Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Review

Posted: July 21, 2011 in Review
Tags: , , , ,

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

With the real 3DS Resident Evil experience – Revelations – not arriving until later in the year, it would seem that Capcom have simply opted to knock together a bonus game and charge full price for it. It’s a real shame, as Mercenaries is a cracking little shooter that can’t quite shake off the restraints of its bonus game roots.

If you’ve played either Resident Evil 4 or 5, then you’re probably pretty familiar with the objective already. You have two minutes to rack up as many kills as possible before either the time runs out or you eliminate all 150 enemies on each level. Smashing time extensions and killing enemies with melee attacks will allow you to keep playing for longer, while stringing together a combo of defeated enemies will see your score go into the stratosphere before you know it.

Enemies and levels are all taken from the aforementioned games, including classics like the Village and Public Assembly, as well as the lesser-enjoyed levels Warzone, Castle, Missile Area, Mines, Ship Deck and the Prison. The enemies are a mixture of Cultists, Majini and Combat Majini, with a few Uroboros mutations – exploding heads, the shell-like creature made of innards – thrown in for good measure

Adding to your woes are each level’s special enemies, such as the Chainsaw Majini, Garrador, Executioner, Red Executioner, Gatling Gun Majini and the utterly, utterly terrifying Super Chainsaw Ganado (remember him?). Much tougher than the regular foes, these angry bastards crop up at specific points and will kill you – or worse, ruin your score – if not dealt with immediately. Mercifully, they always make a distinctive sound before they arrive so you don’t get surprised by them – although the Big Man Majini is a sneaky bugger – but their appearance is always cause for concern.

Happily, you’re given plenty of ordnance to deal with the bad guys. Each of the eight characters have a different weapons set, alternative costumes and three slots for selected skills. Naturally, mastering all of these means playing the game repeatedly, so if you’re new to the Mercenaries experience, you may find yourself completely overwhelmed. Series veterans will be pleased to see the Chris and Claire, the Redfield siblings, as well as Barry Burton and Rebecca Chambers. Rounding out the cast are Hunk, villain Krauser and eternal nemesis Wesker. The easiest character is undoubtedly Krauser, thanks to his powerful bow and rocket launcher combo, as well as the fact that almost all of his melee attacks are guaranteed to kill.

Scores range from rank D (you survived) to rank SS (you killed pretty much everything), and the better you did, the more the rewards. These can be simply unlocking a new character, opening up the next set of missions, earning a new costume or even being granted a new skill. These are incredibly useful little perks that can dramatically alter the state of play at any given moment. There are perks for almost everything – some improve your melee attacks, some upgrade the functions of each weapon, some increase the amount of time you get from a melee kill and there are some that do incredibly specific things, like give you a time bonus every time an enemy is killed when a seven is in the time counter, or add lightning properties to your melee, or make it much easier to bring down the bigger enemies. Using each skill in a round will grant you points, allowing you to upgrade them to a maximum of three levels, at which point you are granted an additional ability. For instance, the Medic skill increases the amount of health you recover from green herbs, and at level three gives you an extra health bonus from each critical hit you score.

On top of this is an absolutely cracking online mode. While the first three missions are simply training stages designed for single players, later levels allow you to take a friend along for the slaughter, either in local link-up or online. It’s incredibly simple to find a game online as the servers are always busy – in fact, they’re so busy that many games will disappear as you click on them, so it’s easier to host a game than join one. Once you’re in, everything goes smoothly, as the vast majority of players online are utterly excellent, meaning that perfect teamwork is never far away and achieving SS ranks on every mission becomes a doddle. Thankfully, the game doesn’t mind if you score highly in Solo or Duo play, as all the rewards will come to you regardless.

For all the fun, the replayability and the enjoyment that Mercenaries offers, it still cannot escape the fact that it is merely a bonus game stretched out to feature length. Thanks to the incredibly long learning curve – eleven training missions! – the actual game feels decidedly short, with only eighteen levels where you actually get to do your thing. And no matter how many times Capcom switch the enemies, time of day and time extensions around, they can’t hide the fact that you will be playing the same arenas over and over again. What’s weirder is that the game is clearly designed as high score challenge game, so why is it that only your very highest record gets saved?

Almost as if they know that players are more interested in the forthcoming Revelations title, Capcom have stuck a short demo into Mercenaries. While this seems like a great idea, it’s shorter than any demo you have ever played. In fact, it takes longer to load than it does to play through, making it more of an interactive cutscene than a demo. The free trailer in the eshop is longer.

So Mercenaries is a peculiar bag, one that manages to be everything it should have been and yet nothing at all. It’s a cracking co-op title, a solid action game and has plenty of depth to it. However, it can be pretty much done 100% in the space of a week by anyone who knows what they’re doing – the Mercenaries target audience, for instance – so as to whether this is worth full price depends on how much you enjoyed the bonus game the first time around. A shame, really, as it’s almost excellent.

79%

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s