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Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PlayStation) artwork

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (PlayStation) review

"Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was originally a side project planned to be titled Resident Evil 1.5, but later in development the creators decided it was worthy of being considered a sequel to Resident Evil 2. They were definitely right about that. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is where the franchise truly peaked before descending into mediocrity. "

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was originally a side project planned to be titled Resident Evil 1.5, but later in development the creators decided it was worthy of being considered a sequel to Resident Evil 2. They were definitely right about that. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is where the franchise truly peaked before descending into mediocrity.

This game is not exactly a sequel as far as the storyline is concerned, nor is it a prequel. It is actually a combination of the two, with the first half taking place before Resident Evil 2 and the second half taking place immediately after. The story looks at Jill Valentine, the female heroine from the original Resident Evil. Just as Jill prepares to leave Raccoon City, a pandemic of the T-Virus causes zombies and mutated creatures to run throughout the place, and it does not help that the Umbrella Corporation, who has caused the whole fiasco, has transported dangerous B.O.W.s to the city to test combat data. Once such creature is Nemesis, and he has been programmed to kill all S.T.A.R.S. members due to their knowledge of Umbrella’s involvement in biological warfare. Fortunately for Jill, Umbrella has also transported mercenary teams to rescue civilians as a cover, and so she will have at least some help in surviving. Sure, the story is not breaking any new ground but I have never understood such criticism. After all, most every Resident Evil game uses the same formula with slightly different twists: characters find themselves in a zombie outbreak, use their wits to complete puzzles and dodge monsters, and then escape a big explosion at the end. That is not to say that nothing new will be learned in terms of the story. Much more about Umbrella’s research into B.O.W.s is revealed and it fleshes out questions that Resident Evil 2 did not really answer.

As this scenario takes place in Raccoon City, previous environments such as RE2’s police station will be explored. However, there are many more new areas and it is great to finally be able to see the full scope of the outbreak in the city. The graphics have been upped from its prequels and the pre-rendered environments look fantastic. Everything is less grainy and the characters in FMVs look much more realistic and human (remember how anorexic Leon looked in RE2’s FMVs?). There is also a larger variety of enemies and their designs show more detail than enemies in previous installments. Blood is also far less pixelated. The sound effects all sound like before, but there does seem to be a bigger variety of zombie noises. The music is absent most of the time. Not as memorable, but still great at increasing the eerie mood when it does appear. Voice acting is a step up as well, though not exactly good. But when has Resident Evil ever had good voice acting?

Most of the changes from the prequels are involved with gameplay. Enemies are much more agile this time around and can even follow you up and down stairs. As if this were not enough, swarms of zombies and other monsters regularly pack environments. Of course, the biggest and baddest new enemy is the Nemesis. Once this guy shows up the tension is increased tenfold, as he can follow you into different rooms and is much faster than Jill. He also takes a large amount of ammo to drop, but gets up once again to attack even more aggressively before finally going down. It does not help that he hits like a truck and can bring you into Danger status quickly, even being able to one-shot kill you with a tentacle going through your head. Though many of his appearances are scripted there are many random moments where you will open a door and he just comes charging after you. I recall one point where I had just escaped him from the top floor of a burned down newspaper office and thinking I was safe began walking toward the direction of a large open street. Suddenly a shadow dropped from the sky and Nemesis landed in front of Jill, startling me so much that I shut the game off.

With the large boost in enemy difficulty from the last Resident Evil games, Jill’s abilities have fortunately been upgraded. A Quick Turn ability has been added that lets you pivot 180 degrees in an instant, meaning no more walking in a slow circle in order to turn around. Dodging has also been added. Unlike future RE titles where dodging was activated with a QTE, this gives you no indication. Instead, by pressing the weapon fire button right before being attacked Jill will duck out of the way, and pressing a directional button with this will allow her to dodge in that particular direction. This is not a game breaker, due to the dodge feature not always working. Sometimes you will still get hit or get hindered by the narrow environment, but it is helpful more times than not. Also, an Emergency Escape feature has been added for those situations that have you cornered. It is somewhat hard to pull off due to having to mash all the controller buttons simultaneously to activate it, but when it works you can shove groups of zombies out of the way and it can be a real life saver. One of the great new additions is the Ammo Creation System. With the use of a reloading tool, Jill can find different gunpowder around the city and mix and match them to create unique types of ammunition. This is really fun and adds a fair bit of strategy in deciding how to proceed and I wish future titles in the franchise brought this back.

People will notice that this game is only one disc, and as such there are no alternate scenarios like in the previous Resident Evil titles. Jill is the central focus, though there is a brief run as a mercenary named Carlos (which I found to be the tensest part of the game). However, to make up for this Capcom added Live Scenario events where the screen will go black and white and Jill will have a short period of time to make a decision between two options. Her choice will affect the following scene and change both minor and major details of the story. Discovering the consequences for everything adds a good bit of replay value, as well as trying to unlock all the epilogues. There is also a randomization of enemies and items so you will not always know what is going to happen. Adding to the replay value is a mercenary mini-game called Operation: Mad Jackal, which allows you to play as one of three mercenaries while trying to reach a check point in time, all the while rescuing people and fighting horrible creatures, much like RE2’s ‘Fourth Survivor’ mode. The rewards for completing it enough times are great, such as an infinite ammo Gatling gun or rocket launcher and it is very addicting.

