Early in 2019, Capcom released the critically acclaimed Resident Evil 2 remake, which I called the greatest Resident Evil game ever released. And just a couple weeks ago, Capcom released the Resident Evil 3 remake as a follow-up to RE2, sending players back to Raccoon City for a date with the terrifying Nemesis.
Let’s take a look at both games and compare them in a few categories (story and characters, gameplay, and replay value) before deciding which game is the better remake.
Story and Characters
Resident Evil 2 centers around Leon, the rookie cop who runs headfirst into a zombie apocalypse his first day on the job, and Claire the ridiculously capable college student who comes to Raccoon City in search of her brother. Both characters are immediately charming and charismatic as soon as you lay eyes on them and get to know them better throughout the course of the story.
Leon might feel a little two-dimensional as the goody two-shoes cop, but his unrelenting earnestness and desire to do right by everyone is endearing. It certainly helps that he’s always full of quippy one-liners and witty snap backs as well.
Claire is the responsible, nurturing figure who can’t help but feel protective over the people around her who need help, and that’s made evident through her interactions with Sherry. She’s kind and caring, and also a total badass when it comes to zombie-slaying.
Aside from these two, we’ve also got Sherry and Ada as capable support characters who have become so much better developed and well fleshed out since their PS1 days. We’ve got Annette and William Birkin who were nothing more than caricature villains in the original game, and they’re actual compelling characters in the Resident Evil 2 remake.
The way the Resident Evil 2 story slowly unravels from the police station to the sewers and orphanage, to the NEST lab, is utterly compelling. Our heroes are so easy to root for, you can’t help but be gripped every step of the way.
Resident Evil 3 puts us in the shoes of series icon Jill Valentine, and we also get to revisit Raccoon City. This time, the story centers around her escape from her story and Nemesis, who chases her relentlessly throughout the entire game.
Aside from just escaping, though, Jill also finds herself caught up with some Umbrella soldiers, including the charming Carlos and the nefarious Nikolai. Jill and Carlos have great chemistry in RE3, and watching their flirty interactions is also hilarious and fun.
However, that’s about as good as it gets. Nikolai is an incredibly bland and boring villain; he was forgettable in the original game, and nothing really changes in the remake either. The story, while pretty standalone for the most part, is also somewhat contingent on you having played the first game and also having a decent understanding of the consequences of those events.
Resident Evil 3’s story is fine, but its supporting characters are just okay, and nowhere near as memorable as Resi 2’s Ada Wong. We’ll put it this way: there’s a reason why the original Resident Evil 2 is widely regarded as the best game in the series, and why Resi 3 is often seen as the least popular sibling in the original trilogy.
Winner: Resident Evil 2 takes this one easily.
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