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Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D Review

Absorbing, frenetic survival horror with all the fat trimmed off

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D review As a series so intrinsically linked to experiments gone wrong, it's good to see that this re-working of Resident Evil 4's formula has turned out to be such a success.

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Mercenaries takes place over a small number of maps taken from Resident Evil 4 and 5, without the merest sniff of a cutscene in there to string it all together.

The numbered stages focus on that all-important points total, which is jotted up from the number (and type) of enemies you dispose of, how quickly you manage to do it, and how many combo kills you can string together.

Early tutorial stages explain the simpler stuff as well as the key differences between this game and the source material, and there are more here than you might be expecting.

Streamlined Survival

A stab at the bottom screen lets you switch weapons, Health replenishment is now a button press away and, as with reloading your weapon, this can be done on the move, albeit at a slower pace than normal.

These alterations contribute to a much faster and more frenzied style of play. Drawing your gun is the same - hold a button to draw your weapon, aim and fire - but clamp your finger over the L button and you're able to slowly move in any direction with the Circle Pad while firing.

This addition seems designed to encourage you to move in for melee attacks as time bonuses awarded for close-quarter kills are vital. A shot to the leg with one of the weaker weapons will allow you to walk up to them and deal a more physical brand of justice, and reaping time bonuses this way soon becomes routine.

That some of these moves are also unintentionally hilarious makes them even better. Brutes like HUNK and Krauser tend to whip out a big knife and shove it right into a downed ne'er-do-well's gullet, but feeble Rebecca produces a dainty little can of pepper spray. And Barry's own brand of justice is a slapstick headbutt, brilliantly named the 'Barry sandwich'.

Characters aren't the only unlockables. There are 30 different player upgrades to unearth, including weapon upgrades, health or stamina help, and melee or score boosters.

The biggest and best new feature is co-op. The same option in Resi 5 was ruined by a clunky weapon and item exchange system, but in Mercenaries it has been executed with the absolute minimum fuss.

Health supplements can be shared between partners just by standing next to each other, and playing co-op alongside a chum locally ensures that gunning down waves of shambling former homo sapiens has never been more satisfying.

With two of you united against the odds, there's a heightened sense of drama. Picking off nasties as they rush up on your partner's blindside makes every game feel like its own self-contained action flick.

Mercenaries presents a big challenge if you're the type to unlock everything a game has to offer, but where it disappoints is in the variety and number of stages.

There are effectively only eight different maps, although most have 'night' variants which are cosmetically different. Of course, as you work up through the rankings, the type and number of enemies change within each stage, but you're still effectively playing through recycled content over and over.

Real Horrorshow

While it lasts, Mercenaries is the best pure action game on the 3DS, and the in-game visuals and sound are among the best we've seen on the console.

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13 comments so far...
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  1. GuitarHero Thursday 30th Jun 2011 at 16:56

    It's looking good, some epic online matches will be coming soon!

  2. dm_1782 Thursday 30th Jun 2011 at 18:01

    Loving it so far :D

  3. PuAl Thursday 30th Jun 2011 at 19:02

    Perhaps we should organise a doubles league on the ONM forums?

  4. remagpie93 Thursday 30th Jun 2011 at 19:43

    ONM has failed to mention the 1-save file, no restart aspect to this game :(

  5. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 30th Jun 2011 at 21:04

    Great review,one of the positive reviews I've seen.
    Hopefully I will be able to get it.

  6. peteflea Thursday 30th Jun 2011 at 21:15

    Just checked out the IGN review , they gave this game a 6.5 and said it was riddled with bugs, had horrible framerate issues and really bare and clunky menus.

    I'm still gonna buy it , but I really hope the game is closer to your review and not the one IGN released.

  7. ChrisONM Friday 1st Jul 2011 at 09:32

    Just checked out the IGN review , they gave this game a 6.5 and said it was riddled with bugs, had horrible framerate issues and really bare and clunky menus.

    I'm still gonna buy it , but I really hope the game is closer to your review and not the one IGN released.

    We'll have a video up later showing one of the levels in action, you can judge the framerate for yourself :)

  8. triforce-manc Friday 1st Jul 2011 at 12:37

    I got the game this morning and I have to say it is really good, I think ONM got the review spot on, I don't take much notice of IGN anymore, I don't seem to have the same taste as them. What I would say if you love the mercenaries mode from 4 or 5 this is a no brainer, and it really suits a handheld well. Only down side is that the framerate on enemies far away is quite bad (unless you use a sniper on them, then its normal). Revelations demo is really short, but its enough to make me really look forward to it, I felt more scared abouts whats round the corner in those 4 minutes than I did in the whole of Resi5

  9. Akira Tenshi Friday 1st Jul 2011 at 20:35

    Do not agree with this review. This game is a terrible ugly rush job. The graphics are ugly, the sound is extremely low quality, the frame rate is awful, the AI is stupid,there isn't much content. This is ONM though, the most biased magazine around who are far to eager to throw high scores at anything exclusive to a Nintendo platform. Half of you lost praising this game have not even played it, you probably don't even own a 3DS. I do and have been playing this game all day. I gave it a fair chance, now I'm sending it back.

  10. Pappi Saturday 2nd Jul 2011 at 11:26

    I's like this game but I don't want to pay 30-something pounds for it. All of the 3DS games are now 20 quid in GAME

  11. mafu1989 Saturday 2nd Jul 2011 at 21:29

    Seriously loving this game. After the 2nd mission set I found myself completely absorbed. Sure it has the odd laggy moment with enemies in the distance, and I'm yet to see any bugs. It's fun, tease at moments (especially when you hear that chainsaw revs behind you) but the best bit of this game is the co op fun online. Brilliant change from online DOA and Street Fighter. Cannot get enough of this game.

  12. jonnyjazz Tuesday 5th Jul 2011 at 15:38

    My copy arrived to today (4 days later than release even though I preordered). But I've gotta say it was well worth the wait, I played the resi 4 mode on wii and the resi 5 mode on ps3 and this just leapfrogged both, the controls are great, I think for a game so close to release capcom have really squeezed some really great graphics out of it and the co-op mode seems to have run fairly smoothly so far. If SFIV got a gold award on 3DS then I think this goes a step further, loving it!

  13. RTY1998 Thursday 21st Jul 2011 at 14:57

    I love The Mercenaries and it's worthy of 85% and having played all 3DS games I'm pretty certain it's up there with the best. However it has got it's flaws, I don't care about the frame rate and graphics as I know Revalations will fix this as the demo has proved. The only problem left is you have to sit through hours of lag to get online even on the best of severs.

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