Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D
It's easy to appreciate what's at the Core of Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D. Despite the mercenaries mode essentially being a mini game, it always promoted significant replayability and, most importantly, fun. The Mercenaries 3D has expanded this mode to a fully fledged standalone title, it's just unfortunate that an overall lack of care and thought went into it, and it very glaringly shows.
Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D tasks you with scoring the highest score possible as you battle the infected in almost 30 different locations over eight maps. With the time limit briskly ticking down you hastily dash around each location killing the infected, grabbing hourglasses to increase you score multiplier, and smashing crystals to increase the time limit whilst avoiding death at every turn. It's frantic, action heavy Resident Evil styled survival at its best. The atmosphere is far more fearful than many of the recent Resident Evil titles and the sheer enjoyment of the mercenaries mode is hard to deny. Where it goes wrong is in the systems that maintain this otherwise fun experience.
Leaderboards; a fundamental part of the high scoring beating experience, has been completely omitted from Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D, and it's utterly baffling. Additionally poor sound effects and muffled voice work break immersion and leaves you questioning the overall quality. This crack in the armour draws other details into question, ones which might otherwise slip by. The medals dished out as rewards feel tacked on and superfluous, acting more like a taunt than encouragement to continue their collection. It's also surprising not to see Leon as a playable character in the rooster, especially with some locations being based on those from Resident Evil 4 as well as 5. The draw distance and framerate are disappointing as well, with the first resulting in enemies popping into existence as well as a whole host of visual glitches on any objects beyond a certain range, and the latter generally breaking immersion and the overall enjoyment. These could have been forgiven if the initial low quality wasn't so obvious, although there are plenty of legitimate issues which come to light regardless.
The AI is appalling. Often you'll find enemies queuing up for you to shoot at them, standing around ignoring the carnage or hovering over you with seeming intent to attack but failing to follow through. It severely reduces the challenge, and whilst the occasional boss encounter shakes things up slightly, they still pose little threat. This is ironically compounded by the improvement to movement. You can now strafe whilst shooting, as well as reload whilst running. It's fantastic for emphasising the arcade appeal of the mercenaries mode, although the strafing removes the ability to precision aim so its use is limited, and it makes an already fairly easy game even easier.
There also a lack of purpose to it all. With no narrative to string these encounter together it can't help but feel too similar to its previous iterations on console and PC. It does bring along the popular coop feature where you and a friend can partner up on local wireless or online, but the aforementioned lack of any leaderboards hinders you and your partner's continued play and frequent lag, online and off, damages what's left of the experience.
Your sole reason for grinding the medals and pushing through each level is to unlock the additional levels and the extra characters and costumes. And whilst having the majority of characters opened from ordinary progression, and a decent selection of them straight from the start is refreshing it also takes away part of the need to push through it. Additionally perks can be unlocked and levelled up to improve certain aspects of your character, from re-load times to slightly augmented health. They're subtle boosts to your characters but a great idea that compliments the arcade fun of the mercenaries mode.
There is a lot of potential in Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D. The actual concept and implementation of the mercenaries mode is great, but, as it stands, only as an addition to a more complex game. It simply didn't make the transition from mini-game to full game successfully; more attention was needed to bring it up to the high standards players expect. However, it can't be completely written off as a bad game, just a disappointing one overall but one that offers short lived fun.