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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

I bought Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D last Sunday.... it was on sale at Future Shop for $29.99, and of course there had to be some SNAFU of some sort, right? It just wouldn't be Future Shop if it was easy. I go in there early, 'cause I had to go out to lunch-- so I didn't have a lot of time-- and see 1 copy on the shelf, no label, grab it & just when I'm about to hand over my payment the cashier says it's like $44-something (with tax) .... wait, what?? I told them I thought it was on sale for $29.99, I saw it online somewhere but I couldn't remember where.... was I mistaken? Was it some other store? Best Buy? Toys 'R Us? Walmart?? The Future Shop people had no clue (shocking, I know) so I canceled my purchase.

Later I get back home & check the Future Shop website. If you see the listing, the Future Shop site only calls it "Resident Evil" but judging by the box art it's clearly Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. And there are no other Resident Evil games for the 3DS right now. So I go BACK to that damn Future Shop, tell the guy I saw earlier that day about the site listing, he checks it, then he checks the item number--they match-- then, he had to do some sort of "online pricematch" to give it to me for the $29.99 sale price. Sheesh.

Anyway, I've been playing it like crazy the past couple days. In some ways it's sorta like Steel Diver & much of the 3DS launch titles: polished, but light on content. It looks REALLY GOOD. The sound is also great, the production values in general are really impressive. This game shows the power of the 3DS, this is slightly better than what I've seen on the PSP. Aside from a few minor graphical hiccups, it looks really close to Resident Evil 5 on the consoles. It's gorgeous.

Aside from the non-erasable save data debacle the game set off, a lot of reviews complain about the light content & how this is a minigame mode from past Resident Evil games. There are 5 levels each with 3-5 maps to play... but a lot of the maps are reused in different levels. And the game makes use of one of my much-hated gameplay mechanics: time limits. But like one of my fave PSP games, Chili Con Carnage, I think the time limits here are important to this style of arcadey gameplay. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D reminds me a lot of Chili Con Carnage: they are both "kill as many enemies & rack up as many combos as possible within the time limit" games. But the limitations of these kinds of games is they have fairly shallow game content. Not hours & hours of exploration & something new around every corner. Still, the bottom line is, these games are fun. That's another thing a lot of the reviews also say... despite giving the game negative scores, they almost always say it's FUN.

And hell yeah is Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D fun. I am having a blast with it. It looks super pretty & sounds great. It's a very just load it up & have a few minutes of intense zombie-killing action type of game. Not much more than that.

But I keep coming back to it, even though you're playing for minutes at a time, I can sink a few hours into it.... unfortunately, this game is reminding me of one of the 3DS' biggest weaknesses: the battery life. I'm constantly running out of juice on this thing during marathon playing sessions... hell, I get about the same or less play time than with the PSP. Maybe a bit less.

Having a second screen for the item/weapon inventory is really helpful, and they streamlined it a lot more than what it was for Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition. So it's a much faster-paced game than that one, it takes the classic basic Resident Evil clunky control scheme and makes it faster than it's ever been before. For the most part it works well.

One of the surprising disappointments is the included demo of Resident Evil: Revelations. A lot of people are passing on this game in favour of that one. But honestly, after playing the demo..... I thought it looked terrible. The graphics were really bad, the interface with the huge Y button on the doors was bad & you have to hold down B & use the circle pad just to run?? I know this is just a demo so maybe the final game will look much more polished, but man, aside from a few really nice looking effects like light shining through a broken window, Resident Evil: Revelations looks AWFUL. Take a look at the trailer if you need a point of reference, I think the graphics look the same as that. Even though The Mercenaries takes a lot of its look from Resident Evil 5 (& RE4)

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D may not be worth the full $39.99 MSRP, but for $20.00 I'd say it's worth it. The $29.99 I paid for it is worth it depending on how desperate you are for a fast-paced arcadey shooter on the 3DS, which I was *very* desperate for.


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