by Ryan D Lowe
previewed on 3DS
A mini-game... game?
Packed alongside Resident Evil 5 was a little mini-game known as Resident Evil Mercenaries. It was designed as a fun diversion and something extra once the main story mode was complete. Fast forward a few years and we have a stand-alone game based on the popularity of the mini-game. In the game, you play as one of eight playable characters from the Resident Evil franchise, and have to mow down wave after wave of infected bodies to rack up the points.
The characters that have been confirmed thus far are: Chris Redfield, Jack Krauser, Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker, Hunk, and Claire. The final two of the roster haven’t been disclosed but I've got my fingers crossed for Steve. Sure, he’s a little punk but I could see him bringing something new to the table with his agile performance in Code Veronica. I’m also crossing my fingers for Nemesis.
The game contains non-stop action and does away with the puzzle elements of the core franchise. The more creative or strategic the kill, the more points you are awarded, as you race against a time limit set-up based on the difficulty of the task at hand. For the action purist, you can rage in guns blazing destroying anything that moves and more than likely score very well. For the strategists out there, employ a little cunning and get close enough to pull off some slick melee attacks to gain bonuses. This type of free tactical approach should extend the replay value as well.
Like most of the 3DS’ upcoming roster, Mercenaries allows for local or online co-op play with a friend. Strategic choices are available here as well, as you decide whether you split in your own direction hoping to sky-rocket the body count, or stay together and systematically take out the infected one by one, utilizing the ultra-powerful double team move.
Upgrading your weapons is done through the skill system, and will allow the player to unlock and upgrade a larger arsenal as they progress in the game. Mercenaries finally unleashes the chain on characters allowing them to run while shooting. Yes, you heard me correctly: no longer will the character lock their feet in cement while taking aim (first person this time around). This setup is a little strange and took a bit of getting used to, but once you get over the small learning curve you’ll be blasting in no time. You aim with the R button and then, once your target is in your sights, hold the L button and the reticule will lock into place while the Circle Pad allows your character mobility.
With the use of the touch screen you no longer have to pause the game and interrupt the intensity just to use a much-needed herb. With just a tap of the screen the character can equip, use, and examine objects. Or if you would rather just hit a button to use an herb that option is available as well.
It is already apparent that Mercenaries will be a looker. I can’t describe it how beautiful this game is running at 60 frames a second. The 3D effect is extremely subtle and works incredibly well for this type of presentation. The action is set on various re-mastered environments from previous Resident Evil titles. Advanced shaders make every surface appear coarse and realistic. This will also be the first handheld game to utilize Anti-Aliasing (a process where jagged edges are removed from the image) although the extra rendering will only take full effect when the 3D is turned off. I’ll be the first to go on record and state this game looks like a console game shrunk down to fit in your pocket, without sacrificing a bit of graphical prowess.
Also on par with the rest of the gorgeous presentation is the music. In a decision that is sure to please the fans, Mercenaries carries classic tracks from various games in the franchise. These are all re-mastered and sound fantastic.
With the release of Mercenaries just over the horizon, and the newly announced core sequel, gamers have a lot to be excited about as we head into the fifteenth anniversary of the world’s most beloved survival-horror series.