Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Review

Author: Dany Argueta
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Games/Reviews/re_the_mercenaries_3d/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is Capcom's portable rendition of Resident Evil's popular Mercenaries Mode, crammed into a handheld format and turned into a standalone title.  As one of eight well-known Resident Evil characters, you’ll be traversing through locales from Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 while eliminating as many enemies you can within the given time limit.

You won't find any campaign to play through or a story to follow, making Mercenaries 3D a rather simple experience.  Players can expect a lightweight adaptation of Mercenaries Mode, with a few welcomed features that improve on the current Merc Mode formula.  Just don't go in expecting much of a challenge.

Mercenaries and Skills

Each character has his or her own unique loadout consisting of handguns, automatic weapons, and other equipment, though there is no difference in how the characters themselves are handled during actual gameplay -- everyone feels pretty much the same.  You'll unlock new characters whenever you complete the final mission in an Act, and the game boasts five in total, each with at least four missions.

By spending 3DS Play Coins, you can have your favorite Resident Evil character use another's loadout, adding a bit of customization to the game.  For instance, if you're a Wesker fan but prefer Krauser's bow and arrow, you can replace Albert's setup with the latter. The only catch is that you can't switch out individual weapons.

If you’re coming in from Resident Evil 4 or Resident Evil 5, The Mercenaries’ customizable skills should be a new feature to you. These grant all sorts of passive abilities like increasing the potency of recovery herbs or having a chance to survive an attack that would usually result in instant death. You can equip any three skills prior to starting a mission, and completing missions awards points that may be put toward upgrading these skills for greater effects.  Skills won't see any major development until the second half of the game -- about an hour in -- when Mercenaries inexplicably starts generously handling out points for your efforts.  You will still need to spend a fair amount of time grinding for points if you're hoping for better skills, even with the improved ratio.

Gameplay: Not the Brightest A.I.

Regardless of whether you’re fighting the infected Majini, the crazed cultists of Los Illuminados, or some giant mutant scorpion, all of the enemies in Mercenaries 3D have a horrible tendency of idling far too long before attacking, leaving them completely open. The AI is practically crippled with how easily it can be exploited, and by "exploited," I mean backing into a corner and waiting for enemies to run straight up -- then pause. They do attack, but only after a three-to-six second delay.

Roughly every two to three minutes, a boss creature joins the enemy ranks, but this isn't nearly as overwhelming as it sounds. Rather, you can counter the AI's superior numbers by using the same strategy as before and moving only occasionally to avoid the boss' attacks.  As long as you can find a corner or raised area, enemies can be picked off without much effort on your part. 

That said, shooting first may be your only means of survival, since evading attacks can be troublesome. It is understandable if Capcom wanted to put in a little more realism by making enemy attacks more difficult to avoid, but when you're about to be chainsawed into pieces, the awkward movement system really isn't helpful.  Your options are either slowly stepping backward or attempting to barrel through other enemies. None of the playable characters look like they have any serious physical impediments, so the lack of any quick evade abilities like dodges or rolls feels pretty unreasonable.  Your best bet is really just relying on the AI's ineptitude and taking down enemies before they get close enough.

After completing a mission, you are presented with an evaluation score, though the game doesn't break that score down for you. This is a serious drawback because you rely on high scores to award you points for developing passive skills and unlocking new missions, and the lack of a detailed explanation means you'll just need to evaluate yourself more carefully. I ended up stuck on the last mission of the fourth Act for a good hour trying all sorts of things like landing headshots, killing enemies quickly, and doing melee attacks to no avail until one random attempt gave me a large enough score to unlock the final Act.

Final Thoughts

In a move that caused much controversy amongst the gaming community, Capcom opted to disallow erasing save data in Mercenaries 3D, preventing anyone from being able to start the game over from scratch. No is quite sure why Capcom imposed this restriction, though some have speculated that the publisher is trying to dissuade trade-ins. 

For an arcade-style game, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D delivers a ton of content for Resident Evil fans but falls surprisingly short on challenge. Replayability lies in the game's unlockable character roster, skills and medals, which is pretty conventional for a Resident Evil title, though folks who don't care so much about 100 percent completion will find the incentives less appealing.  The bonus demo of Resident Evil: Revelations included with Mercenaries is nice to have, at least, but only lasts around five minutes, even if you interact with everything.

3DS owners unfamiliar with the franchise may not be as taken by the added features or any other subtle improvements, and the ridiculously dim AI can be off-putting.  Still, the amount of content Capcom has crammed into Mercenaries 3D is rather impressive, and the game excels visually despite barely perceptible 3D effects.

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