Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Review
Extra Features: online multiplayer (1-2 players)
"I've got us a chopper, headed your way now..." If that phrase means anything to you, then Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a game that you'll want to take a look at. If that phrase doesn't mean anything to you, then read on and I'll tell you about it. That is the opening phrase that a player is forced to listen to at the beginning of each Mercs run in Resident Evil 5 and one that is surely drilled into every RE5 Mercs players' head by now. Mercs 3D is the type of game that will appeal the most to a hardcore Mercs player or any Mercs player that really enjoyed The Mercenaries mini game that started in Resident Evil 3 and continued on into Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5.
Mercs 3D is a standalone version of the Mercenaries mini game that you'll find in Resident Evil 4 and Resident Evil 5 - it's a full game based off that mini game. Mercs 3D compiles enemies and gameplay from both RE4 and RE5. The game is split into missions that start out very basic then turn into normal Resident Evil Mercenaries playthroughs that RE fans are more familiar with. Like in the RE4 and RE5 Mercs mini game, the main focus for most missions is to kill as many enemies as you can and achieve the highest score possible while staying alive.
The game keeps all of the established styles of gaining points that were in RE5 Mercs - building time through collecting timers and achieving melee kills, keeping a large kill combo through enemy kills and collecting combo bonuses to gain extra points per kill. Each of the 8 characters in Mercs 3D has their own melee moves that can be used to weaken or finish off enemies. Just like in RE5 Mercs, each character has one head stun melee, two arm stun melees, two leg stun melees, one ground melee and at least one really powerful tag team melee.
The 8 characters in Mercs 3D are Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, HUNK, Jack Krauser, Albert Wesker, Barry Burton, Rebecca Chambers and Claire Redfield. Claire Redfield is the only new addition that wasn't in a previous title. Each character has one alternate outfit as well. The game has a total of 21 main missions, which are spread into 5 levels of difficulty. There are also 9 EX missions that are unlocked once all missions have been completed.
As already mentioned, the missions start out very basic. The beginning missions are basically tutorials for overall movement and some of them teach a player how to score higher through the means available (melee kills, combo bonus chests, etc). Once all of the basics missions are out of the way, the game will present actual Mercs missions to the player and the difficulty will increase per mission thereafter.
Mercs 3D brings in several enemies from RE4 and RE5 Mercs. For a full roster the game has the following enemies: Town Majini, Base Majini (some w/metal shields), Zealots (some w/wooden shields), Big Man Majini, Cephalo, Duvalia, Bui Kichwa, Executioner, Red Executioner, Gatling Gun Majini, Super Salvador, Chainsaw Majini, Garrador and Popokarimu. The game mixes these enemies up greatly. You'll never constantly fight a certain enemy per stage all the time like you would in the previous Mercs games. Just because you're at the Castle stage doesn't mean that you'll only fight Zealots. The game will sometimes toss a mixture of normal enemies your way, such as mixing Town Majini with Zealots.
Each enemy has a certain amount of health that can be quite large. Zealots have quite a bit of health, which helps make an RE5 Mercs player reconsider a "melee kill only" sort of strategy. When Zealots take about 6-7 shots from a handgun to weaken for a melee to kill them off for a time bonus, a player will often find it best to blast a group with a shotgun and finish off any surviving enemies in the crowd with a melee that will finish them off. The enemy durability and overall aggression makes Mercs 3D feel a lot more like RE4 Mercs in terms of difficulty. There is much more of a fight for survival feel in the later missions of Mercs 3D when compared to RE5 Mercs. The difficulty in Mercs 3D is more like RE Mercs overall.
The overall controls make Mercs 3D harder as well. More like RE4 Mercs, a player must go through a full reload animation in front of active enemies in order to reload. Healing must be performed in real time as well, though the healing animation is invincible. Item pickups are now instant - once you press a button while standing over an item, your character will automatically gain that item without having to bend down to pick it up like in RE5 Mercs. This eliminates the invincibility from item pickup that was established in RE5 Mercs however, so say... when the Executioner is about to hit Chris over the head with his large axe, Chris can't suddenly lean over and pick up that flash grenade on the ground next to him to gain invincibility from it!
The game has four control types. It has the usual RE4 control setup and three other control types, one of which is similar to a first person shooter and some that change up the buttons just a bit. Overall, I could not find a control setup that I was completely comfortable with, and that limited my gameplay during tense situations. No matter the control type, I constantly felt like the controls were more complicated than they should be. To make matters worse, during gameplay, you have to tap on the touch screen to equip explosives such as hand grenades and proximity bombs. Having to use the touch screen to equip an explosive during a heated battle often messed me up.
The aiming in the game can be set to first person view or the usual behind the shoulder view. A player can now move while aiming by holding down on the L button to lock the current view into place while your character is free to move. This does show off some of the flaws in the enemy gameplay however - basically, I can now simply move backwards as the Executioner readies his very slow overhead attack while I shoot him with a rifle. The action in the later Mercs missions can be so intense that this flaw cannot be exploited as much as you think however. When surrounded by several Zealots as two Executioners approach your character, you will be thankful for the ability to move while shooting!
