Cover art for a remake of Resident Evil 3 has leaked online before an official announcement from Capcom. The art appeared on Gamestat, a site that tracks everything added to the PlayStation Network. Long rumored, the critical and commercial success of the Resident Evil 2 Remake made a redo of Resident Evil 3 inevitable. It also represents a chance for Capcom to update one of the most unloved entries in the Resident Evil franchise.
Resident Evil 3: Nemesis felt more like a spinoff or expansion pack than a full game. As Raccoon City collapses after a T-Virus outbreak, S.T.A.R.S. member—and Resident Evil star—Jill Valentine must escape the city. With the static, pre-rendered backgrounds, boat controls, and obtuse puzzles, Resident Evil 3 played like its predecessors but focused on action rather than horror. Valentine spent the bulk of the game fighting or running from the monstrous Nemesis, a T-Virus super soldier similar to Resident Evil 2’s Mr. X. She came equipped with a new dodge, a first in the franchise, but Valentine never quite felt like the action hero the game wanted her to be.
The action heavy gameplay didn’t quite work and the game was much shorter than its predecessors. A series veteran could beat it in around five hours. Branching paths and multiple endings made it replayable, but repeat viewings lessened the tension and exposed the game’s flaws. Resident Evil 3 reviewed well, but it’s the weakest of the early Resident Evil games. But the action oriented gameplay hinted at where Capcom would take the series.
Resident Evil has survived more than two decades because it adapts. Its poor controls and pre-rendered backgrounds had become stale by its third installment. Capcom release Resident Evil 4 on the Gamecube in 2005 and changed its flagship franchise forever. RE4 is still a horror game, but it trades survival for action. Capcom ditched the pre-rendered backgrounds and brought the camera to a third person, over the shoulder, perspective. The focus is on shooting and stabbing your way through hordes of undead, nearly-dead, and monstrous villains. It was a departure, but it worked. Resident Evil 4 sold millions of copies, defined third person shooters for a generation, and has been ported to everything from the Nintendo Switch to the iPad.
The Resident Evil 2 Remake is so wonderful because Capcom took the gameplay and controls that worked in Resident Evil 4 and brought them into Resident Evil 2. More than just a simple remaster, Resident Evil 2 feels like a new game.. Much of the tension of the original came from its poor controls. Aiming was hard and bullets were scarce. In Remake, the player has more control but the zombies are tougher. A headshot isn’t a guarantee the infected won’t wake up and attack again. They’re clever changes that could augur well for the survival and action focused Resident Evil 3.
In 1999, the idea of Resident Evil 3 was better than its execution. When it worked well, it felt like the back half of Resident Evil 2, when Mr. X pursues the heroes through the dilapidated Police Station. When it didn’t work, Resident Evil 3 was a frustrating action game with poor controls and horror elements that didn’t quite fit. But it had good bones. The story was simple—Valentine must escape a dying city while pursued by an unkillable monster. A change in perspective, a tightening of controls, and a little experimentation with story like we saw in Resident Evil 2 Remake could make Resident Evil 3’s remake a better game than its namesake.
I’m ready to dodge Nemesis’ rocket launcher and push him off the bridge one more time.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.