Review – Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

If there was one thing that got old very quickly with the Resident Evil franchise, it was the voice-over at the beginning of the game once you pressed Start (or A, or X or you get the idea).  As the title suggests, and as was menacingly read out, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D takes everyone’s favourite mini-game and puts it into glorious 3D.

Let’s get something else out of the way right away – the perma-save.  As we previously reported, there is no way to delete your save data.  Unlocked content stays unlocked, high scores stay on the cartridge for as long as the cart will store the data.  Capcom has defended this decision to enhance the ‘arcade-style’ of the game – the point of which being to play through a round and accumulate as many points as possible.  To anyone else, a dreaded 3-letter acronym stands out: D.R.M – and its one of the worst features about this game.

Yup, I’m mad

Why you ask?  Well, let’s say you have the game, and you let your friend borrow it.  Instead of getting a fresh experience, he gets all of your unlocked goodies and skills.  Now, not only is he only getting half of the experience, he’s blowing through all of your established records with all of the stuff that you worked so hard to unlock. Well hey, he’s your friend, that can be rectified with a good shot in the arm, but imagine buying a used copy of the game.  EB Games/Gamestop is in fact accepting this title for trade-ins, so it’s not as if it’s not bound to happen, so now you pay close to full price for possibly only half of the experience of the game.  Like playing Grand Theft Auto and punching in a weapons and invincibility cheat, it takes a lot of the fun out of the game.

It’s back-door DRM and it’s direct attempt by Capcom to deter used-game sale.  Kudos to them for actually giving a damn, but I’d be a hell of a lot more appreciative if you didn’t affect my experience while I, the first end-user still own it.  If I want to delete my save-data, I should be able to do so as I damned well please.  If Capcom wants to stake a claim in used game sales, then perhaps they should go about it at the store/corporation level with requesting a percentage of used game sales, not going after the consumer that buys their game, whether new-release or pre-owned.

Editor’s Note: The preceeding two paragraphs were entirely this reviewer’s opinion, and do not reflect the overall opinion of RoH.  If you feel the same way, express your distaste for this DRM in our comments section or on the Facebook wall!

The basic premise of Mercenaries is fun – we had a blast playing it on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Resident Evil 5 (well, I did, anyway).  The clock ticks away as you try to defeat as many enemies as possible, chaining together combos, vying for combo bonuses and time bonuses.  There were actually times where my eyes would start to water due to lack of blinking while playing this game – honest!  And they still do, which…considering that this is a hand-held title, has lead to a lot of tears on my 3DS screen.  The good kind.  Mercenaries still retains its fun roots, even while being squished onto a tiny screen.

Good looking ‘and’ fun?  I’m in!

In line with the previous releases, there’s no story mode to The Mercenaries 3D.  Some people might say that’s a hindrance, we say it’s true to the original source material.  Any kind of story would feel tacked on and is really unnecessary.  We don’t complain of Mario Kart not having a story, so why complain of it here?  This is just the Mercenaries mode, lifted straight from Resident Evil 4 and 5.  There’s a demo of Resident Evil: Revelations on the cartridge, but if you’re picking up this game solely for the purpose of playing the demo, you’re in for a bit of disappointment – the demo is about five minutes long.

We feel that the control scheme really takes some getting used to, especially if you cut your teeth on the console versions.  Likewise, if you have hands larger than those of a small child, you’ll find that they tend to hurt after a short-run of Mercs 3DS.  The lower screen houses your inventory and your map – tap on an item (or conversely use the digital control pad) to select a weapon.  Tap on that weapon to reload – try not to get eaten in the process.   You can also tap on general areas of the map to look around but this felt a little awkward, especially in the heat of battle.

A feature some of the fans have been looking forward to the most, the ‘move while aiming’ feature isn’t quite as cracked up as we thought it would be.  When you press the R button to aim, the camera turns to first-person.  Press the L button and you can move around slightly (read: walk) with the aiming reticule locked wherever you last aimed.  Generally this feature is great if an enemy is about to stick a shovel or pick-axe down your throat.  If you play Mercenaries like we do, this means you’re looking at Majini and Ganados legs an awful lot.  However, take a dive into a sea of clunky menus over to the Options section and you can change the first-person aiming view to a third person aiming view, which makes the entire game much, much easier and moving while aiming becomes an advantage instead of an encumbrance.  It’s disappointing that you can’t change this on the fly, but once we changed it to third-person mode, we haven’t felt the need to go back to the default.

Looks aren’t everything – it’s what’s on the inside that counts.  That’s what we were always told growing up.   As bad as it sounds, graphics are important to the 3DS – it’s one of the main selling points of the entire system;  the whole thing is in 3-freaking-D.  Mercenaries 3DS is one of the games where it doesn’t hurt to keep the 3D on.  The sharpness of the images take a considerable cut, but overall it looks pretty nice, even for someone with corrective lenses.  The eyes don’t tire, and unless you’re really emotive in your games, you don’t often break sync with the 3D (if that’s even what losing the 3D effect can be called).  The game looks great when the 3D is turned off, too, except for a few tiny problems.  One of which being some pretty nasty frame rate issues.  We weren’t expecting the game to run as smooth as its older PS3 and 360 brothers, and a little bit of stuttering is nothing.  However when enemies start to pop up seemingly out of nowhere, it gets a little bit painful.

Jesus, where did you come from!?

Fleshing out the game a little bit more are bonuses that you can achieve in-game.  The bonuses are awarded when you complete certain tasks while playing (kind of like Trophies, but…not quite).  These give you point and time bonuses, which really is what the game is all about – getting those time bonuses so you can get a higher score.  Speaking of which, after you get that awesome score, stringing together so many combos, getting those time-bonuses and combo multipliers…there’s no online leaderboards.  Not a total buzz-kill, especially since you can’t delete your saves, but it would have been nice to have something implemented to show off your score.  You can play two-player co-op with another friend that has the game however, either locally or online, however there’s no way of communicating with them like you could in the previous renditions.

Overall, Capcom really should have waited with this title.  We wouldn’t have judged it so harshly if the game weren’t full price or included in a bundle with Resident Evil: Revelations, due out next year (probably not a bad idea, Capcom).  The lack of online leaderboards, the inability to delete your save data, clunky menus and the frame-rate issues put a real damper in the otherwise fun Mercenaries experience.  For full price, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D feels only half done.



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