|At last the latest installment in the Resident Evil series is
here. Resident Evil 3: Nemesis puts you back into the world of survival gaming with more
zombies, better graphics, and a lot more room to roam. So is it everything we always hoped
for? Is it what it's all cracked up to be? Do zombies chomp neck, or what?
RE3 is, really, exactly what you would expect. The whole Resident Evil series has become classics and broadened out to such varied platforms as the N64, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, and game.com pocket. For the novice zombie killers, the story centers around Raccoon City, where a corporation called Umbrella has unleashed a plague of zombies and mutated beasts upon the unsuspecting populous. Throughout RE and RE2 you played different characters, mainly affiliated with S.T.A.R.S., a special operations team that happens upon Umbrella's experiments and then works to save the town.
You begin RE2 in the street, facing a horde of zombies and running for your life. If there was ever a rip-off in video game history, it would be the misleading opening of RE2. Most of the rest of the game is spent in the police station and then a research facility, and while there was plenty of action going on in the two locations, the game got a bit claustrophobic. However, in RE3 you play Jill Valentine, who we last saw in RE preparing to leave town. She is still intent on escape, but gets sidetracked, of course, by the mobs of flesh-hungry zombies. She then runs all over the town, with a brief stop in the police station (which is, by the way, just as you remember it), before being seriously injured by Nemesis (that big, ugly zombie-type-thing you confront in RE2). At that point you switch to play Carlos, a Latin American mercenary who is part of the team Umbrella sent to gather survivors, but who only wants to escape the doomed little burg.
The outdoor action is awesome. There are fires everywhere, and tons of rubble and wreckage. The environments are more interactive, as you can now shoot certain objects that will explode, taking a whole load of zombies out at once. These exploding props are necessary because huge crowds of zombies attack you simultaneously, and, man, are those parts just the coolest. Imagine a slew of undead streaming (albeit a slow, staggering stream) out a door at you, or a dozen of the little groaners breaking down a wall to pounce all over you and chew your neck. Yep, it's essential to keep an eye out for the random drums of gasoline and the leaky pipes all around you. One well placed shot and you can paint the whole room in zombie guts.
And if that won't work, you can amass the standard wide array of offensive hardware to do the job. The shotgun and the grenade launcher are not hard to come by, and the infamous Magnum, handgun and assault rifle are also back. In addition to the standard array of items, you'll now be collecting different types of gun powder to make bullets. Using the reloading tool you can create all kinds of specialty ammunition, and the process is fairly similar to combining herbs in the previous installments.
The control and handling are basically the same as well, with the important addition of a dodge button. Dodging can help you slip out of those sticky situations, like when Nemesis just picks you up and starts shaking. There are big worm-like things, birds, dogs, and tons of zombies just trying to get their dirty little paws all over you, and often a good dodge is your only way out. Like in the beginning of RE2, there are just too many things to kill. And consider that in RE3 monsters sometimes regenerate in rooms you have to revisit, creating a huge plethora of killing opportunities. There just isn't enough ammo to go around.
The graphics have been given a serious buffing, altough you are still constrained to fixed camera views. I can hardly imagine how cool RE3 would be if it had the Dino Crisis camera. The voice acting has gotten a shot in the arm, but the story dialogue is still gloriously Resident Evil-esque. In RE3 you are confronted with branching points where you must make a decision that will affect the arc of the story. This will add some needed replayability factor, and create some wonderfully tense moments. The game doesn't stop while you think about your choices you just act and then deal with it. Wait too long, and you're hamburger.
The FMV sequences are better than ever. The opening cinema rivals FFVIII in quality and drama. Within the game you are treated to ultra realistic footage of Nemesis and various zombies, enhancing the filmic quality of the RE series. The FMVs aren't the only things that show the love that was put into RE3. Replayability has been improved as well. You can unlock different weapons and costumes by replaying the game and fulfilling certain criteria like in the previous installments, but in RE3 you can unlock the Mercenary Mode. In Mercenary Mode you play one of the mercenaries on Carlos' team. You race through the streets to get to your goal within a time limit. Killing creatures gives you bonus time, and you can expect Nemesis to pop up, too.
RE3 is also much more difficult than its predecessors. Nemesis, who took only five shots with the Magnum in RE2, gains power each time he attacks you. He gains even more power if you don't kill him each time. And he takes a lot more than five shots with the Magnum, right from the gitgo. Nemesis shows up over a dozen times throughout the game, so right there you have a bunch of tough fights in store. Add to that the various hideous bosses you encounter and more zombies than ever, and you've got a game that is seriously challenging even on the Easy setting. But difficulty is not a bad thing in a game that is so enticing and rewarding.
Overall, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is amazing. It's still as short as RE or RE2, but with enhanced replay benefits and higher difficulty it doesn't leave you feeling cheated. The Resident Evil series is classic horror gaming, and there is still nothing that comes close it in quality. If you've never played a Resident Evil game before, then you don't know what true survival horror gaming is.