As she works to make her exit, however, the hulking Nemesis rudely pursues her at every turn, brandishing rocket launchers, flame throwers, and wiggly tentacles in an effort to halt Jill in her tracks.
With remakes, it’s difficult, if not impossible, not to make comparisons to the original game. With Resident Evil 3, Capcom has streamlined the core experience significantly, resulting in a brisk trek through Raccoon City that rarely stops to catch a breath. This approach works reasonably well for the most part and makes for a pretty exhilarating change of pace when you compare it to the more traditional approach found in Resident Evil 2, but it also significantly changes the way the Nemesis creature behaves, arguably rendering it a shadow of its former self.
In the original Resident Evil 3, Nemesis would show up at seemingly random moments (not entirely random, mind) and pursue Jill relentlessly, crossing through areas and rooms to leave you without any guaranteed safe haven. With the remake, however, because the experience has been made decidedly more linear, Nemesis shows up in heavily scripted sequences, robbing much of what made the creature so terrifying in the first place.
While this makes for some pretty cool, cinematic moments, with rockets narrowly flying past Jill and Nemesis leaping across unbelievable distances, it’s nevertheless a significant downgrade when you compare it to ‘Mr. X’ in Resident Evil 2. The latter would follow you all throughout the RPD station, while the former has been relegated to specific moments, becoming little more than a temporary annoyance. The design of Nemesis has to be commended, though: with huge, chomping gnashers and a booming voice that echoes through the streets, it’s still a standout enemy for Resident Evil fans, despite its weakened status in this remake.
In terms of core gameplay, Resident Evil 3 feels more or less identical to its predecessor. The game utilises the same over-the-shoulder view while maintaining the same inventory mechanics as Resident Evil 2. Much like the original Resident Evil 3, Jill is able to quickly dodge incoming attacks, which — if used effectively — can prove to be a life-saving feature. Tap it at any given moment and Jill will duck and side-step out of the way, but hit it at exactly the right time — just as an enemy attack begins — and she will execute a swift forward roll, instantly moving out of reach of any attacking zombie.
It also makes good use of Jill’s lockpicking ability, hiding a bunch of locks around the environment that you can bust open once you’ve found the relevant pick. These normally hide rooms or cupboards containing useful items like first aid sprays, inventory expansions, and weapons modifications, so it’s worth exploring every nook and cranny of Raccoon City.
However, Nemesis isn’t the only thing that’s been downgraded from the original game. Raccoon City itself feels like a much more constrained environment, leaning into the linearity with fewer optional paths and a sharper focus on tight corridors. Depending on what you’re after with a Resident Evil game, this might even be viewed as a positive, but for us, a city environment should feel sprawling, and after the open-ended nature of the RPD station in Resident Evil 2, the approach taken with the sequel feels somewhat disappointing by comparison.
To expand on this, Resident Evil 3 is also incredibly short, even when compared to the breezy previous title. An initial run may take around five or six hours or so, and that’s if you’re being thorough with your exploration. If you know what you’re doing, you can blast through the campaign in around one or two hours, at the most. On top of that, with Jill being the only main playable character (aside from a cheeky playable cameo from Umbrella mercenary Carlos Oliviera), there’s only one campaign, so none of the multiple scenario stuff that featured in Resident Evil 2.
Finally, to touch on the performance of this cloud release for the Switch, Resident Evil 3 mostly carries on the strong track record seen with recent releases Resident Evil: Village and Resident Evil 2. Load times can occasionally be lengthy and, unlike the previous two releases, we did experience a moment where the server connection randomly dropped, causing significant lag and latency for around one minute. This only happened once, but it was enough to remind us that cloud gaming is still nowhere near where it needs to be, which is a shame. As always, your mileage may vary, so be sure to test the demo thoroughly through your home setup before purchasing.
Resident Evil 3 is a solid remake that aptly pays homage to the original RE3 by failing to live up to its immediate predecessor. While the core gameplay remains strong, with engaging gun controls and a new dodge mechanic that very much feels at home, Raccoon City itself feels disappointingly constrained and its star performer, the Nemesis, has been relegated to scripted sequences. The cloud-related hiccups we encountered here serve as a reminder that the technology is far from perfect, but even if it were, Resident Evil 3 is far from essential. We'd recommend it for the most passionate fans of Capcom’s survival horror franchise who are after another quick fix; everyone else should start with — and probably stick with — RE2.