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SYFY WIRE video games

Gaming: Scary good reviews for Resident Evil 3; Elder Scrolls Online returns to Skyrim & more

By Benjamin Bullard
A screen image from Resident Evil 3

Capcom hit on a good — no, a great thing when it tested the waters for a Resident Evil revival by completely remaking Resident Evil 2, an HD do-over that sent fans and critics alike cowering for cover when it released to universal acclaim last year. But now that they’ve got the ball rolling, how does RE’s newest return to Raccoon City feel?

Judging by the early reviews that’re pouring in for Resident Evil 3, the soon-to-release overhaul of 1999’s Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, it feels pretty terrifying…in the best of ways, of course. With RE3 set to arrive in players’ hands in just a couple of days, critics largely agree that whatever magic formula Capcom has found to breathe new life into the survival horror genre it helped create, they need to stick with it.

Stalked by upgraded lab behemoth Nemesis T-Type, the baddie who like Mr. X before him won’t give dual protagonists Jill Valentine and Carlos Oliveira a moment’s peace, RE3 is getting tons of love for its creepy atmosphere and tight, fat-free story. “I literally jumped at my own in-game shadow more than once,” wrote IGN’s Lucy O’Brien on the way to giving the game a 9 out of 10; while Kotaku’s Heather Alexandra wrote that “the remake threads a spectacular needle,: one that balances “explosive boss fights and ever-present cat and mouse chases [that] never feel out of place.”

The remake currently enjoys an 80 percent aggregate reviewer score at Metacritic (with the Xbox One version sitting at 86), with most of the criticism coming from reviewers who felt the game’s short length and in-your-face horror beats sometimes feel a little over the top. But with a camp horror take on a virus-plagued theme that might feel strangely current in these days of social distancing and self-quarantine, it looks as if Capcom’s timing — both for the story and for all this stay-at-home free time we have on our hands to play through it — couldn’t be better. Resident Evil 3 is set to invade PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC beginning April 3.

If that ocean of free time yawns as you're couch-bound and waiting for society to get back to normal, The Elder Scrolls Online is beckoning with Greymoor, the next big chapter in the MMORPG that since 2014 has been tiding fans over while we await Bethesda’s mainline followup to Skyrim.

Taking to Skyrim’s western reaches for a dark gothic tale of vampires from the deepest bowels of Tamriel, Greymoor is set 1,000 years before the events of Skyrim and continues the larger Harrowstorm storyline that runs throughout the year. To entice newcomers to ESO’s massive sprawling world, Bethesda is serving up a free playable “Greymoor Prologue” for the next two weeks, running through April 13.

Check out the trailer below:

Yep, that looks like snowy lands we know and love, including the cavernous underground depths and dwarven ruins of Blackreach — in this timeline, the place Greymoor’s Vampire Lord baddie calls home. Head back to the land of the Dragonborn beginning May 18 (PC and Mac users) and June 2 (PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), when The Elder Scrolls Online: Greymoor kicks off.

Fans of 2017’s NieR: Automata may not know how deep the NieR DNA runs as a franchise, which is why Square Enix’s announcement of a completely remastered version to commemorate the original NieR’s 10th anniversary feels at first blush like a reboot as much as an HD update.

Square revealed the remaster with a trailer (below) and the tease that the cult favorite is being “rebuilt” to reintroduce players to game designer Yoko Taro’s offbeat, lore-dense action-RPG franchise. We could use a refresher, too: NieR began as an unlikely spinoff of Taro’s wildly imaginative but erratic Drakengard series, before breaking new ground with NieR: Automata — a game set so far in the future from its predecessors that a return to the original feels more than a little like a history lesson.

If we’re being precise, the remaster appears to be targeting NieR: Replicant, the PS3 version of the game released in Japan that followed a younger, less mature protagonist than its U.S. counterpart. With a post-apocalyptic, low-tech setting somewhere in the 4th millennium and an accompanying mobile release titled NieR: Reincarnation also in the works, the NieR remaster doesn’t have a release date — but expect it to arrive some time this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.