When the original PlayStation was still in its infancy, Capcom released a game that put the player smack down into a zombie nightmare, and then asked you to survive. In so doing, Resident Evil literally created the “survival horror” genre, giving players chills and frights, and loads of bad acting and horrible dialogue.
But something happened along the way; Resident Evil transcended its shaky, tongue-in-cheek roots and actually began to develop into an incredible game, along with an equally incredible mythology. By the time the original PlayStation was singing “happy trails,” Capcom’s little zombie game was a multi-million-selling juggernaut that spawned a film series, toy line and side games. Lots, and lots of side games.
Side games are, by definition, games that don’t follow the over-arcing story of the Umbrella Corporation and its experiments gone awry. The side games are side stories, or puzzle games, or first-person shooters, all taking place in the RE universe, but not contributing to the “main story.”
Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D for Nintendo 3DS falls into this category. The game was originally an add-on to the Resident Evil 5 game, giving players a multiplayer platform that awarded you for completing missions within time limits, and rating you for doing it faster, and better.
On paper, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D seems to be an excellent candidate for a 3D translation on the new Nintendo 3D-centric system. Missions are brief (most under two minutes in the beginning stages, and dragging out a little longer in later missions) and the wi-fi capabilities of the 3DS system allow for on-line matches with players all over the world.
In reality, the game, while incredibly fun, is lacking, and the missions do seem to get old after awhile. There isn’t a story that ties it all together, so basically, you play in the RE5 world, killing the infected for better times, and then using good scores to unlock weapons, characters and more missions.
Capcom, who also released Street Fighter IV 3D, has embraced the new Nintendo 3DS system fully in creating an amazing looking game to rival its console counterparts. The frame rate doesn’t seem to drop much in the tense action scenes, even with the 3D turned on and maxed out.
And to be honest, things get so intense and hectic, there isn’t time to really enjoy the 3D in the game, so after a few seconds, the effect blends in. I believe this is a good thing, as 3D for 3D’s sake is never good. I don’t need an infected Majini (the name of the baddies in this game) to poke a spear at me for a gimmick. I’m just as content with a good depth of field while blowing away the monsters trying to kill me.
The sound effects and music are both just, well, there. There is nothing special that pops out and says, “wow, that was amazing.” In fact, the music gets really repetitive, especially after playing the same mission over and over trying to get the coveted SS ranking.
I did like the stereo sound coming from the 3DS’s speakers, as it was telling me if there was something that needed killing behind me. Any edge that I can get is helpful.
The controls are a bit unorthodox, even for a game well known for its “wonky” controls. It does take a few missions to get used to what button does what, and being able to reload and change weapons using the bottom touch screen is a nice addition. The circle pad is adequate for movement, but after using two analog sticks in the recent RE console games, it’s hard to go back.
Another well-publicized issue is the inability to wipe a saved game from the cartridge. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is the first game to take that ability away, which severely hurt its resale value in the used market. This is not an anomaly, and I expect more publishers to start doing this to protect sales. Regardless, the move was controversial and turned many gamers off from investing their hard-earned money in a game that is essentially an add-on from RE5.
There are multiple play modes in the game. You can play single player missions and Duo missions (with a partner) both in ad-hoc and online. All modes contribute to your player scores and your medal count, so the more you play, the more accolades you achieve (and characters you unlock).
The game does come packaged with a demo of the new Resident Evil game, Revelations, which is a game within the main story, and not a side game. The demo is pretty awesome, and almost makes the The Mercenaries 3D a game worth owning in and of itself.
While Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a good game, it is a glorified side game, that doesn’t follow a narrative. The graphics are incredible for a portable device, and the music and sound are what you would expect from an RE game. The controls take some getting used to but get better as you go along. The multiple modes and inclusion of the RE: Revelations demo round out a solid gaming experience.
Shop for Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D on Nintendo 3DS for a discounted price at Amazon.com.