Resident Evil 3: Nemesis always fulfilled one of my horror fantasies; I’ve always wanted to visit Raccoon City while it was in the throes of the T-Virus outbreak. It’s a weird desire to be sure, but I’ve a soft spot for horror locales…which is why I also want to visit Silent Hill, the USG Ishimura, the Spencer Mansion and other fictional horror locations.

I first played Resident Evil 3: Nemesis back when it released in the 90s. I found it fun, but compared to the meaty Resident Evil 2 that came before it, the game was a bit underwhelming.

Is the remake the same? Continue reading and find out.

What is Resident Evil 3: Nemesis?

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is a remake of the original Resident Evil 3, a survival horror game released for the Playstation in 1999. The game is a third person survival horror title, with gamers thrust into the shoes for Jill Valentine, one of the survivors from the first Resident Evil game.

Resident Evil 3 also comes with Resident Evil: Resistance, an asymmetrical multiplayer game, which pits 1 player (as the Mastermind) and 4 others as Survivors hoping to escape. I’m not reviewing Resistance right now since I need more time with it.

Both games are developed and published by Capcom, with the new Resident Evil 3: Nemesis available for the Xbox One, PC and Playstation 4.

As a remake, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis succeeds brilliantly. Like the Resident Evil 2 remake before it, the incredible new visuals set a new standard for horror games here on out. That’s not really a surprise considering both games are running on Capcom’s RE Engine, which is visual tour de force. Still, I wish that Capcom did incorporate more environmental interaction into the game…Hitting background objects like cups or tables do nothing, not even a tremble. Blood splatter is frustratingly missing too, walls and floors remain disbelievingly clean and clear.

Capcom are masters of remastering now and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is no different. The soul of the original is clearly present but the outer wrapping is completely new with plenty of fresh twists and turns (especially regarding Brad Vickers) that allows the game to stand on its own, without needing to compare.

In the course of remaking the game, Capcom’s stripped the original RE3 to its bare bones, focusing on the one thing; the chase between Jill and the Nemesis. Extraneous features present in the original (such as being given choices on what to do at certain points in the game) are gone, with no corresponding replacement sadly present.

I actually miss the omission, as they added replay value to the original game. I remember replaying the original multiple times, just to see what the outcome would be if my choices were different.

With the nixing of the ability to choose, Capcom’s also nixed the original RE3’s multiple endings. Now, there’s only one (sorry Barry fans, he’s not in it).

Tweaks have also been made to the game, to differentiate this from the previous game. There’s now a dodge function (done by hitting the Right Bumper) which has Jill rolling (or juking) to avoid incoming attacks.

Timed right, it can evade near all attacks; from Nemesis’ punches to zombie lunges. The move takes skill and timing to use, otherwise you’ll just leave yourself open to attacks. It’s a risky move, but mastery of it is required if you want to survive encounters with as little damage as possible.

It’s also an incredibly fun mechanic that I really hope future titles (remake or not) incorporate.

Of course, the move to a third person camera also does wonders for the presentation. Zombie damage modeling is still as incredibly detailed as it was in the RE2 remake.

I still love shooting holes in zombies as pieces of flesh fly off…though after seeing DOOM: Eternal‘s damage awesome modeling, I wish Capcom had stepped up their game too. It’s great (which is why I still love it) but not as visual as DOOM’s.

The biggest tweak is of course Nemesis.

STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARSSSSSS…

The Tyrant B.O.W. now has much more impact in the storyline, especially in the beginning. You’ll see much more of him in the first 15 minutes of the Resident Evil 3: Nemesis remake than you’ll do in the first hour of playing the original.

Unfortunately, his constant chasing of Jill doesn’t have the pure terror you get when Mr X is stomping after you in Resident Evil 2. That’s primarily due to the fact that Resident Evil 3: Nemesis maps aren’t as focused as those in RE2.

RE2 had you running around two main locations for most of the game (the R.P.D. building and the Umbrella lab), which mean you’re backtracking through those areas A LOT. That means Mr X can stalk you through the corridors more effectively, coming when you least expect it.

With Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, the maps are much more linear, with you barely staying in one area for a long period. That kind of makes it hard to build up the suspense when you’re constantly moving from one area to the next. Sure, they’re connected, but they rarely require you to double back like RE2 does.

When Nemesis does stalk you, I never did get the sense of impending doom and fear that I got from Mr X though. I think that’s mainly due to the feeling that you know there’s a threshold you can reach before he’ll give up the chase. For example, in the Raccoon City streets in the beginning, you just need to dodge him and keep moving on to the next area. He’ll give up after a bit.

With Mr X, the whole damn R.P.D. building and the Umbrella lab is his playground, he’ll damn well appear whenever he wants (unless you’re in a save room or certain rooms). There IS no safe threshold (unless you count the rooms mentioned earlier) cause you’ll be running around in the same area no matter what. There’s no threshold because you’re in a circuit, a loop! That’s make it scary.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis also eschews one of the best parts of the original; The Mercenaries minigame that you get from completing the game. It’s like a survival mode that has you running from Point A to Point B, killing zombies and monsters, trying to survive and make it to the exit before time or your health runs out. It’s also the only way you unlock secret weapons to use in the main mode.

The remake instead uses a Records list; achievements you can do in the game to earn you points, which in turn you can redeem for unlockables in the game’s Shop.

I love the shop part (it gives the game replay value) but the lack of The Mercenaries mode stings. I also wished that the game has more unlockables. No infinite ammo for the Shotgun, Magnum or Grenade Launcher, only 1 extra costume (when the original had multiple) and not enough hidden stuff to unlock.

The bottom line.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, like Resident Evil 2 before it, are stellar examples of incredible remakes that go beyond their source material. The soul of the original is well preserved, but what you get isn’t exactly what you’d expect, giving everybody (from grizzled veterans to newbies), a fresh experience.

Despite that, Capcom’s stumbled a bit with their remake of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis. The chief among them is that Nemesis simply isn’t as intimidating and scary as Mr X. He’s cooler now (at least when in his normal form) but I feared facing him more in the original than I do now.

It’s also a misstep that Resident Evil 3 is a much more lean and linear game than Resident Evil 2. The sense of exploration and surviving the horror is pretty much gone, replaced by a need to keep on pushing forward to flee from Nemesis.

It could’ve been awesome had it worked right, but it really doesn’t. There’s really no sense of urgency most of the time, or the feel that you’re being hunted by an unstoppable monstrosity.

Issues aside, Resident Evil 3: Nemesis is still one of the best games that Capcom’s ever produced and certainly one of the best games in the Resident Evil series.

I just hope with the renewed interest in the Umbrella storyline we finally get a full fledged game about how Chris and Jill infiltrated Umbrella’s Russian HQ to bring them down, which was last seen as a chapter in the Wii’s and Playstation 3’s Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles.

It’s incredibly weird that such a major chapter in the series is relegated to just a small part of a non-canon game, instead of being a full fledged release.

TLDR:

Excellent remake but not as scary as the original.

The Good.

  • Faithful to the original, yet with new elements.
  • Dodging is awesome.
  • Earning secret unlockables is fun.

The Bad.

  • Nemesis isn’t as scary compared to Mr X.
  • Incredibly short length.
  • No Mercenaries minigame.
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Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.

Sal's been in the industry since the early 2000s. He's written for a ton of gaming and tech publications including Playworks, Hardwarezone, HWM and GameAxis. A geek and hardcore gamer, Sal will play everything, on any platform.