I’d be lying if I said that the footage I saw of the upcoming Resident Evil games wasn’t a huge contributing factor to me lashing out the R2.8k for my 3DS on launch day. Not only did they appear to have graphics almost as good as RE5, but they’d be in 3D! Awesome. The first of the promised games, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D arrived a while ago, and it’s been met with the kind of reception I expected – almost as if nobody expected it to be more of a teaser than a full game.
Yes, that’s true. In case you didn’t know, RE:M3D is an appetiser posing as a main course, something to keep us going until the release of Resident Evil: Revelations next year. Capcom has tried to pad out the rather basic gameplay by introducing more than enough challenges and adding in some hidden items and a leveling system to give players some inkling of a reason to play for more than half an hour. Basically what you do is pick a character and fight through a series of increasingly difficult challenges to kill as many enemies as possible within a time limit for the best score. Seriously, that’s all you do in this game. You can also bring another player in, either ad-hoc or online, to double-team the challenges, which is something I’d like to do myself if I actually knew someone else with a 3DS.
There are several RE heroes and villains to play as, including the big names like Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield and Albert Wesker, and some lesser characters like Hunk, Jack Krauser, Barry Burton and my personal favourite, the adorable Rebecca Chambers. Each character has a different default weapon loadout and a unique set of melee attacks, which might have a mild effect on how you tackle each challenge. There are four different control schemes on offer, three of which ape the style of Resident Evil 4, where both aiming and moving are assigned to the 3DS analogue nub. My personal favourite, though, is the fourth, FPS control scheme similar to the ones used in Splinter Cell on the 3DS or MGS: Peace Walker on the PSP, where the analogue nub controls moving and strafing, the four face buttons control the camera and the shoulder buttons are used for aiming and shooting.
Graphically, RE:M3D is an exciting indicator of what we can expect from the machine. Not only are the visuals on a level surprisingly close to RE5 on home machines, but they’re in 3D, man! There’s also a short, 5 minute teaser of RE: Revelations to play in which we control Jill Valentine as she wanders around a monster-ridden ship.
If you’re hard up for some 3DS software – which is understandable – or if you’re just a raving Resident Evil fan who cannot wait for Revelations, then this might do you. It plays well, but you have to make peace with the fact that it’s not a real game, just Capcom tossing us a bone.