Resident Evil 3: Nemesis Review

RE3

 

Title: Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
Developer: Capcom
Game Type: PlayStation Classic
Download: 364 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes

Resident Evil is one of those franchises that can really shine on the PS Vita.  Like Final Fantasy, Persona, and Ys, the PS Vita and PlayStation TV can play a very large number of the franchise’s games, be it through backwards compatibility, native titles, or other ways or services.  If you combine every way the Vita can play games, you can see almost the entire franchise at a Vita player’s disposal, though they may have to be wired to Wi-Fi in order to access some of them.

To be specific, backwards-compatibility lets the Vita play Resident Evil: Director’s Cut, Resident Evil 2, and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis.  Natively, the PS Vita can play Resident Evil: Revelations 2.  Thanks to PlayStation Now, it can play even more.  In North America, PS Now offers Resident Evil: Code Veronica X HD, Resident Evil 5: Gold Edition, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, and Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles.  On the Europe PS Now, the Vita can stream and play Resident Evil 4 HD.  The only main series games it can’t play are Zero, Revelations, and 6.  It may be just a matter of time before the PS3 versions of those games are also added to PS Now.

I’ve reviewed three games that Vita can play from this franchise, and I thought my next Retro Review needed to close that, since Resident Evil is one of my favorite franchises in gaming.  Without further delay, here is my official review of the PS One Classic, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis!

Story

Re3 Story

The story of Nemesis takes place during and after the events of Resident Evil 2.  Jill Valentine from the first game is coming out of her apartment, late on her planned departure from the town with the other surviving S.T.A.R.S. members from the events of the first game.  Due to being late, she is now trapped in a zombie-infested Raccoon City, forced to brave the apocalyptic town in an attempt to escape from the madness all around her.

As she moves outward, she meets up with a special armed unit that Umbrella, Inc sent in to help the civilians escape, and comes face to face with a new type of Tyrant-class monster that’s been developed solely to seek out and terminate all remaining S.T.A.R.S. members.  As she looks for an escape, she must call on the help of this armed unit while constantly fighting and running from this new bio-weapon.

The story of RE3 is unique for the series because you actually get to see Raccoon City during the outbreak, whereas 2 spent almost the entire game inside structures, like the Police Department.  It also gave a little more background information for the outbreak as well as the Tyrant project that was still in effect at that time of the franchise.

Gameplay

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In terms of gameplay, Nemesis is a survival horror adventure game with combat and puzzle elements thrown into the mix.  As you move through Raccoon City, you will be having to run or fight your way through zombies and other bio-weapons while gathering key items to use and solving other puzzles to get from one location to the next.

The game follows the same formula as the predecessors in terms of gameplay mechanics.  You move around various rooms as you learn areas and find key items.  You then must use those key items to unlock doors and move onto the next area.  For example, you may have to search the Police Station and other the Newspaper Office in order to find gems you must back-track to the City Hall gate and use them in order to open that door and go forward.  Like in virtually all RE titles, there’s a lot of backtracking to be had.  You have to explore and investigate the various areas so you can learn what goes where.

It doesn’t come without improvements, though.  You no longer need to have button input to use stairs.  If you walk into stairs, Jill will automatically start moving up or down them.  You still have button input for doors, but they made climbing stairs a good bit easier in Nemesis.  There are also more customization options in that you can find gunpowder types and develop various types of bullets that are useful for different enemies.

The final aspect is what makes this game the most tense of the PS1 games and arguably the series as a whole.  When you went through rooms in the previous games, you could remember where enemies were.  That way, you could navigate them without much trouble.  In this game, though Nemesis is tailing you throughout the entire game.  There will be times where he won’t be around, but in many cases, he’ll be chasing you and will follow you through various rooms unless you try to fight and deplete your ammo reserves to make him stop.  Even then, he’ll show up again later and everything will start all over again.

Because of Nemesis, there is a level of tension that never goes away your first time through the game.  Not only will your ammo reserves be down, but you’ll constantly be wondering when and where Nemesis will show up out of the blue and attack you again.  I replayed this game with Infinite Ammo unlocked and it still wasn’t easy with Nemesis around nearly any corner.

The most notable addition to the gameplay in term of replay value if Mercenaries.  If you’ve ever played the Mercenaries mini-game in Resident Evil 4, 5, or Mercenaries 3D, this is the game that started it all.  When you beat the game, you unlock the Mercenaries mini-game which has you running through Raccoon City, shooting down enemies on a mission that you’ll be graded on.  Do well enough and you can unlock special items for the main story, from weapons to infinite ammo for all weapons.  This adds several hours onto the gameplay time.

With that in mind, your first time through the game’s story should take you at least 5 or 6 hours.  This is assuming you don’t know where to go and you don’t use a guide to hold your hand throughout.  With Mercenaries, it’s more like 8-9 hours of gameplay at your disposal.  Out of all of the PS One RE titles, this is the one with the most time for you to go through.

Controls

The first thing to note is that the game’s use of the R2 and L2 buttons are the same functions as the R1 and L1 buttons.  Knowing this, people with a PS Vita won’t need to worry about reconfiguring their control scheme to work without having those extra buttons, or the L2/R2 Trigger Grip.  PSTV users, however, don’t have to worry about this.

The game still uses the “tank” controls of the previous games, which will surely be awkward for any gamer, even those used to it.  You push Up on the D-Pad to walk forward and Down on the D-Pad to walk back.  Then, you can use the Left or Right buttons to turn direction when standing still.  You can also do this with the Left Analog Stick, which is still awkward, but a little more comfortable to use than just the D-Pad.

The face buttons are slightly different than the previous games.  You still press X to fire off a shot when holding R/R1 for aiming, but you now use the Circle button to open up your inventory.  In the first game, that function was for the Start button.  Holding Square lets you run instead of walk

It’s not a hard control scheme to learn, but the tank controls are really awkward to use, especially if you’re more used to controls from games like Revelations 2.  You can adjust to them, but they never get easy to use.

Presentation

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The visuals of Nemesis was similar to previous games.  The backgrounds and environments were all pre-rendered and flawless, just like RE1 and 2 and Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX.  The character models also showed an improvement, offering a little more detail than previous games, but still a bit of a blur to them, especially their facial features.  It’s an improvement, but still not fantastic.

The other thing I’ll say are two minor things.  The room sequences where you see doors opening and loading into the next room doesn’t go as smoothly as prior games.  There is a bit of a jumpy nature when you interact with a door.  I replayed part of Director’s Cut after replaying Nemesis, and the sequences were a lot smoother in DC.  Another thing is that some scenes, particularly towards the end of the game offered some slowdown and lag in the frame-rate.

Summary

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis was one of the last games of the franchise to be true survival horror.  On the downside, there are a few technical bugs in the game and the tank controls are odd to get used to.  If you’re a fan of the series, though, there’s a lot of bang for your buck with the lengthy campaign and Mercenaries mini-game. 

7/10

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