So according to Capcom, Resident Evil 3 is going to be more focused on ‘action’. The Resident Evil series has a complicated and controversial history with ‘action’. It’s accepted by many fans that Resident Evil 4 is one of the strongest entries in that franchise. Just look at the amount of ‘Game of the Year’ lists it’s managed to top. It was (and still is) a truly exceptional game that not only reinvigorated Resident Evil but revolutionised the entire third person shooter genre. But here’s the problem; despite the games excellence, its action heavy approach set Resident Evil on a path where it lost its identity then struggled to appeal to any particular audience.
The fourth entry was scary at times though, for example; those mumbling monks! The ones who shambled towards you with sickles were genuinely unsettling. While the game was more of an action focused third person shooter it was aware of its heritage as a horror game. As much as most fans loved it though, there was a nagging feeling that this wasn’t the Resident Evil we knew, and perhaps the series had strayed too far from its roots. Resident Evil 5 and 6 proved that they were right.
But Resident Evil has always contained action if we’re being honest with ourselves. Yes it’s the survival and atmosphere that make the games so great, but most entries do end with you shooting a rocket launcher at a blobby monster while your character cheerily quips “Game Over!”. There’s no escaping Resident Evil’s appeal is shooting monsters as well as running away from them when you’re out of ammo. Resident Evil isn’t Outlast or Soma, i.e games where you’re completely helpless. You’ve normally got the tools to defend yourself with lethal force, the horror comes from not being able to do so.
But in fact it was Resident Evil 3 that actually started the transition to action, but it never forgot to be a survival horror game, it just used survival and horror differently. Those who played the original Resi 3 will remember it was slightly more action focused than its predecessor. From more zombies, bigger less claustrophobic environments, to being chased by Nemesis and having more and bigger guns with plentiful ammo, the game ramped up the action when compared to Resident Evil 2.
Fans are concerned that Capcom’s recent admission that the upcoming Resident Evil 3 remake will be more action focused may take the series back down the wrong path. Down a Resident Evil 6 path, a game that more in common with a Michael Bay movie than a survival horror title. While we are of the belief that Resident Evil 6 was treated too harshly back in 2012, and isn’t anywhere near as bad people say. It was however absolutely a low point for the series, and we understand why some fans are concerned.
But there’s no need to be. Resident Evil 3 is supposed to be more actioned focused. It always was, so it makes sense that the next remake will be more actioned packed than Resident Evil 2. This doesn’t mean that we’re heading back down the wrong path. If Resident Evil 3 is to be as faithful a remake as its predecessor then it will need to embrace the chaos a little bit more. But Resident Evil 3 was always a survival horror game at its heart, and if Capcom recreate it as well as they did with 2, survival horror is exactly what we’re going to get.