Game: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
Available on: Nintendo 3DS only
Resident Evil is one of those franchises that feels like they’ve always been around. It often feels like there has got to a Resident Evil out there in the market in order to stay alive. That’s no different with the Nintendo 3DS, as soon as the new console was announced, two Resident Evil titles were also announced to be in development. This one, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, and the other being Resident Evil: Revelations, which is coming out later this year.
Does each console need it’s own Resident Evil game though? Most of them are good but is that always the case? If you’re going to put out a game just for the sake of putting one out then eventually you’re going to release something that isn’t ready to be played. Is that the case with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D?
STORY: One of the biggest let downs with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is the severe lack of any kind of story. Normally when you play a Resident Evil game you get a deep, well written story, that grabs your attention from the first moment you press the start button to the moment when the credits are rolling. Within all that there’s usually a sprinkling of tension, a couple of jump scares and some kind of overarching enemy. None of that is evident within this game at all. Most people will start the game and think that they’re just playing a couple of tutorials before the actual game starts but the disappointing part is that the “game” never really starts. The whole thing just feels like you’re playing a set of tutorials, missions and challenges, as if it’s something that should be unlocked when you’ve finished the whole main game, but that’s all you’ve got with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D; a set of challenges and nothing else.
If you’re the type of player that enjoys playing through challenge maps, attempting to get a better score, playing them over and over again in order to become the best of the best, then you’re probably going to enjoy this game. If you’re not, however, then you’re probably going to finish the game quite quickly and be left severely disappointed, wondering where the rest of the game could possibly be; it’s got to be here somewhere right? Nope.
GRAPHICS: The visuals in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D are by far the most impressive part of the whole game. The models are created with a great amount of details and the textures render well for the most part. The only noticeable problem with the graphics is when the enemies get too close to the camera and some of the underlying imperfections of some of the models are very apparent, but for the most part players won’t notice this during a normal play session.
The 3D element of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D was also quite impressive. As with most Nintendo 3DS game if you turn the 3D all the way up it can get a little bit overwhelming at times, but if you dial it back just a little bit you’ll be able to enjoy the effect without making your head feel like it’s going to explode. When you’ve got the 3D slider into the elusive “sweet spot” you’ll be able to see the sheer power of the Nintendo 3DS as well as just how impressive the 3D effect can be when used correctly, as it is here. It would have been so easy for the developers to start throwing things into the screen like a cheesy 70’s horror film (Jaws 3D anyone?) but they didn’t, and for that fact alone they deserve at least a little applause.
SOUND: The audio design in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is also one of the aspects of the game which is quite impressive, it packs quite a punch considering just that you’re getting the audio out of a Nintendo 3DS. Usually games on the Nintendo 3DS don’t really boast great audio, but the sounds of the guns and the enemies here are quite well done. The only real downside was the introduction of the game. As everyone knows, when they press the start button on a Resident Evil game a voice is heard saying the title of the game, when that title is as long as “Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D” is just sounds silly. The game takes so long to fade into some actual gameplay because we’ve got to wait for this sound to finish playing. The first time it’s cool, a couple more times and it’s a little funny, but after that it’s just a huge annoyance.
GAMEPLAY: The main gameplay element of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is to kill as many of the enemies as possible before the timer runs out. In order to increase the amount of time that the player has before they have to stop the slaughter they can perform various actions in order to add some ever so needed time to the clock, players can melee attack the enemies when they’re stunned or hit glowing red columns that litter some of the levels. In general, the more enemies you kill the higher score you’ll get, and the better rank you’ll get once the round finishes. The main point of the game is to get the best rank possible; unfortunately, that’s really the only point of the game.
The progression in the game is very short and most people will be able to finish it in only a few hours, they won’t be able to unlock everything in those few hours but they’ll certainly be able to get from the beginning all the way through to the end. Progression revolves around a series of levels with a various number of missions within each level, players can play through every mission within a level and it doesn’t matter what their rank is, but they’ll need a star on each level order to unlock the next level; which are more or less difficulty levels. Again this make the game feel more like an extra feature of some larger game. Anyone that’s ever played the challenges in a game will know that the general game rule that they follow is that they’re the same thing over and over again, with more enemies that take longer to die, in order to make it feel more difficult. When it starts getting easy they shovel more enemies in and see how you handle that; this is exactly what Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D does.
The controls of the game feel quite good considering that, with this type of game, players would be used to playing with the dual analog stick of a standard home console. With Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, players will use the Nintendo 3DS’s circle pad to move their character through the levels, then when you want to shoot at an enemy, just pull on the right bumper button and use the circle pad again, but to aim this time. This whole control method means that it’s always relatively simple to control. There will be time when the control system gets a bit overwhelming but that is more often than not because you’ve panicked as you’ve turned around quickly only to find that one of those shuffling monstrosities is right there in front of you, forgetting to hold down the right bumper button to aim your weapon and frustratingly fumbling at the shoot button to no avail. Human error isn’t the fault of the game though, and Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D seems to do the best it can with the buttons that are available to it.
LONGEVITY: As I’ve said throughout this review, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is the type of game that wants to be played for the long term. The way that each mission is set up with a rank at the end, along with the addition of an achievement system, means that people who enjoy playing the same level over and over again will really enjoy what this game has to offer. Unfortunately there’s no replay value at all for people who only care about getting to the end of the game. As soon as you’ve finished all the missions there isn’t that much to keep you interested. You may want to try and unlock all the little hidden extras but for the most part it feel so tedious to do that you’ll probably pick something else up way before you’ve unlocked everything.
VERDICT: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D has some of the most impressive visuals on the Nintendo 3DS. However, the entire game is massively let down by the fact that there’s no story at all. From beginning to end it just feels as if you’re playing some extra features to a game that you’ve never had the chance to play. If you’re the type of person who enjoys challenge maps in games, having to play the same level over and over again to unlock things and get a better grade the next time, then you’ll probably find some enjoyment here.
If you’re looking for a classic Resident Evil game that you can play on your way to work/school then Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D isn’t what you’re looking for. Wait a little bit longer and have a look at Resident Evil: Revelations (of which there’s a demo available with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D), that’s going to be much more up your alley.