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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Review: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D - A Very Expensive Mini-Game

By: Anthony Accinelli

If you aren’t familiar with the Resident Evil series, Mercenaries is a mini-game mode introduced in Resident Evil 3. A wave-based mini-game, you have one goal: don’t get your face eaten off. Similar to other Zombie wave games out there, Mercenaries is a ton of head-splitting, blood spurting fun.

As a mini-game.

Despite the fact that Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D hit store shelves devoid of the ability to reset your save file, I decided to give it a shot. While I am not disappointed by any means, I am certainly not impressed. With a steep price tag of $40, I expected a lot more content than I received. I understood that it was a full retail release of an old mini-game, but a few extras would have been nice.

In Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D you can select from 8 characters:  Chris Redfield, Krauser, Hunk, Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker, Barry Burton, Rebecca Chambers, and Claire Redfield. Each of these characters feels relatively the same, with the only noticeable difference between the height of the reticule. New to the series is the skill slotting system, which gives you the option to add three skills to your character (30 in total). These range anywhere from increased reload time, to faster bullet speed, to resistance against instant kills. While this does add a different flair to the game, you will find yourself adding the same skills nearly every time.

Gameplay wise RETM3D is the first in the franchise that allows you to shoot and move at the same time. This is where my largest complaint lies however. While the ability is there (simply press “L” and strafe), the game mechanic locks your reticule in the middle of the screen, making this completely useless. I found myself in more dire situations trying to use the new feature than without. The controls outside of that feel as solid as ever. The circular pad on the Nintendo 3DS is responsive and easy to use, movement is tight, and the camera behaves surprisingly well for a handheld.

In terms of graphics, TM3D is one of the best looking games on the Nintendo 3DS. The 3D works beautifully and adds a great element to the action as zombies seemingly come out of the screen at you. Unfortunately the severe frame rate issues take away from the beauty of the game, sometimes leaving you in the middle of a pack of zombies with no real idea as to where you are. This is the first 3DS game I have seen an issue like this act up so often, and in an epic franchise like Resident Evil it’s completely unacceptable.

One of the biggest draws to TM3D is the multiplayer aspect. You can play each mission either locally or online, so long as the other player has a copy of the game as well. Playing with a buddy increases the action quite a bit and instantly becomes a lot more fun, but it doesn’t necessarily add anything to the game. With no leaderboards or other online bonuses, the incentive to keep playing isn’t really there. The online does work flawlessly outside of the random loading screen that rears its ugly head at the most inopportune times.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D should have been released with Resident Evil Revelations as a mini-game. With no relevant story to piece the chapters together, only eight characters, a mere six mission groups to complete, and the fact that you can only play through it one time due to the inability to reset a save file leaves this game incredibly shallow – especially for $40. I would have no problem recommending this game as a $15 download, but as a full retail release I simply can’t. 

Oh, and if you're thinking about purchasing for the included demo of Resident Evil Revelations, don't. It's incredibly short (several minutes actually) and shows you very little of what's to come.

We rate games on a Scale of 1-5, with 5 being a perfect score.
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