a worthwhile experience for any fan of the mini-game.
Mercs 3D is a mix of the mode from Resident Evil 4 & 5 yes. But it's in no way recycled. They're small variations of the maps. Possibly a little smaller, but that's due to the nature of it being on a hand held device. So if you've played 4 & 5 before, yes these maps should be familiar to you, (and familiarity is an asset) but don't go in expecting it to be completely recycled. There's enough change to them, in terms of where things are placed to offer a different kind of challenge.
I could also argue that mercs 3D is actually a lot easier to get into. Depending on the character/load-out you choose the game goes at a much faster pace. So with that, it was actually a lot easier to keep a combo going. Not until the EX stages you unlock after beating the game, will Veterans actually get a challenge out of it. A good chunk of the beginning missions are tutorial, although it's a bit of a drag, it's for someone who's never played the game before, and it does a good job of telling you what you need to know.
Characters are what is essentially the original cast from the first game. Chris, Jill, Barry, Wesker and Rebecca. Also added to the list are Claire, Krauser, and fan favorite Hunk. While the lack of Leon is a bit puzzling, leave out any one person and someone is bound to be upset. Though there's enough of a cast in this game, to make you satisfied. Each character gets one alternate costume, (which for some reason is also treated like a separate character) and should you choose to spend some of your 3DS's play coins you get the option to use anyone's weapons for any of the other characters.
Visually there are a lot of things about it that are just fine. The character models actually look pretty good, the maps look as muddy as they did on the console versions (The only thing that's missing is any kind of dynamic lighting). Enemies also look fine, if not a little jagged. The further they are away they actually drop in frames of animation. I have to imagine that's a choice to keep the game running at a good speed, Which is crucial for their co-op play. Sound design is a mix of good and 'okay', The music comes out crisp and clear the audio of the characters seems a little underplayed. But I've been going back and forth between all the characters and it really doesn't sound terrible. (with the exception of Hunk but he's wearing a mask so his voice is a little garbled) it could also be the setup of my 3DS, I haven't changed it off of 'surround' sound and I've been playing the game with headphones on for the most part, and it seems okay to me.
It's 3D will probably seem a little underwhelming. With Ocarina of Time 3D, that came actually manages to pop out at you impressively. Mercs 3D only goes as far as sinking into the screen and it doesn't feel like much, the 3D is minimal at best. I feel as though the games HUD breaks the illusion of 3D. A lot of the text that fly around on the screen stay on the same layer and feels a little distracting to whatever depth the 3D is trying to convey.
Co-op play would probably be a deal breaker for most! It's split up between local and online, and online you have the option to play with your friends only, or globally. So to need another person's friend code is not necessary. For the sake of this review, I sadly haven't tried the co-op yet. This is the kind of game where I'd only want to play with friends, and I'm currently the only one on my friends list that has it.
Now that we talked up this game some, what does it boil down to? It's essentially a score attack game. Kill as much enemies as possible in the allotted time. Rack up a huge combo, even grab a 'combo time' to multiply your score and reach the fabled SS rank. It a very arcade mentality, it's very addictive. Since I've bought it, I haven't been able to put it down. Now that it's on my portable device, I could always open it up for one more quick round whenever and where ever. As I said at the beginning, popular opinion is ruining how great of a game this can be. It may seem like an underwhelming experience from a distance, but the game is like pac-man for the most part. The maps are familiar yet variations but you care more about the score you're trying to get, using the maps (that you know) to your advantage. Fans of the mini-game are going to like this, and that's such a small crowd to begin with. Those of you who want the game to be cheaper but don't want to buy it used because of the obvious reason, chances are it'll go to the bargain bin pretty fast, so there will be your time to pick it up.
Their decision to make mercenaries a stand alone game could only have been done on a portable device. At the least it's a good enough place to test the waters of it being it's own franchise. If it was well received then their only option would be to improve the formula, maybe even see a better fuller console release. But I'd think for the most part (especially after this) it's doomed to just be a mini-game on Resident evil forever.
My own Personal rating for this game would be a 4, but for the mass amount of gamers I would think of it as a 3, so I'll split the difference at 3.5. Mercs 3D is what it is and you're either already a fan of it, or you aren't. But it's a worthy enough game to have on anyone's 3DS even at it's 40$ price point.