Published on July 24th, 2011 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Review
Release Date: June 28th, 2011
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Resident Evil was one of my first epic 3D video game loves. It was where exploration and puzzle solving finally began to conceptualize on screen in a believable environment and where the term gore was introduced to my vocabulary. Over the course of years, the title has grown from a very mild tempered action series, to having big booms and bangs dialed in at its heart. The introduction of The Mercenaries to the games core is yet another way in which the series has become more than just a slow paced, suspenseful survival horror title.
The introduction of The Mercenaries in the latter years of the RE franchise speaks volumes about the changes and route the game has taken over the course of time. It is equally amazing to see that such a title could ever be supported on a handheld device.
This is important when the device must adhere to the graphical integrity in displaying levels from Resident Evil 4 and 5. This is somewhat ironic being that the Nintendo 3DS is expected to display levels of a title fitted for a next-gen console. Another important design to the game that would also put the handheld device to the test was the lack of the second analog stick.
It was interesting to see just what Capcom had in mind when it came to recreating the button scheme for a Resident Evil title on the Nintendo 3DS. It was a relief to see that the game controlled well, but that it also kept in mind a functional use of the dual screen abilities. Options like reloading were done with both the buttons and touch of the weapon on the bottom screen.
Moving your character is done in a modern fashion by using the swivel pad. True to the RE titles, a player cannot run and gun at the same time. Although your character cannot run and shoot, while having your weapon drawn, it is possible to strafe and take on moving enemies. This is something that is imperative with the amount of enemies climbing through windows and dropping down from elevated spots. Holding the ‘RT’ allows you to aim with the red laser sight as introduced in the RE 4.
Other important button maneuvers are actions such as pushing opposite direction on the swivel pad and the ‘B’ button to make a swift 180 degree turn. At times it was tough to make abrupt turns with enemies at all sides, but the quick turn helped in breaking away from large groups of varying cultists and Manjini. It was also a huge relief to know that various other button layouts were available in the option menu. Although they are not completely customizable, the variations work very well in both design and in assigning moving options to the X, B, Y and A buttons.
One of the biggest options, or lack thereof, that Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D came under fire for was the limited options for saving. The game only hosts a single profile system. While the title suggests a true to the bone Resident Evil style of play, the game doesn’t necessarily need to live up to the traditional save options. Being that, if there was more to the game than just the arcade style of play, then maybe it would be a bigger deal that there is only one continuous save file. Save files on my console were notorious for eating up extra needed blocks only because it ensured a “point of return” after a huge boss battle or run in with a powerful enemy.
The game itself brings the best enemies and options from RE 4 and 5. Weapons and various other tank characters are all displayed well on the Nintendo 3DS. The game makes a great appearance on the handheld, but does fall victim to a few noticeable animation issues. When there are multiple enemies on screen, and a few others pouring in from the environment, characters become robotic-like and slightly let the air out of my enjoyment sails.
It was interesting to see that up-close baddies and chainsaw maniacs were perfectly animated as they crowded a tight corridor. While the enemies began running towards Jill Valentine, who was my character at the time, there was something caught my attention off in the distance. Other enemies who’ve spotted my location began pouring in from the environment via windows and ladders. While they moved closer, the animations were somewhat pixelated and a bit awkward. This was noticeable throughout the game, but it still did its best to keep my interest and the other RE integrity moving right along.
For anyone that has played RE, they know the knife sitting in their stash of items sometimes becomes their last beacon of hope. It would have been great to see the knife option for all characters. There were countless times where playing as Chris, even though “skilled with handguns and can deliver a wide-range of attacks with a shotgun,” that it felt like a must to have a knife sitting in my inventory for use. This balancing is better played out with a partner due to the character options that are available during co-op survival play.
When you think of the survival aspect in a horror game, most of the time it is done in a solo fashion. It was great to see the 3DS take on the option of online play. It was noticeable that it is by far easier to “host” a match than it is to “join” one. Although it is sometimes tough to connect to another player, it was easier to host the round and play with another person as we both worked together to stay alive. It would have been great to have some sort of returning friend option, so that adding another person to your list could leave players to make a new friend and blast away enemies more than just that single meet and greet.
One thing players might also find useful are the upgrades that players can delegate to their selected mercenary in order to aid certain attributes. By default, the characters of the game have a basic skill set. These other unlockables skills are items such as “improved rifle handling” or “combo timer lasts longer when damage is sustained.” These skills can be assigned to 3 open slots in each of the characters bar. It is useful to swap these out in order to survive the level, or supplement where your character lacks in basic layout. These can also be grown over time with new abilities being unlocked while the skill is in use.
(Notice the [-][-][-], these are filled with skills)
Resident Evil has come a long way from its original release. Even after all of these years, even in an arcade style timed game atmosphere, the tension and nervousness of whether or not you are going to stay alive long enough to fire off another round-is still present. There is also a bonus gift of the Resident Evil: Revelations demo in the title screen extras. The Mercenaries 3D offers up a bloody good time and an easy transition to the Nintendo 3DS. While it may bare most relevance to those who have played the most recent titles in the series, others may still enjoy the arcade survival horror that it brings to the palm of your hands.
+/– Resident Evil Game for Resident Evil Fans