With the series barely clinging onto to its survival horror roots, the expectations for Resident Evil: Revelations to put the franchise back on form are at an all time high.
But Capcom is proving once more that you can have your cake and scoff it down too by releasing Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D – a portable version of a popular but unlockable bonus mode featured in Resident Evil 4 & 5.
Simply put, The Mercenaries 3D is ‘The Expendables" of the Resident Evil franchise. Fan favourites pottering around swaying their signature poses and lines of dialogue to a gun-toting massacre in which brawns are served over brains, literally.
Players are thrust into familiar settings to fend for themselves whilst racking up a high score by killing as many enemies in the time allocated. Additional weapons, health items and time extenders are scattered across each map if you can take yourself away from slaughter long enough.
We got a chance to take The Mercenaries 3D for a spin last week during Nintendo’s 3DS event where Resident Evil could be found hiding aboard a dimly lit parked bus.
The most striking part was just how good The Mercenaries 3D looks running on Nintendo’s handheld. Even with the 3D effect turned on or off, there’s no denying that few handheld games look quite this close to their console counterparts – in no part a testament to Capcom’s MT Framework.
Playable arenas for us to lay waste to hordes of villagers included the infamous introduction scene from Resident Evil 4 and the public assembly as seen in Resident Evil 5. We’re told more locations including scenarios from Resident Evil 3 will also be included although none of these have been detailed at this time.
Playable cuts of Resident Evil’s extensive cast include both Chris and Clair Redfield (making her Mercenaries debut) as well as Hunk and Jack Krauser. More characters are to be revealed, unlocked and hinted to be available post-launch.
Hero or villain, the Majini and Ganados are out for your blood and the clunky 3DS control set-up will make their job all the more easier.
The Circle Pad does a decent job of manoeuvring your character around and the on-screen inventory that allows weapons and other items can be instantly swapped out by tapping the desired object is a welcome gesture.
However it’s the button layout that had us fumbling. A rather bizarre preset has us adjusting rather than instinctively using the controls we’d been accustomed to before. We just hope Capcom allows us to create and customise our own button layouts when the game launches.
Co-op, multiplayer and mission modes are promising to round off this package aren’t playable yet leading us to speculate The Mercenaries 3D will not make the system’s illusive launch period.
It’s a bold move to develop two Resident Evil titles especially when one in particular looks so encourages and the other carries the stigma of being a fleshed out unlockable mode.
Both pegged for a late 2011 launch, it looks like The Mercenaries 3D has a lot of work to do before it can share an audience with the hotly-tipped Revelations.
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