"Arch Enemy would be proud."

There is one reason to play through this game, and only one. Hint: It's in the game's title. Nemesis is a relentless bastard, and will put more doubt in you than any other villain from any other game. He's basically an anti-S.T.A.R.S. bio-weapon designed by Umbrella to hunt down and kill anyone who survived the Spencer Mansion incident, in their effort to keep said incident from going public. They have loads of combat data on S.T.A.R.S. members by this point and loads of failed weapons to show for it, so they made sure Nemesis was no joke. If you blow him up, he comes back. If you run away like a little girl (and you should), he's always there. He's faster than you, stronger than you, can instantly kill you, follows you around pretty much the entire game and seemingly cannot be killed. Even after you beat the game, you'll expect him to pop up and rip Jill's head off or something. This dude is everywhere, and is completely relentless.

As for the rest of the game, it's not very good at all. Capcom went with the “Resident Evil 2 was good, so let's try making the same game over again with minimal new stuff” approach, and failed pretty badly. They pretty much took everything bad from 2, stuck it all together, added Nemesis and called it a game. Nemesis is good; his game is not. This game might as well have been called “Resident Evil 2, But Not Really: Nemesis”.

You're Jill Valentine, stuck in zombie-infested Raccoon City 24 hours before the events of Resident Evil 2. Your only goal, from the beginning of the game all the way until the end, is escaping the city. You don't get the standard array of cool objectives, conspiracy theories, new characters, Wesker being awesome or Umbrella behaving badly. You're just… Jill. It's your last escape. That's it. You do meet a new character or two along the way, but no one particularly memorable or relevant. Nemesis pops up before long and follows you around like a hawk on a rodent, giving the game its lone highlight.

The controls are pretty much identical to RE2, but with one notable addition: Quick turning. Before RE3, you were pretty much controlling a tank and had to pivot in tight spots. If some enemy was close to you, you had to slooooowly turn around and were probably getting hit. In RE3, you can finally do a fast 180. That's the good news. The bad news is Jill not starting with a lockpick (total blasphemy) and this really terrible ammo reloader gimmick. Instead of just giving you ammo, the game will often give you these gunpowders that you have to combine with each other and the reloader before getting actual ammo. Without a guide or trial and error, you have no real clue what ammo you'll get before combining the powder with the reloader. It's one of the worst ideas ever, because everyone would rather just get ammo without wasting time mixing stuff in some menu.

Pretty much everything else is identical to RE2 as well, but Nemesis has a way of only copying the bad stuff. Remember the first bit of RE2, before you entered the police station when you were stuck on the street? It was lame, but it only lasted like five screens. In RE3, well over half the game takes place on the Raccoon City streets in similar fashion. The areas you finally get to go in later are nothing special, and Nemesis copies RE2's atmospheric style -- that is to say, there is no atmosphere, and there's barely any music to speak of. The graphics are okay enough, but you can tell they put all their time into designing Nemesis and skimped on everything else.

Which pretty much describes this entire game. Capcom put all their effort into making Nemesis awesome, at the expense of everything else. It's worth playing through once if you're an RE series fan just to see Nemesis in action, but that's it. Thankfully you only need to play through it once. None of that AB/BA multiple story playthrough nonsense, which is one thing from RE2 Capcom was smart not to keep around. In Nemesis, you only really have to play through once to see everything. There are occasional live action choices you have to make, but only one really changes any of the game's events. Other than that, the live action thing is a myth. There's one part where an earthquake opens a hole under you, and your choice is jumping away from the hole or jumping in. If this happened to you in real life, would you really jump down into a bottomless pit intentionally? Come on now.

Overall, this is a “play through once, then forget about it” title.


Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 02/24/10

Game Release: Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (US, 11/11/99)


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