Maybe it shouldn’t be too surprising that two of the best games of 2020 are remakes, but nearly everything about the quality fo Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Resident Evil 3 is at least a little surprising.
Of course, when you have two titanic remakes such as these hitting store shelves (or your digital equivalent) so close to each other, the question of “Which is better?” becomes almost inevitable.
In order to break that question down further, we’ve chosen to focus on the following topics in order to answer the more specific question “Which game does a better job of remaking the original?”
Which Sticks Closer to the Original?
This is actually a somewhat close argument for two very different reasons.
Without diving too deeply into spoilers, part of the whole point of Final Fantasy 7 Remake is that it’s different than the original. There are times when the game’s plot directly addresses how different it is than the original. However, many of those differences in the plot come don’t come into the remake until later in the game. Otherwise, Final Fantasy 7 recreates many of the original game’s most memorable early moments.
Resident Evil 3 also features quite a few changes. In fact, entire sections of the latter part of the game have been cut or altered. Even the early parts of the game feature significant changes to the plot and pacing of the gameplay.
Still, Resident Evil 3 probably wins this category. Final Fantasy 7 Remake‘s gameplay overhaul means that it offers a pretty different fundamental experience compared to the original. Resident Evil 3 features similarly notable gameplay differences, but it still feels much more “true” to the original in many respects.
Which Offers More New Content?
This is something of a companion to the above section and, as such, you can probably guess which game gets our vote.
Yes, Final Fantasy 7 offers more new content than Resident Evil 3. In fact, it’s not really even close. Final Fantasy 7 is not only a larger game in general, but it features so many new plots, characters, and gameplay opportunities, that it gets to the point where it sometimes feels like an entirely new game.
Resident Evil 3 features several notable changes, but the absence of some notable sections from the end of the game can sometimes make it feel a bit “thinner” than the original, even if that’s not necessarily the case. Even Resident Evil 3‘s new multiplayer doesn’t really feel like a substantial new addition.
Which Game Feels More Modern?
Basically, what we’re asking here is “Does Final Fantasy 7 Remake or Resident Evil 3 feel more like a game that could have been made for the first time today?”
There’s an interesting debate to be had regarding that subject. Resident Evil 3 certainly benefits from a variety of changes designed to incorporate the more action-oriented style of latter Resident Evil/horror games. In that respect, it doesn’t hurt that the original Resident Evil 3 was already more action-oriented, which helps it adapt to that design philosophy.
Still, our vote goes to Final Fantasy 7 Remake. Not only is it one of the best looking games of this generation, but it benefits from some smart gameplay alterations and concepts that make it feel like the best “modern” Final Fantasy title in quite some time.
Which is Better for First Time Players?
This is a tricky concept. Basically, what we’re asking is “Which game could you sooner recommend to someone who never played the original and wants to experience an upgraded version of it?” It’s less about content and more about which sticks closer to the spirit and concepts of the original.
So far as that goes, Resident Evil 3 feels like the winner here. Even if it’s not exactly the same as the original, it still features more of the same beats and ideas that made the original worth playing in the first place.
On the other hand, Final Fantasy 7 Remake is pretty clearly going for different things. It also doesn’t offer all of the same content as the original game due to its multi-part release structure. You really couldn’t tell anyone who wants to fully experience Final Fantasy 7 that they should play the remake. Actually, there are aspects of the remake which would be downright confusing to those who never played the original game.
Which is the Better Remake?
To be honest, both Final Fantasy 7 and Resident Evil 3 take such different remake paths that it’s hard to really compare them in the first place. In fact, both games really emphasize two different paths you can go with a remake in the first place.
While we’re tempted to give the nod to Final Fantasy 7 because it feels like more of a re-imagining of the original worthy of the remake status, both of these games go to show that video game remakes are a diverse concept that, when they’re done well, cover an array of possibilities.