And it’s got NOTHING to do with DRM, the undeleteable save data system or the second-hand market.
No. I am a massive fan of the Resident Evil franchise. I am a fan of survival horror games in general – and that I’m often quite jumpy in person that may seem strange. I am afraid of big loud noises in public places, I freak out when there are too many people around me and have to run to the toilets and do breathing exercises to calm down and I generally am far from the most pushy person out there – logic and reason are my thing. So it’s a bit of a surprise to everyone that I do like to be scared – in a controlled environment, admittedly, and safe and sound in my own home.
So you’d assume The Mercenaries 3D would be a must-buy, especially to taste the Revelations demo. But instead, I respectfully decided at the last minute to cancel my pre-order. And it really has nothing to do with what everyone else has gotten so worked up over.
No, my criticism of it is simply this – for all the tech at their disposal, they simply didn’t go far enough.
Let’s look at it this way – The Mercenaries was always a great bonus mode because it was free, it was there and it honed and polished our skills, wits and reflexes for taking on the harder modes of the main campaign. Couple that with the extras you could unlock and it was a great, cheap and welcome extra mode that we were all very happy to see. Hell, it even made Resident Evil 5 palatable.
So when you take that bonus mode out and create a stand-alone version of it, you have to advance greatly on the formula. And this is where I feel The Mercenaries 3D fails as a game – it’s just the RE4 and RE5 maps with a few characters. And that annoys me so much it causes a physically unpleasant sensation in my spine.
No, The Mercenaries 3D should have had more. It should have had maps from the whole series – and it’s been around for 15 years, so let’s see some of it! Lisa Trevor’s Shack and the surrounding woodlands from REmake, fighting zombies and Crimsonheads. From Resi 2, the Police Department – complete with hoards of lickers crawling around. From Resident Evil 3, the old classic Mercenaries route. Could have been a time-trial race to mix up the content, or failing that the Clock Tower section for a more open-ended experience. From Code: Veronica, The Ashford Mansion. Absolutely. Hell, let’s go even further than that – Outbreak had some killer map ideas, the zoo and the zombie animals and the mysterious abandoned mental hospital, as well as the iconic initial scenario from the first Outbreak. Then we could have seen at least some respectful homage to the sadly forgotten Resident Evil Gaiden, and a little ship area. Then you have the Survivor series, which although admittedly were questionable in quality could have thrown up a map or two (odd the spin-offs all seemed to involve large boats…). And then you have RE4, RE5 maps and Resident Evil Zero – the train rushing to an inevitable crash would have been awesome! And if Capcom really wanted to push the boat out (pardon the pun) they had that wonderful little spinoff series called Dino Crisis to plunder for maps too! Not to mention their old old OLD attempt at doing survival horror – Sweet Home on the NES. Admittedly, it’d have been a bit Resi 1 in style but it would have been a nice homage to their past!
And then you come to characters. The series has admittedly some questionably dodgy characters but that’s why we love them! Billy Coen from RE0. Robert Kendo – the gunshop owner from RE2. Hell, he made guns for a living – he surely would have been an awesome shot. On that note, the abandoned RE1.5 had Elza Walker – why not? She still remains a fan favourite despite never appearing in a single game! Amazing really. Then Carlos from RE3 – we loved to hate Carlos. But he was a great character. Same with Mikhail and Nicholai – both awesome, and would have been a true homage to where the mode began back in RE3. Then you have Annette Birkin – Sherry’s mom, and why not? From the Outbreak games, the guys were forgettable but to offset the manly contribution from RE3, you could have had the fan favourites Alyssa, Yoko and Cindy in there. We really did like the girls in the Outbreak games. No idea why. Ahem. Moving on, Alfred Ashford. Ahh, we couldn’t live without you and your cross dressing ways. And let’s also see Rodrigo as well – the guy Claire helps when he releases her from her cell. The survivor games had Ark and Bruce – both certainly would have been nice…
And then, for characters we would all have loved to have seen, we cannot end without worshiping at the feet of the mighty Merchant from RE4. Oh mighty merchant with your cheesy lines and your trenchcoat which makes you look like a renegade flasher. We are not worthy! You must be added someday to the series proper. YOU MUST! I WILL BUY! I WILL BUY A HUNDRED TIMES!
But you see where I am going with this I hope. The Mercenaries 3D should have been first and foremost, fanservice. It has no story to tie into, no logical timeline or sound conclusion. So it should have been a celebration from the last 15-16 years of a series we have all come to appreciate if not love – a really eclectic mix, with brash bonus costumes and silly easter eggs and some really daft finishers for the characters. That this isn’t a celebration makes me wonder… do Capcom really not know what promise and potential The Mercenaries has as a stand-alone game? Do they REALLY not get it?
It’s a game that simply is afraid to step outside the lines it has already drawn for itself and embrace its whole heritage – be it serious, silly or downright bizarre. It’s a game that seems content to just deliver the same thing we’ve already had when we could have had something new, fresh and exciting. It’s a game which has some great characters – but really, the franchise has dozens of them. And they all deserve a shout as well, let alone the Dino Crisis variant which could have been utterly awesome as well.
And that is why I cannot support The Mercenaries 3D. Because it’s a fraction of the game it could – and SHOULD – actually be. There’s supposed to be an 8GB cart size for the 3DS – that’s a crapload of room surely? I’d have been happy to have paid the extra tenner if they could only have gone further with the idea. If only they could have embraced the potential of this concept – if only.
Instead, we have a game that has, for many months, looked decidedly like Capcom couldn’t be arsed. They made some new character models for Claire, Rebecca and Barry. They tweaked some stuff for the 3D (Which still sucks). They added some weapon customisation. But that is about all they did. It’s still largely the RE4 and RE5 maps bundled together and they’re charging us £30 for the pleasure.
Under most circumstances, I would gladly pay £30 for a new Resi game. But this isn’t a new Resi game – and it simply isn’t the game we all desperately wanted it to be.
Sorry Capcom. No sale. Take what you have there, put it back into development and put in even a third of what I was ranting on about previously and it’ll be worth £40 easily.
Until then, I’ll wait for Revelations thanks. Demo isn’t tempting at all. I want to be spoiler-free for its release.
Here’s hoping it won’t be spoilered by Capcom themselves like they did with Resident Evil 5…