Tuesday, 19 July 2011

First Impressions: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

If you've been reading this blog regularly, you'll probably be aware that I've been highly anticipating Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D since it was first revealed last year. The game has received mixed praise since it was released at the start of this month, which slightly altered whether I thought I should buy the game or not. Regardless, I did, and I can honestly say it was completely worth it. Capcom's latest 3DS title has without a doubt exceeded my dumbed-down expectations, delivering a brilliantly addictive experience that will undeniably have me playing for ages and ages. Of course, some IGNorant reviewers (see what I did there?) seem to think that this game lacks content, which is in some ways true. However, considering how addictive the game is and potentially how many hours you can suck out of it, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is almost definitely worth the price tag it's been given, as long as you liked the Mercenaries modes from Resident Evils 4 and 5.

Beating up boss enemies is much easier in online co-op, another brilliant addition to The Mercenaries 3D.
The first thing you notice about The Mercenaries 3D is just how beautiful it looks. It's a very impressive feat that Capcom has manages to pull off, and their other upcoming Resident Evil title somehow manages to look even better. Unfortunately, some minor issues have been brought up to keep the visuals as crisp as they are, such as a reduced frame-rate for enemies in the background and some slightly low quality voices and gun sounds. While some of the sounds are quite poor however, this is made up by a full quality and very awesome soundtrack, consisting of re-hashed songs from past Resident Evil titles. There's even a bit of techno in there! Through the 3DS's speakers, The Mercenaries 3D's sounds and music are nowhere near as impressive as they are through earphones, so I recommend using that setup when playing this game. Anyway, back to the visuals. Character models are immensely detailed, more so than Resident Evil 4 in fact, and animations are impressive too. What with Mercenaries being so action-packed and fast paced, it's hardly surprising that they had to make a few sacrifices with the visuals. So far, this is without a doubt the best looking game on the system.

Also impressive about Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is how brilliant the use of 3D is. Initially, I thought that this game wouldn't make that good a use of the 3DS's stereoscopic visual effects, but it turns out I was very wrong in thinking that. The 3D in this game is by far some of the best I've seen on the system, making some excellent use of depth. What's more, the game's graphics and the frame-rate aren't affected in any way, shape or form with the 3D switched on. Quite ridiculous, as the visually less impressive Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition took a real dent with the effects on. Nothing well and truly jumps out at you in The Mercenaries, but the depth is truly awesome. Speaking of stuff jumping out at you, the game also includes a demo of the upcoming Resident Evil: Revelations, which is packed full of genuinely tense and rather frightening moments, especially with the 3D on. Of course, I won't spoil any of this 'Pilot Version' as it may take away the sheer horror when you play it yourself, preferably in a dark and claustrophobic room. Or not.

Jack Krauser returns, along with his signature knife and bow. If you're not too bothered about that, you can always change his weapons with another character's.
I mentioned the word '3D' a lot in the previous paragraph, but that's obviously not the point of Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D despite the distinctive '3D' shoved into the title of the game. I still stick by my point that the 3D well and truly isn't what makes the 3DS and its software great, and I could definitely live without it. In the end it's always the gameplay that matters in a game, and in The Mercenaries 3D that aspect is immensely addictive and very satisfying indeed. Choosing from a selection of eight Resident Evil greats, including the likes of Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Jack Krauser, HUNK, and let's not forget the legendary bearded man Barry Burton, you fight your way through massive waves of enemies infected by the Plaga virus (see my Resident Evil 4 review) and mutated beasts that can withstand explosives and crush your selected character in an instant. There's a wide variety of stages on offer, including extensive tutorials for those who aren't familiar with the game's rather complex controls. Speaking of which, this title happens to make so many improvements on past Resident Evil titles that used the newer engine, with the ability to strafe while aiming being a particularly great addition. Using the Circle Pad to move around also feels very fluid and satisfying, as is reloading while running away from chainsaw-wielding maniacs. With these new features, getting the game over screen now never comes down to the game being unfair, and 100% your fault for not doing something right. As weird as it sounds, this makes The Mercenaries 3D much more accessible and easier to play, despite slightly hard to understand controls at first.

The original Resident Evil's Barry Burton is an excellent character in The Mercenaries. His melee attacks have weird names though. Barry Sandwich anyone?
When you finish the tutorials and get into the bulk of the game, Resident Evil: The mercenaries 3D well and truly gets started, and it's insanely addictive. If you were a fan of the mode from Resident Evils 4 and 5, I well and truly couldn't recommend this game enough. Expect the review up very soon, as well as a preview of Resident Evil: Revelations. Until then, I'm out!


G&MES Team Member said...

Sounds good, noodle. I would get it, if I had a 3DS that is. Keep up the good work.


Kezz said...

Very interesting first impressions. I wouldn't really expect the 3D to be as good as you say it is. The game itself does sound really great despite what some reviewers have said about it. I can't wait to play it myself and look forward to reading your review of it.
Keep up the awesome work on this blog, Noodle. (:

Anonymous said...

Not sure I'd agree with your comments about the game's visuals. It's impressive, sure, but texture for texture, character model for character model it isn't a patch on Resi 4.

Textures are blurrier, character models (particularly enemies) are low-poly, and distant enemies lack frames of animation. The game also has a dithered look to it (like many PSP games), as if Capcom's using the smallest framebuffer available to improve performance.

Add to how 3DS is only rendering the game at 400 x 240 (or 400 x 240 x 2 for 3D mode), if it were rendering it at 480p Wii resolution it'd look even worse.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say the GC/Wii versions of Resi 4. It's clearly looking much better than the PS2 version of Resi 4 at points, particularly in terms of lighting. My bad!