In terms of the videogame, I jumped into the Resident Evil Series from number three onwards. Even though it was some time ago now, I remember tension of playing, moving from room to room while trying to manage your ammo, and even control where you wanted your character to walk to. For some reason at the time even the control scheme did its best to make things as tricky as possible to navigate around something as easy as a corner. Only now looking back do I realise how much of a genius move that was, as the Nemesis came lumbering towards you and all you could do was scream, rotate wildly and run into a doorway. It did that thing that so many horror films want to achieve, which is a slow painful death that is creeping towards you slowly, and you are merely delaying the inevitable.
With that in mind, while I always approach these adaptations with a hint of trepidation as past history has shown that board games don’t always translate well onto cardboard. Especially when you are trying to bring in an artificial anxiety into the mix. I open the box with these thoughts at the back of my mind.
The first thing you’ll notice when you unpack your copy of Resident Evil 3 is that it follows a lot of what you would expect from a standard dungeon crawler. A set of tiles of different shapes that will be laid out based on the scenario into different levels, smaller chits that are there to represent doors and barrels and even the unfortunate dead. As expected, the colour palette for most is fairly dull and oppressive though there are some places touched in fire and subtle lighting. This is a game played at night in order to create the atmosphere, so grimy and dull is most of the order of the day.
Steamforged want you to be playing a videogame version of their board game and so alongside the well laid out rules, you’ll find a huge campaign book which is designed to be played through as though you are playing through level by level, hostile environment after hell hole, all trying to escape the lumbering zombies, snapping dogs and other terrors lurking in the shadows. It’s not a game that you’ll have one or two sessions and put to one side. This is a game that just like it’s digital bedfellow is going to need some decent time spent over it order to get the very best out of what it is offering.
Resident Evil 3 suits the analogue version? It’s not perfect by any means, but also at the same time, it’s hardly a horrific way to spend several game sessions. It works because of the amount of randomness that Steamforged have brought to the game. Allow me to explain. Resident Evil 3 works as a game because all of a sudden you will be thrust into a surprise situation where you just have to deal with something as best you can. Sometimes that might result in you having to take risks in order to make sure you have enough resources to cover yourself where things get more desperate down the line. You’ll want to be keeping stuff back just in case. In the board game, resources can be scarce but there never a huge cause for concern here. There’s always something to be found and salvage if you really need to.
As a player, you can move, and open and close doors and search for items, you can try and kill the baddies but most of the time, you’ll be rolling really badly. This frustrated the hell out of me when I started playing as I am really used to being some kind of badass in every other dungeon type explore game I’ve played, laughing as I lay asunder anyone who stands in my way. The key here is that the zombies aren’t a huge threat. Most of the enemies aren’t a huge threat because the evade rolls aren’t too tricky to succeed at until you’re taking on some of the bigger louts. The dice are weighed more towards you being on the attacked side of things than the attacker. You’ll start off with fifteen bullets and when you shoot, you naturally deplete a bullet, but you can also shoot more than once by spending more bullets which will make you roll more dice to try to beat the odds. The bit I like is that you can quite literally shoot a zombie four times if you want to and only manage to knock it back even if you roll a success. I really like that. It lead to me being laughed at when I was playing because I seriously couldn’t hit get the dice. That resulted in me running, passing through zombie squares, and trying to avoid being attacked.
You can find out more about the Resident Evil 3 Board Game by visiting https://steamforged.com/en-gb/products/re3-tbg
Game Concept – Mat Hart
Lead Designer – Sherwin Matthews
Lead Developer – Fraser McFetridge
This review is based on the final retail version of the game provided to us by the designer and publisher. We were not paid for this review. We give a general overview of the gameplay and so not all of the mechanical aspects of the game may be mentioned.
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