3Do or 3Don’t?
©2011 Nicholas Laborde
The Nintendo 3DS is a wonderful piece of technology, and the first slew of ‘real’ games for the portable are finally starting to arrive.
A few weeks ago, we got The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, a system seller of sorts to much of the fanbase.
Finally, we get our first taste of delicious zombie blood with Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D in love-or-hate glasses-free 3D.
The question is: is it 3Do or 3Don’t?
For those who aren’t familiar, The Mercenaries is a time-based arcade mode where you have to kill as many zombies as you can in a certain time period, accruing a certain amount of points to pass with a letter grade based on the point value.
In the many levels you traverse, you’ll find time bonuses to continue your mission, ammo upgrades, environmental hazards and many other things. Enemies, as per the typical Resident Evil style, drop ammunition (among other things) occasionally upon death, which is a convenient way to keep the fast pace of the game going consistently.
It’s a faithful port of the Resident Evil 5 version, with little tweaks and fixes that make it a more enjoyable experience (chief of which is that the mission will end if you eliminate an unstated number of enemies).
The game contains approximately thirty missions in which to fight the infected horde and eight different characters to choose from, each with different loadouts and fighting styles.
Twenty-two of these levels can be played cooperatively via local ad hoc or online wifi.
Online is silky smooth, with the only real inconvenience being that you are split up from your partner after each individual mission. To counter this, it’s a portable title, and is meant to adapt to the on-the-go mentality, so this isn’t something we can criticize.
That’s how you describe Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D in a nutshell. It’s a fantastic portable title, and will suit you just fine if you’re playing it in a brief interlude while on the train or bus, waiting at the doctor’s office, et cetera.
The zombies stay true to their Resident Evil 5 appearance, AI routines, weapons… and just about everything else. The AI proved to be competent, and more than once caught me off guard.
From a visual standpoint, it’s a superb-looking handheld title and shows off the work the 3DS can really do. The drawing of the title (to some) and what must be the primary feature, 3D, is unfortunately nothing to write home about.
As listed in OXCGN’s very own debate-review of the system, I noted that I can only adjust the slider to around 60-70% depth before it causes me nausea and/or discomfort. This holds true (and even moreso) in The Mercenaries, and I can’t properly enjoy the 3D aspect.
Based on the few minutes I could stand, it looks like a movie that was shot with standard camera and then upgraded to 3D. The depth isn’t really there, except for things like menus and extremely basic, stationary objects.
The biggest disappointment is the anti-aliasing that occurs when 3D is turned on. Jaggies are EVERYWHERE, and it leads to an altogether uglier experience; to put it simply, the game is better with the 3D functionality off, ultimately defeating the title’s purpose.
Sound stays intact from Resident Evil 5, being largely unchanged. That’s one of my only complaints about the title; all of it sounds terribly low quality. The system can produce generally pleasing visuals, but the sound is lacking? That’s a very big negative to me, but ultimately you adapt to it.
The Cheap Incentive
As if to know players would demand more Resident Evil by the lack of real new content in Mercenaries, the title contains an early demo of upcoming Resident Evil: Revelations.
The title stars Jill Valentine in a creepy, dark, seemingly deserted facility. You get a pistol with infinite ammo and less than five minutes of gameplay.
Basically, you run down a few hallways and kill three enemies. It’s nothing you’ll be talking to your buddies about, but just enough to peak our curiosity about the game itself.
I’m actually anticipating Revelations now, and I honestly wouldn’t have any interest in the title if this demo wasn’t included.
The content is justified by how it’s presented and broken up, giving you a perfect game for a quick dose of zombie slaughter.
If you’re looking for something substantial and with depth, or something to show off the 3D aspect, you’ll be disappointed by short missions and a lack of fresh content, and a poor implementation of 3D.