The third chapter in Capcom's series of horror games isn't the best. It's more straightforward than Resident Evil 2, and it's not as frightening as Resident Evil Code: Veronica. And though it follows the formula of previous Resident Evil games (you'd be hard-pressed to find a more formulaic series), it does add some new features that help keep the game interesting.
Resident Evil 3 stars Jill Valentine, who first appeared in the original.
You control Jill Valentine, one of the playable characters from the first game. Jill has returned to the zombie-infested streets of Raccoon City after resigning as a member of S.T.A.R.S., an elite police unit. She's there to investigate the headquarters of the Umbrella Corporation, the evil conglomerate that is behind the zombie plague. While in the city, she must avoid the constant threat of the nemesis, a tough monster that is hunting down S.T.A.R.S. members and obviously isn't interested in the fact that Jill has quit.
It may seem like Resident Evil 3 Nemesis is long on story, but it isn't. You'll only spend a few minutes in the Umbrella headquarters, and the game does little to advance the ongoing story of the series. Instead, it sticks to the basic formula that has made the series popular. You'll solve some door puzzles, fight some zombies, solve some more door puzzles, and then fight some monsters.
Despite its adherence to this basic formula, Resident Evil 3 is less linear than its predecessors. You get to wander the streets of Raccoon City, or at least you'll be led along the streets that aren't barricaded. The areas open to you at any given time are quite large, and you can accomplish the various tasks in different orders. The only problem with the huge playing field is that you'll spend a great deal of time backtracking, and even though new monsters will appear in old areas, it can still get somewhat tiresome having to run back and forth through the city.
The most-welcome new feature is the branching plot points. Occasionally, the screen will go white, and you'll be given two choices for your next action. For instance, the nemesis will have Jill trapped in a burning building. The game will pause, and you'll be given a choice to either hide in the building or jump out the window. Some of the choices will significantly affect the way the story progresses, and this feature will entice those who like the game to go back and play it again to see the different outcomes.