Recycling: Not Always a Good Thing
The Resident Evil series has well over a dozen games that can be played on almost every platform available. Sometimes it seems as though Capcom will jump on any excuse to squeeze another game out of this veteran franchise. But are they really going to throw together a title that consists of nothing more than a minigame from previous games just so they can capitalize on the new Nintendo 3DS’ glasses-free 3D capabilities? You bet they are!
That is literally all Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is—the “mercenaries” minigame from Resident Evil 4 and 5. All you do is try to kill as many zombies as possible within a set time limit, or try to kill as many zombies as possible within a set time limit with a friend. The game doesn’t even have a story. Why is this worth the money, you ask? Well, it’s in 3D. Though if it’s like many of the other 3DS games seen so far, it’ll be easier to play with the 3D function turned off. You can also use the DS’ Wi-Fi capabilities to play with friends around the world, provided you can find a second person who bought it.
All joking aside, The Mercenaries 3D does introduce some interesting new gameplay elements to the franchise. For example, players can now switch between third person and first person at will. They can also move while firing instead of having to remain stationary, as is traditional in the Resident Evil series. So, basically, the new game will be just like any other shooter. Another fun new feature is the ability to fully customize the chosen character, giving him new skills and weapons as experience is earned through play. So basically, it will be just like any other shooter with RPG elements, except that you won’t have to worry about the online network being hacked into and destroyed by some massive jerks.
Capcom has confirmed the following playable characters: Chris Redfield, Albert Wesker, Hunk, Claire Redfield, Jack Krauser, and Jill Valentine. Rebecca Chambers has also been seen in a playable demo, which was recorded and put on YouTube, but she has not been confirmed. This unofficial gameplay video is not nearly as exciting as the debut trailer, which looks to have utilized the advanced technology of WordArt to announce the game’s single objective. However, I am impressed by the quality of the graphics, which look almost as good in the actual game as they do in the trailer.
Besides the visuals, it looks like a pretty dull experience. Run up to a monster, shoot it in the face. Run up to the next monster, face. As far as I can tell, the enemy AI isn’t anything special. Plus, in the absence of a story, I can’t imagine that the horror element of the game will be anything to speak of. Part of what makes Resident Evil great (or used to, anyway) was the creepy atmosphere, which seems to be lacking in this glorified minigame. Another thing that contributed to the atmosphere was the fact that you had to stop running and stare down the barrel of your gun into the enemy’s face in order to shoot it. Now you can run around spraying bullets like any idiot playing Left 4 Dead.
The minigame was a nice distraction in Resident Evil 4 and 5—just the thing to calm you down after a creepy scene or a frustrating boss fight with a guy in ugly sunglasses and stupid blonde hair. It was also a nice bonus challenge for hardcore fans, since the difficulty level on some of those mercenary missions were through the roof. This will be toned down in the 3D game, taking away anything that made it special.
Perhaps the only worthwhile feature to be found in The Mercenaries 3D is the demo for the 2012 3DS game, Resident Evil: Revelations. Revelations will actually have a story and promises to get back the franchise’s roots with more emphasis on exploration and puzzle-solving. It will be a true survival horror game instead of a shooter minigame trying to pass itself off as a full game.
In trying to justify the creation of The Mercenaries 3D, director Koushi Nakanishi cited the fact that not a lot of players got around to playing the minigame on Resident Evil 4 and 5, since you had to finish the game to unlock it. Seems to me that if most of the people who played those games didn’t finish them (or if they did, didn’t bother with the extra content), something needs to be improved on the actual main-series console games before you go throwing out improved versions of a minigame that no one played.
Maybe The Mercenaries 3D will actually be fun, and if you’re a die-hard Resident Evil fan you’ll probably buy the game no matter what I say, but this looks to me like another cheap money-maker for Capcom, and therefore isn’t worthy of serious consideration. Coming to the 3DS on June 28, 2011.