RESIDENT EVIL 3 / Capcom / Playstation 1
 
 
I played the first two games just prior to reviewing this one, and the whole trilogy to this point had been flirting HARD with the big 2/5, but I gave the first two a lot of slack for simply being "not for me." That's all done as of Resident Evil 3. It's a mediocre rehash that has learned nothing at all about design from the first two outings, instead just sort of slapping environments together and hoping the novelty of Nemesis carries the whole thing.

Which it almost does, because Nemesis is actually the first legitimately intimidating thing in the series. Well, at least initially. He's basically a Tyrant/Mr. X, but no longer locked into Shuffle Mode all the time, and equipped with both rudimentary intelligence and a rocket launcher. He also sprints a bit faster than you, though some of the intimidation factor is lost here as he insists on doing some ridiculous slidey punch that always misses when he finally catches you from behind ... on the occasions he does manage to grab you, he often just casually tosses you away for no good reason as well. Aside from his somewhat clumsy combat skillz, Nemesis also loses intimidation points due to being heavily scripted, which becomes apparent in the first encounter with him. For example, they didn't feel like making a "door opening" animation for him, so when he follows you between screens, you first have to move to a camera angle where the door can't be seen before he magically appears ... it's also funny to have him chasing you, but then when you run into a save room he'll politely wait outside the door for as long as you like. He also only appears in very specific segments of the game, rather than constantly and randomly pursuing and harrassing you as you move about the general game world.
 


Nemesis turning out to be a little silly isn't the real problem here, though; it's Capcom Goin' Hard with the same design flaws that made the original two games so frequently irritating. It gets off to a bad start with extremely bimodal difficulty - for some reason the game only offers "easy" and "hard" modes to choose from, no "normal" or moderate difficulty as seen in the previous games. If "hard" was just a stand-in for "normal" then this wouldn't be a problem ... but it actually is legitimately too hard for a first-time player, with way the hell too scanty of ammo for how many mandatory monster fights the game throws at you. Unfortunately, the "easy" option goes way too hard in the other direction, almost making fun of you for choosing it by starting you with a strongbox full of nearly every weapon in the game, infinite ink ribbons and three first aid sprays.

"Tank controls" haven't been improved save the addition of a quickturn. This should have really been in the series from the beginning, but here it's not always as useful as it sounds as you often quickturn right back into another camera angle where your controls are suddenly completely reversed. It's still doing the same thing where camera angles are intentionally obfuscated as you move about, but the "zombies who stand there and make no noise or attempt to move whatsoever until you walk into their shot, even though they would have seen you long before that, and all previous experience zombie experience says they start moving/making noise as soon as they see someone" thing is flogged to absolute death here. Hideki Kamiya left directorial duties behind with this entry, I can only assume whoever replaced him didn't really know what they were doing with regards to challenging map design, so they just kept flogging cheap tricks left and right.

The worst of it is the much more action-oriented enemy placement, however. When the game opens, you're exploring a small segment of the streets of Racoon City, blocked off by the usual collection of Rubble And Exploded Shit. Eventually this leads you to a very truncated version of the Raccoon Police Department (recycled sets from Resi 2). After doing what you need to do in there, the game dumps you back out on the street to fish around for a fire hose (which ends up involving first fishing around for a wrench.) With zero clue where any of these things are, you're left with no recourse but to wander the streets ... which for some reason are now full again with 500000 enemies that have spawned in out of nowhere. This gives you your first really good look at what you can expect to deal with for the rest of the game; it seems like it was designed with Easy mode in mind, with Hard thrown in sloppily at the end in a clumsy attempt to cater to the hardcore fanbase. Easy turns the game into a brainless zombie shootfest, while Hard is a terribly masochistic exercise in try-and-die and constant repeated load screens worse than the worst segments of the previous two games.

The game desperately needed a "normal" mode where you simply start with maybe a couple extra pistol clips and a first aid spray. Maybe the shotgun and a few rounds, but hold off on placing any more rounds in the environment for a fair bit to make you think about when to use them. You know,  a mode where it seems like the character actually came into a Zombie War Zone at least semi-prepared in a realistic manner. Instead we get Jill running around in a tube top for no good reason at all, other than "oh shit we have no idea what we're doing in this game, ummm just pander and hope for the best!" For Masters of Recursive Unlocking only, but even they might be put off by the swing toward too much shooting.
 
 
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