In a couple of weeks, fans will find out first hand why Nemesis is one of the most iconic villains to come out of the Resident Evil franchise. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait THAT long! Capcom was nice enough to drop a playable demo to satiate our hunger while waiting for the game’s release date.
Good? Really good? If this demo is any indication, we’re in for an absolute treat.
First thing you’ll notice is the UI and feel of the game is very similar to RE2. So similar, in fact, that you may think you were playing the same game save for a few new features.
One thing new that we noticed is how differently Jill handles the knife. She stabs instead of slashes compared to Leon and Claire. Jill even has a quick stab-step back move, possibly indicating that she is indeed a pro at these things since her ordeal from the first game. Also compared to RE2, the knife has infinite durability by default. If you’ve played the remake from last year, you’ll know how important a knife is as a sub-weapon, so this is a fantastic update.
We also noticed there’s a more noticeable indicator of your health status, Jill on Caution status will still show noticeable pain, but on Danger status, the screen goes black and white very slightly and you’ll hear a very fast heartbeat. Minor tweak, but adds much to the realism and fear factor.
Zombies are built a little differently here as compared to RE2. They still take more than one headshot to take out unless you proc a crit, but the legs now take more shots to break off. From experience, it was a very exploitable tactic to shoot zombies’ limbs and legs off as it took fewer shoots compared to going for the head. Not anymore. Sneaky Capcom tsk tsk!
They’ll also often lunge at you as they get up, which will make you wish there was a sidestep function…
And there is! A new feature is that the R1 button now lets you side step in different directions. It’s definitely a great way to move out of an enemy attack but more than the usual zombies, you’ll be needing it for a much more threatening enemy, which we’ll get to in a bit.
Introduced in the original PS1 game, the dodge system makes a return where you can actually roll out of a zombie’s grab attack if you press R1 at just the right time. And just like the original, the timing is still hard to master. If done correctly, Jill will be able to roll out of a zombie’s attack with a white flash on the screen showing you’re successful. This replaces the L1 mechanic from the RE2 remake, where you would sacrifice a sub-weapon to escape a grapple move by a zombie, which is no longer doable in RE3.
There’s an immediate benefit this. If Jill is using a knife, she’ll often do a lunging knife attack at a zombie after rolling. With a handgun, Jill will automatically be aiming at a zombie’s head for a few seconds for a guaranteed headshot. Being rewarded with some free attacks is definitely a motivation to be proficient with this technique so use it often!
Players of the original game will also remember that the environment can be your friend. Just like the original, red explosive barrels can be found in certain locations and shooting these will take out a horde of zombies in one shot and the radius of their explosion is pretty wide. There are also breakable boxes scattered around that contain items and they’re noticeable because of the yellow tape wrapped around them. In addition to these, there are also now electrical generators that, when you shoot them, will let out an electrical shockwave stunning zombies in place and preventing them from moving temporarily.
Nemesis is the “STAAAAR” of the show (sorry Jill) as he’s become even more terrifying than Mr. X. Since the game is now played from a 3rd person perspective, seeing Nemesis run after you is extra scary. Seeing Nemesis JUMP at you is as frightening as you can imagine.
This hulking beast has quite the arsenal of moves too, throwing some punch combos and a footstomp when able, even scream at you if you get too close to stun you for a bit. This is really Mr. X brought to a new level.
While he is indeed menacing, Nemesis moves in quite a predictable pattern though and there are still some rooms that he won’t follow you to so you can still take a breather for a bit until you realize that you’ll have to face him again eventually. That said, Nemesis is relentless and very very hard to shake off, which makes encounters with him very cerebral as you’ll need to have a concrete plan on how to go about things when he’s on your tail.
Not all bad, Nemesis is your key to practicing the dodging system. Surprisingly, the timing is a little easier when dodging his swings compared to anticipating zombie lunges. And when dodging with the handgun, Jill will either aim at Nemesis’s head, or the heart-like contraption on his chest. If anything and you’re already playing the demo in anticipation for the full game? Master the timings as early as now, because you’ll definitely need it.
Just like Mr. X, Nemesis will fall down on one knee if you hurt him enough and he’ll stay like that for a while giving you time to run away. Nemesis is also susceptible to the electric shockwave from the generators, furthering the push to be smart about your surroundings.
Nemesis can also infect nearby zombies, making them harder to deal with. You can compare these mutated zombies to the Las Plagas monsters you fight in Resident Evil 4, as one minute they look like regular zombies and the next thing you know they grow a hideous looking deformed head with one eye with a tentacle and start hitting you with it. I know that sounds like something straight from a Hentai scene but it is what it is.
The demo ends with a cinematic trailer showing some very interesting sequences. Familiar faces like Robert Kendo and Marvin Branagh were shown, Carlos is looking as spiffy as ever and Nikolai is back along with Brad Vickers.
The demo does a great job of giving us a taste of what’s to come without spilling too much. Capcom is definitely sticking to the charm of the PS1 game and reimagining it with enough changes to make it a more modern effort that will surely excite old and new players alike. RE3 masterfully captures the dread and horror that made the RE2 Remake as good as it was, which should get everyone excited about the prospect of RE3 being another possible GOTY candidate.
We’re excited for the game to come out and we believe you should be, too!