Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D came out shortly after the 3DS launch and was greeted with mediocre critical response. Much of the criticism was over the save system (Which wouldn’t let players delete their game) rather than the actual gameplay itself. With the next Resident Evil game out on the 3DS now, the DoEE examines The Mercenaries to determine if it remains as anything other than a placeholder.
The Mercenaries was exactly what it says on the box; a self-contained version of the mini-game from Resident Evil 4 and 5 revamped to run on the 3DS. There was no story mode or campaign; players simply ran around the maps killing as many enemies as possible within a set time period. Bonus time could be acquired by power-ups scattered around the level, with certain special moves earning extra time as well. While some levels were difficult to survive, players were essentially playing to get higher scores, and as much bonus time as possible.
Mercenaries put players through about thirty missions set in locations used in Resident Evil 4 and RE5. The locations have variety, and enemies were drawn from both RE4 and 5. The mission objectives varied in style, such as challenges that sent waves of enemies at players, or others that dropped a boss monsters right in front of the start point.
Playable characters consisted of many familiar faces from the franchise, and there were numerous weapon load-outs to select from. Completing missions with a high-enough rank unlocked new missions, along with new playable characters, costumes and weapon kits.
Mercenaries 3D added in a few new features to the franchise, including a strafe move. By holding down the left trigger, players could finally move while firing. They couldn’t actually move their gun around while strafing, but the ability to do so has been added in Revelations (Thanks to the Circle Pad attachment and Gyroscopic controls).
Also of note was the “Perk” system, much like in Call of Duty or other modern first person shooters. These were unlocked as the player progressed, and offered bonuses to specific weapons, or increased resistance to certain attacks. The perks or “Skills” could be leveled up, and each character could have up to three of them equipped at once.
While Mercenaries was a fine game to play alone, it also had coop against the undead, locally or through the internet. There are still people playing it, though not as many as were found when this was among the slim pickens of 3DS online games. Some of the later missions are difficult and are best handled with a buddy at your back.
The controls were well optimized for the 3DS. The touchscreen was used to manage the inventory, and swiping your thumb across the screen was used to look around quickly (Something that the Circle Pad attachment will be handling for many in Revelations). There is an option to spend the 3DS “Game Coins” to unlock some things in the game if you don’t want to earn them through playing. A feature that more 3DS games need to employ even now.
Players looking for a deep game to played for long sessions will probably not enjoy Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D. Revelations would be the way to go for that. However, anyone who wants quick bursts of action or some online fun will do well to grab The Mercenaries.
The single-player alone will keep most people entertained for about eight hours as they try to unlock everything. Maybe less if they’re a master of unlocking…
Due to intense graphic violence and unlockable sexy outfits, this game gets a DoEE Age Rating of E-17.