Resident Evil has taken the plunge on the 3DS, but not in its traditional horror format. Mercenaries is a straightforward shooter, although naturally enough you’re still trying to survive the unwanted attentions of infected Majini (sort of zombie creatures), scythe-bearing cultists, and various clawing beasts that players of Resident Evil 4 and 5 will quickly recognise.
Indeed, the Mercenaries mode was first introduced as an unlockable bonus in RE4, which begs the question – can what was essentially a mini-game work as a full price title for Nintendo’s latest handheld? The answer is it remains surprisingly enjoyable, given its simplicity, yet we can’t help but feel the asking price is rather too much.
The Mercenaries 3D consists of 30 levels in which you must gun down a set quota of enemies in an allotted time limit. There’s a choice of famous Resident Evil characters to play, with unique weapons and customisable skills, but that’s your only element of variety. Otherwise, it’s just a level full of monsters you must rush round and dispatch as efficiently as possible.
And as such, the game is repetitive at its core. There really isn’t much variation at all from level to level, although the beasts populating the various monster mazes do get gradually more sophisticated, donning armour and firing ranged weapons. There’s also the occasional boss level where you face a giant critter, attempting to find the usual weaknesses.
Don’t purchase Mercenaries expecting anything more than a very basic third-person shooter, with a fairly smart control system (which switches into first-person to aim). Whether that’s worth the money, as we’ve said, is arguable. However, we did find ourselves enjoying the simple streamlined shooting, and attempting to best our scores in an effort to unlock more.
The visuals are worth a mention, too, as this is one of the better looking 3DS titles we’ve seen. Even if it does suffer from the problem that blights fast-paced action games on the console, as the handheld tends to get waved about, warping the 3D effect somewhat. Two player co-op multiplayer is also on the menu, local or online.
- Looks rather smart; besting your scores proves surprisingly compelling.
- Repetitive gameplay at heart; full price is asking a bit much.
This initial Resident Evil 3DS offering isn't really a full game, but more of an extended mini-game - yet it carries a full price tag. That's the biggest concern here, well that and the repetitive streak which runs through the levels. Even so, we found ourselves enjoying short blasting sessions with Mercenaries 3D, with its pretty sharp visuals and control scheme. It might be an idea to wait for that price to drop, though.