Zombies strike. . .in 3D! Stripping out a storyline and focusing on the Mercenaries side missions from Resident Evil 4 and 5, Capcom has delivered a multiplayer-centric portable zombie fest
- Gorgeous graphics with superb 3D usage
- Lots of levels
- Excellent multiplayer connectivity
- Clunky controls
- Repetitive gameplay
- Only one permanent save slot
- Convoluted Interface
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Review:
Pickings are slim for 3DS owners, so Capcom has picked the right time to release a game like Resident Evil: the Mercenaries 3D. This isn’t a traditional Resident Evil game. There’s no narrative structure whatsoever, and the focus is purely on obtaining high scores in the enclosed combat-only levels. As the name suggests, Mercenaries takes the unlockable side-missions from Resident Evil 4 and 5 and turns them into a standalone package.
Less Talk, More Fight
Without the narrative structure of the average Resident Evil game, Mercenaries loses a lot of what makes the series so appealing. These games always focused heavily on atmosphere, pacing, and horror elements to overpower significant gameplay flaws. When you were constantly struggling to survive against hordes of the undead within the confines of the plot, issues with outdated tank controls took a back seat to the overall experience.
Unfortunately, most of that experience is distinctly absent here. Zombie hunters are left with timed missions tasking them with killing as many undead minions as possible. Though the levels take familiar settings and characters from the series, there’s no purpose to the action other than to achieve ever greater scores and unlock new characters and items. Granted, many gamers enjoy this sort of barebones competitive style of gameplay.
As for the single save game slot, it's just a bad design move. If you're the sort of player who loves replaying missions and continually trying for a better score, this might not be a big deal. And let's face it, that's exactly the sort of player that will find Mercenaries appealing anyway. Just the same, this single permanent save essentially makes the game useless for anyone but the initial player. Anyone can continue playing your game, but that's just not the same. Hopefully, Capcom will patch the game to allow saves to be deleted and include multiple save slots.
For what it is, Mercenaries is very well executed. The game is easily one of—if not the—best looking game on the 3DS. The visuals are gorgeous, although there was clearly a compromise to focus on foreground objects and creatures at the expense of monsters farther away. The more distance between your character and a bad guy, the jerkier their animation. It’s a minor quibble, since there are usually more than enough enemies close by to distract your attention.
The graphics, aside from that flaw, are every bit as good as the Wii or Gamecube. When you include the superb 3D effects, the game is arguably even more visually arresting than earlier versions. The audio is mostly recycled from previous games, and definitely lets you know it’s a Resident Evil title.
Tanks for the Multiplayer
The biggest problem with turning Resident Evil into an arcade-style shooter is that the basic controls simply aren’t suited to fast-paced action. Since the goal of the 30 levels is to kill as many monsters as possible in a limited time, struggling with the same old controls is annoying. The game, by default, tries to partially compensate for the more limited controls of the 3DS with first-person aiming. You can even slowly strafe while shooting, but this proves far too sluggish to be useful.
The interface is a bit odd as well, with its heavy focus on manually selecting everything between missions. You have to navigate through the entire level selection menu just to move on to the next level after completing the current one. This is partially due to the game’s focus on completing each level with all available characters, and because of the multiplayer focus. The Mercenaries lets you select from a host of classic RE characters, each with their own pre-set weapons load out. Certain unlockables are only available after scoring top grades with each character in a mission.
The biggest draw is easily the two-player cooperative play. Capcom continues to prove their multiplayer expertise, and the fun factor is far higher when playing Mercenaries online. You can dive into any level with another player, which completely changes the dynamics of the action. The combat-centric levels that quickly became repetitive while playing alone are suddenly intense, cooperative fights for survival online.
The Lonely Need Not Apply
Resident Evil: the Mercenaries 3D is almost a technical demo for what the 3DS is capable of. The graphics are excellent with impressive 3D effects and the online play is a good reason to buy the game. Unfortunately, gamers hoping for the latest chapter in the Resident Evil saga will be left cold by the limited appeal of these standalone maps and the clunky controls.