Resident Evil 3 -- The 5 Biggest Gameplay Changes from Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 3 features a lot of similarities to its predecessor, but here are a few of the most notable changes from Resident Evil 2.

April 3, 2020

Coming just over a year after the release of Resident Evil 2, it’s time once again to head back to Raccoon City for another night of horrors with Resident Evil 3. Given that Resident Evil 2 managed to perfectly blend the nostalgia of the classic original RE2 with gorgeous visuals and some modern touches, Resident Evil 3 (which arrives today on consoles and PC) definitely follows its predecessor’s tracks with an even bigger and more action-packed scope.

For the most part, a lot of Resident Evil 3 looks and plays pretty similarly to what made Resident Evil 2 so effective when it debuted last year. Spooky environments? Check. A relentless big bad chasing you over the course of the game? Double check.


However, there are plenty of new additions that Resident Evil 3 brings to the table compared to what we saw from RE2, and I’m not just talking about Martin Sandwich. Here are a few of the biggest gameplay changes that RE3 introduces from what we saw in RE2.

Nemesis is a bigger, badder Mr. X

By far the marquee feature of Resident Evil 3 is the introduction of Nemesis, the superpowered bio-weapon that is nigh unkillable. Those that played Resident Evil 2 should already know a bit of what to expect from having to evade the relentless pursuit of Mr. X. However, this time around Nemesis comes packing heat.

On top of appearing in different areas unexpectedly and being a force to reckon with, Nemesis has a few other tricks up his sleeve that make him a more significant new threat compared with Mr. X. While Nemesis follows in the footsteps of Mr. X (literally and metaphorically) by following Jill relentlessly, he also can pull players in from afar with tentacles and blast players away with weapons later on in the game.

Given that there is little to nothing that you can do against Nemesis in most of RE3 (other than a few scripted boss fights), your best option generally is to run away from him and find a safe room, which he can fact not enter. Though Mr. X is probably the scarier of the two big bads between RE2 and RE3, Nemesis is no slouch either. Stay tuned for our upcoming guide on how to deal with Nemesis specifically.

You were almost a Jill “Dodge Roll” Sandwich

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to play as Jill Valentine in a Resident Evil game, at least not since Resident Evil Revelations. Thankfully, RE3 finally gives us the chance to hop back into the role of everyone’s favorite STARS agent alongside her newfound companion, Carlos, to take on the new threats facing Raccoon City.

By and large, playing as and controlling Jill and Carlos in RE3 will feel nearly similar to how Leon and Claire played in RE2. However, the most notable new gameplay feature that is introduced for both Jill and Claire are new defensive maneuvers to help you survive against the game’s numerous enemies. Jill has the ability to dodge incoming zombies or other enemies, and if you time your button press right as an enemy is about to attack, you can trigger a dodge roll to safely evade them. Likewise, Carlos can evade and push back zombies that get too close, giving you the perfect opportunity to follow up with your assault rifle or pistol.

While this isn’t a major change compared to what we saw from RE2, these new defensive options in RE3 are still a significant aid for both Jill and Carlos while trying to evade an army of zombies and other enemies on top of Nemesis being on their tail. Given that you’ll fight a lot of enemies that can move pretty quickly, I would recommend making use of these new abilities and finding the timing window that will help you to avoid attacks.

Now that’s a knife

With Resident Evil 3, it seems like someone on STARS figured out how to make knives that will be able to last in a fight a bit longer. While Leon and Claire had access to knives in RE2, if you used them as defensive weapons against zombies that grabbed them, you’d end up breaking the knife and having to find more.

Thankfully, this time around in RE3, both Jill and Carlos now have access to an unbreakable knife throughout the course of the game. Though it is considerably less powerful than other weapons like the pistol, shotgun, or assault rifle, having access to a knife at all times is still a big advantage when faced with so many enemies. This time around, you can use the knife at will to determine if a zombie that is laying on the ground is actually dead (or not), and lets you rack up some damage or a killing blow on a zombie that is knocked down.

Remember: love your knife, use your knife.

Raccoon City gets even bigger

As the key location in both RE2 and RE3, players get to experience first-hand the devastation that is wreaking havoc on Raccoon City in the midst of a viral outbreak. Though that might hit a little close to home in current events, Raccoon City is in pandemonium, and more than ever, players will get to see a ton of new parts of Raccoon City than ever before.

One of the key changes in RE3 is that aside from players getting to see some new locations in Raccoon City, the environments and areas that you get to explore have opened up in some significant ways. In the first half of the game especially, you’ll get to explore a large part of downtown Raccoon City and find yourself traversing through different stores and areas, so learning the best routes to get from point A to point B will help you out a lot. Likewise, if you’re able to open up shortcuts and know the best safe areas in a section of the map, you’ll have a much easier time trying to get off the trail of Nemesis when he shows up.

With several larger new environments and areas, RE3 gives players a chance to explore in a deeper way as Jill and Carlos. Aside from giving you the chance to find much-needed supplies such as ammo and healing items, if you’re observant you’ll even find some interesting ways that the areas of RE3 intersect with the events of RE2.

There aren’t just zombies anymore

Resident Evil 3 is swimming in zombies, especially now that players will have to venture into some of the biggest parts of Raccoon City. However, this time around you’ll have to face a lot more than just zombies, zombie dogs, Lickers, and a few of the other enemies that you fought off as Leon and Claire in RE2.

Right from the start, Resident Evil 3 introduces several new enemy types that you’ll have to endure aside from your typical household zombie. Some of the most terrifying new additions include some disturbing spiders that like to hang from ceilings and attempt to lay eggs into you, or a new zombie type that will attempt to latch onto your face with the help of a grotesque parasite. You’ll also get to see a few more horrors that RE3 has in store in some of the later sections of the game, such as a sewer-dwelling beast that can swallow you whole, alongside the return of a classic Resident Evil foe, the Hunter.

The moral of the story: Resident Evil 3 will keep you on your toes with a lot of other terrifying enemies, even when Nemesis isn’t stomping around trying to crush your skull.

Resident Evil 3 is available now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Ryan Meitzler

Ryan is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers and has been a lover of games as long as he can remember. He holds a BA in English and Cinema and lives in New York City.

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