Resident Evil 2 has and always will be my favorite in the series. In fact, it’s in my top 10 games of all time. I’ve completed it more times than is probably healthy to admit. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, on the other hand, is a game I’ve always held in high regard, yet I’ve only ever completed it once, and that was back on release for the original PlayStation in 1999. A completely different millennium!
I’ve been playing a lot of the Resident Evil Remake recently and had a strong desire to play more. Having some time over Christmas I sat down with my Vita and decided it was high time I played Nemesis again. So, I did.
Initially, I had decided to have a nice relaxing time and play the game on easy, just to get in the swing of it. After all, it was Christmas, I deserved to relax. How wrong I was. At the title screen, I was given the option of easy or hard and having not remembered everything about the game I hadn’t remembered that hard is effectively normal mode and easy is just what it says on the tin. After getting to the first item box I had 3 first aid sprays, an infinite ink ribbon, a magnum, shotgun, handgun, machine gun and loads of bullets. I couldn’t bring myself to be that lazy and immediately restarted on hard. I apologize for my digression.
Capcom has a habit of canceling projects or completely changing them. Who can forget Resident Evil 1.5 being scrapped, or a version of Resident Evil 4 becoming the first Devil May Cry? Resident Evil 3 is no different. It was originally supposed to be a spin-off game with a new character. However, due to time limitations on the lifespan of the PS1, Capcom decided to promote the original game’s Jill Valentine to the role of protagonist and have the game sit in the mainline series.
The first thing I noticed, compared to the other games, is just how fast Jill runs. I know she’s keen to escape, but I had trouble with her speed until I got used to it. The gameplay itself has all the parts you know and love from the classic Resident Evils before everything became one big action movie. The tank controls, fixed position shooting, ink ribbons, and item boxes are all present and accounted for.
I’ve always considered 4 to be the installment that ushered in the action elements to the series, however, the roots lie firmly here. I was never worried about running out of ammo, the supplies were plentiful. They even introduced gunpowder, enabling ammunition to be crafted. The 180-degree quick turn and a dodge mechanic were introduced, quickening up the pace of things. There are even red barrels to shoot, enabling the destruction of countless enemies at once. Talking of enemies, there are plenty. The city is overrun after all. Plenty of Zombies and dogs will try to stop Jill. Some of the Zombies have even learned to walk faster, not Crimson head speed, but fast nonetheless. I did miss seeing the Lickers from 2 but I was happy to see the Hunters return.
And of course, Jill has a Nemesis this time around.
Nemesis serves as both a prequel and a sequel to Resident Evil 2. The story starts 24 hours before 2 and concludes after Claire and Leon have escaped. After surviving the mansion incident, Jill is trying to escape the zombie-infested streets of Raccoon city, all the while she’s being pursued by the titular Nemesis. A large bioweapon tasked with eradicating the remaining S.T.A.R.S members. Rather like Jack Baker in Resident Evil 7, the Nemesis will hunt down and stalk the player, following Jill around, trying to eradicate her. Originally I thought he had lost his edge after all these years. That was until I opened a door and was immediately, and unexpectedly, met with his fist. After that, the tension was back. It felt like he could be anywhere, the danger was always around the corner. Once he had attacked, and I had run, the music became ominous and the fear ramped up. Running from the rocket launcher wielding monstrosity really did feel tense.
Of course, running isn’t always the only option. Standing ground and fighting the monster and he can be temporarily incapacitated and will drop a briefcase for the trouble, enabling new weapons to be created. Choices are another new aspect. At points of the game, 2 options will flash on the screen, forcing the player to choose, the choices made affect what happens at that point but also the game’s ending.
The small screen on the Vita helped to keep everything looking nice. For a 20-year-old game, I felt it still looked good enough. The fixed backgrounds definitely help too. I’ll always love the atmosphere of the early series. Much of the setting is outside on the Raccoon City streets, which is a pleasant change. We do get a nostalgia-filled re-visit the police station though. There is an issue with this. Jill’s visit to the station comes before Leon and Claire’s and things are different. Doors are nailed shut, statues are missing, windows are smashed. All things that are somehow changed by the time the other two make it inside. I’ll ignore sense and look past it, who needs continuity anyway.
One thing I can’t look past are the supporting characters. They just didn’t resonate with me. I love Jill and I love Nemesis. The rest I don’t care about, even Carlos, who is playable for a while. There’s a reason he hasn’t been back since. I did enjoy seeing Brad “Chicken Heart” Vickers and Barry “King of the one-liners” Burton return, albeit too briefly.
Overall, I enjoyed my whole time with this game. I’m currently playing the unlocked Mercenaries mini-game and once I’m done with that I’ll probably play the main game again before moving on to Code Veronica. I’m not sure why it took me the best part of two decades to get re aquated with Resident Evil 3. I can promise you it won’t take that long again.
What’s your favorite game in the series? Do you prefer the old classic tank controls and the fixed camera angles, or the newer over-the-top action fest? Let us know in the comments below!