During yesterday’s Capcom Showcase, one of Capcom’s announcements was that Resident Evil 7, Resident Evil 2, and Resident Evil 3 were getting the next-gen treatment. The updates were free to anyone who already owns them and is active. right now.
I’ve spent some time over the last twenty-four hours playing all three of these games on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X to see how good the updates are (so no PC, sorry). For the most part, they’re pretty fantastic, but there are some caveats depending on where you play.
Capcom highlighted some improvements that were made with these patches, which were developed by Neobards on behalf of Capcom and includes ray tracing, high frame rate modes, and 3D audio.
First of all, when you start each game, you are given a new “Graphics” option in the menu that allows you to adjust these next-gen features. Ray tracing modes can be turned on and off, but doing so locks out high frame rate mode.
Unfortunately, you can’t have both, though I’ve tried both during my time. Options can’t be adjusted in-game, so you have to exit if you want to change anything, which makes it a bit harder to compare.
Ray tracing mode
The biggest and I would say the most impressive improvement with these updates is ray tracing. Each of the games has been tweaked to offer better reflections and more realistic lighting. The result is quite variable: every game looks different, to be sure, and these games weren’t designed for ray tracing from the start.
But the results, on the whole, are pretty fantastic. Resident Evil 3 seems to be the clear winner here, as much of that game takes place outdoors, in the humidity, beneath a neon-lit cityscape.
That said, ray tracing is a double-edged sword in hardware. It offers a resolution drop that some may be sensitive to and the more open areas of the games also see some noticeable frame rate drops on the PlayStation 5.
Thanks to the variable refresh rates on Xbox Series X, this is less noticeable, but overall both consoles perform well with the visual improvements noted. Both consoles hover around forty-five to sixty frames per second, although as mentioned above, VRR will ease the visual clutter of these drops on Xbox.
High frame rate mode
High frame rate mode removes the ray tracing option and instead offers a smoother experience. This mode has a lower resolution than the other visual modes offer, but as a result, the game moves much faster than when played otherwise.
I think in the long run I would enjoy this mode more than any of the others, especially when running fast, but for now the visual flair that ray tracing adds is winning me over. This mode is estimated to fluctuate between 90 and 120 frames, which still feels much smoother than any of the previously available modes.
Without a doubt, the biggest and most noticeable improvement to the games is loading times, which Capcom didn’t specifically mention in its announcement. I often booted up Resident Evil 7 to show my friends in VR as it was one of the best showcases for the platform I owned. During those times, it would take almost minutes to load the game on my PlayStation 4, and things weren’t much better on PlayStation 5 either. Resident Evil 3 in particular would take Thirty seconds to load into a game.
The new updates reconfigure the games to use the SSD technology of the new console with excellent results. Now, you’re back in the game and playing inside Three seconds. I haven’t done enough testing in different areas of each of the games to back up this lofty claim, but I’ll do it anyway. Next-gen updates to these games mean you’ll be in the game ten times faster as before, which is a super impressive improvement.
Other improvements: 3D audio and DualSense
I have to be honest, I thought these games already had 3D audio support, but I’m assuming the updates fine-tune the experience more than was previously offered. Presumably these updates bring the audio engine up to par with what was featured in Resident Evil Village, which took fantastic advantage of 3D audio to create an atmosphere like no other.
I was excited to test these games with the DualSense triggers to see if any weapons had a more realistic feel. Unfortunately, while Village went to great lengths to make each weapon feel different when you pulled the trigger, these games don’t.
There is what I can really only describe as a “standard” level of resistance with each gun, as well as a faint noise with each pull of the trigger. It’s definitely not taking full advantage of the DualSense, but I guess they tried. I’m not a huge fan of adaptive triggers anyway, so just like in Village, I opted to turn them off in these games as well.
All in all, the updates for these Resident Evil games are pretty solid deals, especially since they’re free updates. While these are some great improvements, I can’t help but be excited to see what Capcom and the RE Engine can do as things move towards newer versions.
For now, these visual improvements are nice enough to warrant another game or maybe even pick up these games if you’ve still done so during this quiet period for releases.
If you don’t have the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One versions of the game to upgrade, you can purchase them below: