Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Review (3DS)

Posted by Jim Cook, Jul 01, 2011 05:17

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a pretty straight-forward game to explain; it takes much of its content and inspiration from the same-named ’The Mercenaries’ modes shown in other recent Resident Evil titles, letting you pick your character of choice and turning them loose amongst a variety of zombie-like enemies. Your goal is to kill as many of them as possible in the most efficient way you can, while obeying a strict time limit. The result is very much an arcade-style ’score attack’ game that lacks Resident Evil’s other trappings of exploration and a lengthy storyline, but this has some charm on its own. The most serious problem in an otherwise acceptable game is a lack of content, with a heavy emphasis placed on hunting unlockables by repeating certain stages until you master them.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3DLike Resident Evil 4 and 5, Mercenaries 3D is primarily a third-person shooter. It disposes of the plot, instead having you simply pick your character and turn you loose on a pack of enemies. The characters are mostly an assortment of series favorites such as Chris, Wesker, Jill, Hunk, Rebecca, Claire, and so on, and despite a limited pool to pick from you do get reasonable variety in each; they have different weapons sets and you don’t have to do much to get their initial arsenals. Mercenaries 3D focuses on action, giving you enough weaponry and ammo to get started right away while making sure that defeated enemies drop all the replacements you’ll need unless you are being extremely trigger-happy.

The emphasis is definitely on becoming more efficient. Players are rewarded for learning how to use just enough firepower to stun an enemy in order to finish them off with close-combat techniques, as this both saves ammo and gives you bonus time. Being particularly skilled or lining up multiple kills at the same time nets even more points, and this sort of ’score attack’ play is the main appeal. Much of this game’s unlockable content is tied to performing well on any given stage, so it’s entirely possible a player will find themselves playing certain levels repeatedly to get just a tiny bit better at them. This represents most of Mercenaries 3D’s replay value, since you may have a few dozen stages to play but each one is very short and only lasts a couple minutes. It is entirely possible to go through most of the main content in just a few hours, which hurts the long-term appeal.

While most of your play time may center around becoming increasingly effective at beating enemy hordes and confronting the occasional boss, a multiplayer mode has been included. Whether playing online or with someone else nearby, Mercenaries 3D does let you team up with another player to complete its stages. If you’re playing with random strangers, this doesn’t add much to the experience since they’re likely to run off recklessly and get killed; this causes a game-over result for both of you, much like in Resident Evil 5. Playing with friends that you can coordinate with is a bit more enjoyable however, and for some people this may be the best part of this.

I don’t have a problem with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D as a game, but rather as a product. It’s decent, it does a good job of porting the controls and mechanics of the modern Resident Evil experience to a portable system, and I had some fun playing it. The price is the real issue, as $40 USD seems too high when you can clear most of the meaningful content in just a few hours and pursuing unlockables only goes so far to keep you interested. If the idea of playing Resident Evil’s ’survivor mode’ on a portable system with controls roughly equivalent to the console version sounds fun, rest assured that it is and you’ll probably enjoy your purchase... but you should probably wait until the cost comes down some. The amount of content you get doesn’t quite match what you would be spending on it at full price, but might be much more reasonable at $25 or so.

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Our Rating for Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Review (3DS)
4.0 Replay
Various unlockables are awarded for becoming increasingly good at certain stages, and score attack play may be interesting enough for some. On the other hand, this is an extremely short game and can be mostly cleared in just a few hours.
7.5 Graphics
A fairly good looking game for a portable system, with the only real oddity being that enemies beyond a certain distance animate at a much lower framerate than one would expect. The optional 3D display is very well done, adding visual depth that can make it easier to line up certain shots with explosive weapons.
4.5 Sound
Low-quality voice recordings combine with a purely average soundtrack and underwhelming weapon sound effects to be bad, but at least tolerable.
7.0 Gameplay
With a decent implementation of Resident Evil 5’s combat controls, Mercenaries 3D puts you right in the action and provides ample firepower. Mowing down enemy hordes with a focus on efficiency is fun, though may get repetitive in short order.
7.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
Basic yet functional multiplayer is offered, though it’s best experienced with a friend as the ’partner system’ from Resident Evil 5 has a lot of influence here and makes playing with random strangers frustrating.
6.5 Overall
An acceptable and fun game, Mercenaries 3D’s largest problem is it costs too much for the amount of content you get. Fans of the series and this ’survival mode’ play will probably be well served once the price comes down, however.

Rating: 5.0, votes: 1

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