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Not enough meat in 'Mercenaries'

Aug 9, 2011

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3DEveryone who finished Resident Evil 4 or 5 was treated to one of the best unlockable features ever put in a video game - the Mercenaries.

This action-focused arena mode tasked players with taking on a never-ending wave of enemies over the course of only a few minutes, in an attempt to rack up the highest score possible.

It was a fun way to let loose after the intense campaigns in Resident Evil 4 and 5, and was very well-received by fans.

Capcom saw how popular the minigame was and decided to make a title based solely around this mode, which brings us to Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. It's exclusive to Nintendo's new 3DS, and considering the arcade style of the Mercenaries, it actually makes a lot of sense to bring it to a portable system, where games can be completed in tiny chunks.

The gameplay itself is almost identical to what appeared on the console versions. Gamers choose a character and level set within the Resident Evil universe, and simply go to town taking out as many enemies as possible. Time and combo bonuses are strewn throughout the levels, allowing players to extend the amount of time they have to rack up more points.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Of course, this spits in the face of the "survival horror" roots the franchise made popular over a decade ago, but if anyone misses out on the fun that the Mercenaries provides, it's their loss.

When the Mercenaries 3D is firing on all cylinders, it's white knuckle action at its best. As players take out more and more of the easier enemies, larger bosses appear. Several from Resident Evil 5 are on-hand to scare the hell out of gamers, including the chainsaw-wielding freak, the massive executioner and many more. Some levels even feature larger bosses, like the massive bat-like creature from Resident Evil 5.

Although this game revolves around all-out action, there is a level of strategy involved. The best way to earn points is to rack up combos, which increase by killing several enemies in a row before the combo timer runs out. You'll have to know where the best spots are to constantly be able to take out several baddies, while keeping yourself from being overrun or caught in a corner.

Of course, there's another great way to get some huge scores, and that's by bringing a friend along. The Mercenaries 3D has co-op play - either locally or online - and while there isn't as much tension involved when you have someone covering your back, it's still a lot of fun teaming up with another player and getting massive point totals.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D The multiplayer setup is decent, but not perfect. There are two glaring problems, the first of which being that one cartridge can't be shared wirelessly between two local players. In terms of online, while the game itself is smooth, two players can't stick together after a match ends; each person gets booted back out to the menu screen when a level is completed. That's compounded by the fact that there's no communication system online, which would have been a huge help in a co-op game like this.

A big issue keeping the Mercenaries 3D from being truly great is that the extras and unlockables really aren't that great. Fan service is a huge part of any Resident Evil game, and though fan favourites such as Hunk and Wesker make an appearance in the game, Leon Kennedy is left out completely - a travesty as far as this reviewer is concerned.

The same goes for the levels - while the ones that appear in the game are well-done, it would have been truly awesome to have some unlockable areas from earlier games in the series, such as the famous mansion or the streets of Raccoon City.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D There are awards - similar to Xbox achievements or Playstation trophies - that can be unlocked, but again, this is something only true completionists will want to stick with.

The Mercenaries 3D can be a lot of fun, but after several hours of playing, it feels like this game is best left to those who find satisfaction in topping their high score. For those who simply want to finish the game's few levels, it's over in a few short hours and doesn't offer much after that.


Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
Format: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Capcom
Developer: Capcom
ESRB Rating: M for Mature 17+
Official Site:

Rating: 6 / 10

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