3DS review: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

One of the earliest big-name releases for the 3DS, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D was effectively a means for Capcom to tide Resident Evil fans over until the release of the more bold and highly-anticipated Resident Evil: Revelations. The Mercenaries 3D has a very similar control scheme to its 3DS sister title, but plays quite differently. The major stages from the mercenaries bonus game modes of both Resident Evil 4 and 5 have been compiled in The Mercenaries 3D. The first handful of missions act as tutorials, asking for players to perform simple tasks like running past a dozen or so markers before the time runs out, or killing ten to fifteen enemies. As each mission is cleared, the parameters become a little more complex. While it is good of Capcom to throw these tutorial bits into the mix for those who may have missed out on the modern RE titles, it is also mildly annoying that there is no option to skip them, and seasoned veterans of the arcade-y mercenaries gameplay style may find the first twenty-five minutes boring and tedious.

That said, once the full mercenaries mode is made available, it proves quite enjoyable. The Mercenaries 3D lacks any sort of story mode, so anyone interested in this title should keep in mind that this a purchase that should be made entirely on how much he/she enjoyed the mercenaries mode from Resident Evil 4 and 5. Stages like the African caves and medieval castle remain largely unchanged, though a few of the larger ones have seen small portions cut from them. The limited spawn counter issue from Resident Evil 4 seems to have been rectified, as enemies will continue to descend onto the battlefield as long as you keep shooting them up. Overall, the game looks quite good – the textures are certainly not as impressive as on the home console releases, or even as impressive as in Revelations, but for as early a 3DS release as The Mercenaries 3D was, it’s none too shabby.

There are eight characters to select from, and while only a couple are available from the outset, the rest will be unlocked through a natural process of completing each ‘chapter’ worth of stages (each chapter usually consisting of approximately a dozen missions or so). There is also an in-game achievement list, and meeting certain criteria like beating a mission while using only one weapon or chaining a set number of combo kills will net rewards like abilities and alternative costumes for the eight characters. The costumes provide little more than an aesthetic alteration, which is a bit disappointing, since Resident Evil 5 saw different loadouts ascribed to each new costume. The aforementioned abilities can be added to a character’s loadout to grant them slight boosts to their healing, critical hit ratio, mobility, and so on, and can come in handy when tackling some of the more grueling late game missions.

The Mercenaries 3D supports both single player action and cooperative via online or local means. The standard loadouts of Chris, Jill, Claire, Hunk, Barry, Rebecca, Wesker, and Krauser are nicely varied, and though some characters share the same weapons like the grenade launcher, the play style from one character to another is prevented from becoming too similar by providing them different types of ammunition and distinctly different physical stats. Rebecca is more about speed and offense, Krauser is something of a one-trick pony focused on accuracy and critical hits, Chris and Jill act as the two comfortable balanced defaults, etc. There may not be a lot of content to Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, but then again, it isn’t trying to deliver a full-fledged RE experience like Revelations or any of the numbered entries in the series. The Mercenaries 3D is meant to satiate a hunger for pure, unbridled arcade-y gameplay, and it handles surprisingly well on a handheld, touch screen implementation for herb healing and all.

My rating: 7 (out of 10)

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