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Gaming: Resident Evil 3 scares up new demo; FFVII behind the scenes & more

By Benjamin Bullard
Resident Evil 3 Nemesis

We’re still a couple of weeks away from diving into another zombie-infested tour of Raccoon City, but you won’t have to wait even that long to get a taste of what to expect when Capcom releases its much-anticipated HD remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.

Simply titled Resident Evil 3 this time around, the completely overhauled update to the critically-loved 1999 original is getting a free playable demo on Mar. 19, ahead of the full game’s release on April 3. Like last year’s stellar top-to-bottom remake of Resident Evil 2, it looks as though Capcom is sparing no detail in bringing the old-school original into the modern era, as you can see from the preview below.

The RE3: Raccoon City Demo follows protagonist Jill Valentine as the playable character, along with co-protagonist Carlos Oliveira, and they’ll again be stalked by the menacingly freakish lab experiment the Nemesis T-Type — who looks more twisted and fearsome than ever in his current-gen form. Also coming early is a brief open beta preview for Resident Evil Resistance, a co-bundled multiplayer game that’s essentially a free add-on to the base RE3 package. The beta begins on Mar. 27, and runs until the full game’s April 3 release for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Even players who’ve by now worked their way through the available demo for the Final Fantasy VII Remake haven’t glimpsed the all-new areas of Midgar that’re tucked away inside Square Enix’s brand-new, 21-minute behind-the-scenes mini-documentary on the making of the game.

Debuted this week as only the first part in a series, the cool new feature brings together many of the returning creative talents involved in the classic 1997 original, including director Tetsuya Nomura, co-director Motomu Toriyama, and producer Yoshinori Kitase — all of whom have taken a turn (or two) directing other games in the larger numbered Final Fantasy franchise.

The clip is in Japanese, but a click on the closed captioning icon serves up English subtitles through the whole thing. Check it out:

As Nomura says, the remake will feature entirely new areas of the city; places that had to be left only to players’ imaginations in the original. That includes the upper layer of Midgar, where the more privileged classes look down on the slums below — where most of the action took place in the PlayStation 1 version.

“You travel through the slums quite a lot [in the older game], but it didn’t really feel like we used the upper city all that much,” said Nomura. “I thought we should have done that. Of course, you do go back to Midgar later and see some different scenes there, but I felt it would be nice if we could see more of the upper layer in the earlier part of the story.”

Next month’s release of Remake will deliver the first part in what’s expected as a multi-installment release for Final Fantasy VII’s modern reimagining, and as Nomura alludes, it’ll take players up to the point at which Cloud and the gang finally leave Midgar. Set as a PlayStation 4 exclusive until next year, Final Fantasy VII Remake arrives on April 10.

Finally, EA DICE is giving self-quarantining Star Wars fans a pretty cool gaming perk as they wait with the rest of the world for the all-clear signal from the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this week, the team behind Star Wars Battlefront II surprised players by announcing the game would be offering a Force-powered boost to their characters in the form of double experience point rewards for the next several days…before sweetening the pot even further by tripling the XP.

Via Kotaku, the idea of accelerating players’ path to galactic greatness began with a Reddit post from a gamer who joked that developers should give fans some kind of incentive for having to weather the coronavirus threat at home. DICE team member Ben Walke, who posted the tweet above, reportedly saw the suggestion when he was tagged in the original Reddit thread, and came back with the surprising news that the Battlefront II team had decided to honor the request.

From now until Mar. 27, Battlefront II players can stack up double the XP thanks to EA’s cool gesture, and then dig in for three times the leveling when the triple-XP system goes into effect through the following weekend. Hey, if you’re sticking out at home anyway, you might as well get in on the action while you can. Star Wars Battlefront II is available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.