Although Resident Evil 3: Nemesis did not revolutionize the franchise, it is the closest to perfect that Resident Evil ever became. The new gameplay features, increased enemy difficulty, and especially Nemesis all add just enough action to make the game thrilling and tense, but not so much that it becomes a shooter that lets you pump bullets everywhere you go like in future Resident Evil titles. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis combines fear, tension, and action better than every other game in the series.


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Community review by Sise-Neg (February 19, 2012)

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True posted February 19, 2012:

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is where the franchise truly peaked before descending into mediocrity.

Excellent review. I couldn't agree with this statement more.
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zippdementia posted February 19, 2012:

I agree, Nemesis (aside from one REALLY annoying boss fight) was the best in the series.
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Sise-Neg posted February 19, 2012:

Thanks for the feedback guys!

Hmm...the closest boss I could think of as being annoying was the second fight against the gravedigger in the park. Is that the one you're thinking of, zipp?
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zippdementia posted February 20, 2012:

No, it's the first time you are forced to fight nemesis, right after Carlos saves Jill. It's annoying because there is a large set of in-game graphics (AKA unskippable) cutscenes right before the fight. The fight itself is one of the hardest in the games because you actually have to run around, stop and shoot, and then run again and the Nemesis is chasing you around these corners shooting tentacles and rockets at you and you have a tendency to get caught on the corners.

It's the exact midway point of the game. Nemmy is on fire, you're in a garden.
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Sise-Neg posted February 20, 2012:

Oh yeah, that fight. What I hate about that one is that you basically have to guess where you are in the health meter since it just shows the infection status. I had problems with that fight at first until I discovered how awesome Freeze rounds are against Nemmy. Dodging him was still a pain though.
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zippdementia posted February 20, 2012:

Yeah freeze rounds are awesome. I was using acid my first time through, a hang-over from Resident Evil 2 and the Lickers, but the second time through freeze was all the rage and I remember dying only once or so.

Another trick in that battle is to keep moving and only take shots when you are either on the middle screen, the only time you can see Nemesis from a long ways away (how I miss annoying camera angles!) or when you are going around a corner on the garden boxes, because he gets a little stuck, if only for a second, on turning.

Aw man, you're making me want to go play it again. Is the game on PSN yet?
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Sise-Neg posted February 20, 2012:

Yep, it's been on PSN for a while now. RE3 is just awesome. Sometimes it's hard for me to go back to playing RE1 and RE2 after playing Nemesis...

It sucks how they butchered Nemesis in Umbrella Chronicles and in the RE:Apocalypse movie. Operation Raccoon City is using the movie version of Nemesis, too. Ugh.
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zippdementia posted February 20, 2012:

Ugh, why would they use the movie version? It was TERRIBLE. In a classic Hollywood fuck up, the writers looked at Nemesis and said, "he's big and ugly, it follows that he must also be stupid and slow."

One of the reasons he was scary in the video game was because he huge and ugly... and fucking faster than you. And smart enough to lay traps, etc.
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Sise-Neg posted February 20, 2012:

Yep, it's awful. Start from 2 minutes in and prepare to be severely disappointed...
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True posted February 20, 2012:

I died a little inside...
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zippdementia posted February 20, 2012:

Terrible. The Nemesis should have been able to wipe the floor with those guys, the way they were just standing still and picking away at him. Seriously... did I play a totally different version of Nemesis than everyone else? Where did the hulking dumb-ass brute version come from? The whole point of the Nemesis project was to counter the fatal flaw of the Tyrant line, which was their inability to think quickly in a given situation. They were basically walking tanks, singlemindedly trying to kill, one at a time, every combatant in a room. They were a !@#$! prototype. Mr. X, from Resident Evil 2, is the clear sign of how much of a precursor to the Nemesis project they are: he singlemindedly tracks down Leon/Clair and, more specifically, the G-Virus to the point of jumping after it into a vat of molten lead (which, frighteningly, doesn't kill him).

The Nemesis was an improvement on the Mr. X model, programmable as far as tracking a target was, but also capable of immediately adapting to a change in scenario or situation and coming up with its own plan. That's why it only charges Jill the first time it meets her and after that starts to employ stealth tactics: leaping in through windows or off buildings to corner her in alleys and small rooms where her maneuverability sucks. He even begins to wait until she enters buildings with only one entrance and then come in behind her to block an escape route.

Anyway, I'm preaching to the choir and revealing waaaay too much about my obsession with Resident Evil. That's mostly thanks to Thomas Wilde, though, and his awesome plot faq which I read about thirteen times back in the day. It's damn well written:

Anyway, this is the first I've heard of this new Resident Evil game. Looks kinda good, actually. Thoughts?

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