You (Literally) Cannot Escape In The Resident Evil 3 Demo: Three Major Concerns From A Fan
So the Resident Evil 3 demo came out recently, much to the delight of every streamer with nothing to do since we all became trapped indoors. It’s a packed week between DOOM Eternal, Animal Crossing, and Find the Letter H, but I’d say it’s most fitting to play a game about a deadly viral outbreak during a deadly viral outbreak. And just like the viral outbreak we’re dealing with in real life, it seems like the powers that be prepared poorly for the spread of the Resident Evil 3 demo as well. Let me start off by saying that I’m still very excited for Resident Evil 3. Nemesis is sufficiently menacing, the more open levels are more satisfying to explore, and the modern zombies we saw in RE2 are just as terrifying as ever. However, there were a few major issues in the demo that raise some red flags.
1) You Can’t Quit:
I’m a PC gamer. I’ll switch to a console when I have to, but I didn’t drop 2k on a gaming rig to not humblebrag about it. It makes capturing screenshots/footage easy, and I can pop on an episode of my favorite show on my second monitor while grinding. So maybe this isn’t as much of an issue on consoles where you can just push the home button to suspend your program. On the PC however, there’s no option to quit the demo. As you can see from the picture above, all you can do is resume or go into the options. And no, the quit option isn’t in some other menu or under settings. In order to exit, you have to Alt+f4.
If your reaction to this is, “well the demo can be completed in like 20 minutes, why not just finish it,” then you are a blind fanboy. There’s no legitimate excuse for the demo not having the basic features required to make a game functional. This is very clearly an oversight due to focusing their attention on console audiences. They made the demo with PS4/Xbox One in mind, and just forgot that PC gamers might also need to exit the game before they finish. Which is not a comforting precedent before the full release.
Speaking of how the demo is supposed to be played in one run…
2) The Automatic Checkpoints Are Poorly Spaced:
I’m the kind of guy that likes to get all the collectibles. I think it’s great that Capcom added the “Mr. Charlie” dolls in just for the demo. If you aren’t familiar, the Resident Evil 3 demo has a number of hidden dolls that you can shoot for extra internet points. Some of these are hidden at odd angles, while others require special conditions to be met before they spawn. These are dope, no complaints. However, one of the dolls requires you to dodge enemies 20-25 times. While completing this task, I died. It was late, I suck, I need to git gud, whatever. It was at this point that I spawned all the way back to where you first encounter the fire. To put it mildly, it was a bit of a pisser.
If your reaction to this is, “other Resident Evil games have released demos that you had to beat in one go,” you’re a troglodyte. This demo is not marketed as a one-life challenge run. If your reaction is, “Resident Evil 3 is intended to have a save system reminiscent of the classics,” then you have a good point. However, Resident Evil has evolved into a far more cinematic franchise. Remember the jail sequence in the Resident Evil 2 remake? Or the new version of the sewer croc fight? While you can debate the merits of this cinematic direction, this style packs the most punch when you can quickly retry after failing. No one wants to wade through 7 rooms of item collection every time they retry a setpiece. While you can also just put a save room in front of every major moment, these can spoil the surprise. We all know what it means when you encounter a closet with bullets, healing herbs, a rocket launcher, and a save point right before a giant unexplored empty room.
The solution is to have a series of invisible autosave points to keep things tight and spoiler-free. After dying in Resident Evil 3, the point I got kicked back to was way too far back. To be clear, I didn’t get kicked back to the start. This isn’t a situation that with no saves, you just have to start over. I got kicked back to a specific setpiece that just happened to be close to the beginning. There were several interim moments I can think of that would have served as suitable invisible checkpoints. While this COULD be different in the final game, I highly doubt it. Despite the disclaimer at the start, it’s unlikely that the final game will differ substantially from this demo. It didn’t change between the RE2 demo and full game. Other than the dolls, there’s no reason to assume it will here.
But hey, maybe their solution is that you’ll never die! Which would explain why…
3) The Dodge System Is Nutso Strong:
The Resident Evil series has been around for a very long time. With each new game, Capcom needs to up the ante. This can be through bigger monsters, new mechanics, a new perspective, etc. It’s usually a mix. With the Resident Evil 2 reboot, a new baseline was established for future reboots to build upon. Resident Evil 3 was a great fit to follow it up, not only because it was sequentially next in the series, but because Nemesis was historically a beefed-up version of Mr. X. With the new level of danger, Jill needed some new tools at her disposal to match it in kind. So Capcom added a dodge mechanic that will allow Jill to access those sweet sweet Soulslike i-frames.
This system is more busted than a post-bull china shop. Astute readers will notice I earlier complained that I died because I’m a casual scrub. This is only because I was actively trying to get close to the zombies and test just how much of my face I could insert into their mouths before I had to dodge. Once you get the hang of the system, you can easily dodge your way through handfuls of zombies without much worry. For a genre that’s supposed to instill a feeling of vulnerability, mastering the mechanic removes most of the tension.
If your response to this is, “you’ll have to play the final game to see how it actually works,” …well, that’s actually a good point. I have no idea how some of the later enemies will interact with this mechanic. Maybe lickers will just slap you with their tongue for reduced damage. Maybe there will be multi-dodge QTE style combos you need to pull off to beat some bosses. It could be super dope, and ramp up the action like Resident Evil 4 did. We’ll have to find out together when Resident Evil 3 drops.
Luckily, we won’t have to wait too long for the full version of Resident Evil 3 to release. RE3 will be available on April 3rd on PC, Xbox One, and PS4. Despite my concerns, I’m still incredibly excited for this one. You can count me day-one for this apocalypse. If you want to pre-order the game on PC or find out more, you can click here for the Resident Evil 3 Steam store page.