Jul 2, 2011

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Review: Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D

Review: Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D

As time advances, people start to look for less of the same and more of the new. So when Capcom released Resident Evil 4, gamers were surprised by the change in gameplay. The biggest change was the addition of a rush mode called The Mercenaries. The mode, which sums its self-up so well, is:  you are hired to fight, nothing else. The mode was highly received, also appearing in Resident Evil 5 with some DLC to expand on the mode. While the mode started as a test for the upcoming game Revelations, where does Resident Evil the Mercenaries fall? Is it a shameless ploy to cover testing costs or an amazingly fun port?

I don’t know about anyone else, but I loved playing The Mercenaries on Resident Evil 5. When I heard it was coming to the 3DS, I admit I was skeptical. I mean, who would pay for a port of one game mode? As you may or may not know, The Mercenaries is an arcade game. You have a set time and you’re expected to kill enemies in rapid succession to gain amazingly high scores. It is hard to say earlier editions were perfect, since many elements were clunky. These include things like picking up other player’s ammo, lengthy transfer processes, harsh limits on supplies, and insanely easy failures. The 3DS version thankfully makes it simpler at no real cost to the mode.

At the start you will need to do a few training missions. The first mission is running to checkpoints and the second is shooting barrels, etc,. You will need to complete 12 missions to finish training. You shouldn’t spend more than an hour working on them plus they’re great for getting used to the game. The remaining 19 levels offer you standard game play on various levels. Unfortunately, five stages from previous installments are missing.

There is other missing content as well like Leon and Excella are not playable characters. This was most likely a choice to keep the game to better known characters only. In addition to the missing playable characters, a number of enemies cannot be engaged. These include the tribes people (or their stages), lickers, Kipepeo (flying enemies from 5), Dogs, and Reapers (cockroach bug monsters). A lot of these enemies were highly bothersome and their loss is your gain. Though I do believe the removal of some enemies like the Reapers had to do with the 3DS’s limits.

Despite missing content there’s more than enough to play endlessly. As mentioned earlier some elements were changed to make the portable version more viable. These include abolishing the holding system giving you unlimited ammo holding (seemingly at least), unlimited supply holding, but this makes a very minor difference on difficulty. If you’ve played The Mercenaries you would know the difficulty isn’t with normal enemies, but with  larger enemies that kill, critically wound, or badly damage you. This will cause you a lot of problems, though there are viable alternatives.

One of the biggest changes is the addition of skills that change the game. Some of these include powering up your weapon, invincibility when picking up items and resistance to instant kills of which you should know most of these as the standards. These will help you in various situations and improving your scores. Not every skill makes it easier to get higher scores, some like Infinity 7 for instance gives you unlimited ammo for the rocket, but voids your score.

Another one of the changes is the ability to change weapon sets. The keyword is set so don’t expect to run around with the bow, S&W M500, and the hydra. While you can’t make your own set there are nine different sets allowing you to choose. This is great since you can play as who you like and the weapons you’re good with or prefer to play with.

This game features one important mechanic which could appear on every 3DS game, medal support. Medal support is similar to trophies/achievements. This system is seen in Blazblue CS2 and Super Street Fighter IV 3D, but unlike those, The Mercenaries did not originally support them. There are 50 to unlock, though most are typical stuff. There are some secret tasks which can add quite a bit of replayability.

The biggest highlight is online support and it works very well. Finding match might be difficult due to connection problems, however once I connected to someone it was ran perfectly. Once in a while enemies might lag, though this was quite rare. The only problem with online is the lack of voice support. This is a system problem so its easy to look pass; though it will lead to far more preventable deaths since you can’t talk to your teammate.

Playing is spot on, focusing on quick mastery of the core aspects. Shooting involves holding the R button and moving the thumb stick. Changing weapons is either clicking it or clicking up/down on the D pad. Depending on your control set, different elements will work and others will not. I personally used the D pad. Pushing A will heal you (huge time saver) plus every button but Y (taunt) has a useful purpose. This will help you when fighting off waves of enemies!

As you progress through levels, your goal is to hit the EX stages. These nine stages are a bit harder featuring no tutorial, talking, or anything extra. Playing through them will focus on strong shooting skills, keeping ammo on on your character, staying alive and using environments to your advantage. There isn’t much past shooting which takes some getting used to, but it is harder than it sounds.  The only real issue is killing enemies at a distance which have painfully low frame rates.

If you’ve played this mode before or happen to like enemy rush modes you’ll enjoy it. It supports every feature you could expect and doesn’t stick to gimmicks. As we all know the game forces you to have only 1 save, but if you have extended family they can play as another character. I will flat out tell you I unlocked 80% of the content in five or so hours. Long story short, this was a really fun mode ported to a system that could use more games. There are issues, although in the end a lot of these come from system limits or issues pulling them off. All in all, this is the most enjoyable 3DS game I’ve played.

Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Third-person shooter
Release Date: 06/28/2011
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
MSRP: $39.99