Most of the character melees have been adjusted to where each melee feels balanced in Mercs 3D stages. Wesker's Cobra Strike head stun melee can still kill weaker enemies with a single hit without prior damage, but it is much slower now. He can no longer group enemies very easily and kill off several in a row for bonus time very easily. Wesker's other melees have more reason to use now since his Cobra Strike is not as quick. Some characters have been given new melees and some remain the same. Claire's melees are all basically new. She has a ground stomp melee much like her brother Chris but she does it a bit differently.
As ranks are gained per mission, new skills will be unlocked that can be equipped to a character before a mission begins. Each character can equip 3 skills that will empower them with new abilities. Some skills allow a character to gain more health back from each herb that is used, some skills give a character quicker reload for a certain range of weapons, some skills make a combo bonus last longer under a certain condition - there are many other skills as well. Skills will gain levels through skill points that are awarded based on how many score points are gained in each mission. The use of skills gives Mercs 3D an added RPG type of feel and breaks up the monotony of only completing a stage for a score rather well.
Each character can also equip different weapon setups once other weapon setups have been unlocked. For instance, Chris can use Krauser's bow, knife and rocket launchers once Krauser's weapon setup has been unlocked. Some weapon setups are far better for stages than others. Krauser's weapon setup is easily one of the best. He has a bow with infinite arrows that takes off quite a bit of damage, a knife that takes off about the same damage as a handgun shot per slash along with the ability to achieve melee kills with the finishing slash of the knife (the final slash counts as a melee kill) and a pair of rocket launchers that take considerable damage from any target that is hit!
Mercs 3D looks quite good for a handheld Mercs game. The action flows just as well as it did in other Mercs titles without much slowdown. Character models have a bunch of noticeable jagged edges on them, though they still have a good bit of detail just like in RE5. All of the action on the top screen can be shown with a 3D appearance by adjusting the 3D slider on the 3DS. The 3D effects look quite good - objects that are in the background actually have depth and look far away while your character and on screen enemies appear to stand out separate from the environment.
Environmental effects such as flames and the blinding flash from a flash grenade have been basically removed. The plagas mutation of a Cephalo is very instant when compared to RE5 Mercs - basically the head explodes on the enemy and the snake head of the Cephalo just sort of... appears! Mercs 3D has stages taken from RE4 and RE5 Mercs. The full list of stages is as follows: Castle, Prison, Ship Deck, Missile Area, Public Assembly, The Mines, Village (RE4), Deserted Island. Some of the stages have a day and night setting. The stages from RE5 Mercs have been trimmed down quite a bit in some areas. About half of Missile Area has been blocked off, and all other stages from RE5 have been trimmed down as well - this actually makes it better however since some RE5 stages had a flaw of being too big anyway.
When it comes to overall sound, Mercs 3D has the best soundtrack for Mercs so far. Mercs 3D has a new soundtrack per stage. It compiles all music themes from RE4 and RE5 - The HUNK theme, the RE5 Mercs theme, the RE5 Versus theme, etc. The overall sound effects have been toned down from past Mercs games. Partner commands from RE5 Mercs have all been made very basic. Some decisions such as Wesker saying "Thanks" instead of "It was in your best interest to assist me" when a player uses his thank command take away from the character personality. Majini and Zealots and all other enemies still have the same sound effects, though a few of their sound effects have been mixed up or taken away.
Mercs 3D can be played multiplayer locally or online through duo play. The duo option is only available for the later missions, though there are quite a few later missions where it can be used - there are only about 5 missions without a duo mode option. While playing the game in duo mode two players can join together to defeat enemies. Just like in RE5 Mercs, players can interact with each other with partner commands and both players can assist each other.
To fight off the sale of used games, Capcom made it to where a save on Mercs 3D cannot be deleted, so it's best to buy this game new if you plan to unlock all material for yourself. All content remains unlocked once it has been unlocked for the first time. The main save file cannot be deleted.
Mercs 3D has no story to it whatsoever. It's much like how Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions was a compilation of MGS's VR minigame, only RE uses Mercs missions as the main feature. Mercs 3D will likely only appeal to players that enjoyed RE4 Mercs and RE5 Mercs for the most part. Most players will only want to play through the game to unlock everything and gain SS-ranks for all characters for the most part. The game has tons of unlockables. Achieving a high score on a stage has little reward when there are no leaderboards for a player to brag about gaining a high rank on. Overall, Mercs 3D is a pocket-sized compilation of RE4 and RE5 Mercs - it's literally Mercs on the go!
+ The majority of the game is a compilation of both RE4 and RE5 Mercs (there is a lot of material here!)
+ There is much more overall balance with the character roster when compared to RE5 Mercs.
+ Online multiplayer.
- The controls for the game feel uncomfortable (all control types)
- The majority of the game is a compilation of both RE4 and RE5 Mercs (not too much new content).
Final Rating: 80%. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a handheld compilation of RE4 and RE5 Mercs mini games that will feel like a nice bonus to Mercs players that enjoyed the Mercs mini game.