Resident Evil Mercenaries VS.
With Resident Evil Mercenaries headed to the 3DS very soon, Capcom also released Resident Evil Mercenaries Vs. for the Apple platforms this month. This version of Mercenaries has a multiplayer focus that's designed to connect the iPhone / iPod Touch base in order to play adversarial matches. The game allows up to 4 players to connect up and jump into a shoot match, either on teams or every man for himself. In the multiplayer maps, players will also find plenty of zombies and other crazies to attack for extra points.
Sadly, Capcom didn't build Resident Evil Mercenaries Vs. with the Apple users in mind. The gameplay seems more at home on the DS or the first Playstation. Characters don't have the ability to "run and gun". You are forced to run to a location, pull out your weapon, fire off some shots, holster the weapon, rinse, repeat. If you see an item that you want to pick up, you get the privilege of running over to it and pressing a button to snag it rather than it being automatically added to your inventory. But you can do a quick turnaround by double tapping down on the d-pad, helpful to see the zombies behind you.
Switching between weapons takes even longer as you have to access the inventory screen during the match to equip an item. This causes battles to be long, tedious affairs that are spent trying to avoid the A.I. zombies from eating your brains while you ponder over your next weapon choice. If you have ever played any of the other Resident Evil games on the App store, you will notice the same problem. The quick inventory system on the screen is somewhat helpful for faster load outs, but the limited screen space doesn't give you lots of options. I also liked the ability to reload my weapon during a shootout by shaking my iPhone and tweaking the gun sight sensitivity will give you a slight edge on players that haven't messed with that option in the menu.
There are only 3 characters to choose from in the game; Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker and Chris Redfield. That means that there will be a dupe in a 4 player match, very confusing if you are playing teams. There are also 3 levels to choose from in the game, but more have been promised in a downloadable update. You have to enter a 4 digit pin to get access to the servers each time you want to play multiplayer. During matches, I had quite a bit of lag in about 50% of the rounds. It was manageable, but certainly annoying. You also get kicked out of a match if you get any form of notification from other apps. If you lack players, you can go up against bots for a while or hop into the coin shooting mode to snag a spot on the leaderboard.
I'm not sure if anyone at Capcom has heard the iPhone 4 that was released last year. The dated visuals are filled with low resolution textures and boring Quake-esqe colors. This game looks like it was designed to be played on the iPhone 3G in the early days of the app store. The on-screen indicators for weapon changes and direction controls are clear enough, but the character models are stuck in the past with choppy animations and blocky design. This game desperately needs a Retina screen upgrade. The only plus is that the game runs smoothly due to the dated visuals.
This is classic Resident Evil complete with moaning zombies and the sound of gunfire. It's not, however, very scary, even with a quality set of headphones. The music, however, is fairly annoying after a few matches.
Control issues plague Resident Evil Mercenaries Vs. and drag this Capcom title down into the murky depths of app store purgatory. The clunky, slowing moving characters that don't understand how to move and shoot at the same time are next to worthless, even with the slight tweaks I made. This game seems to have been ported right from the early Resident Evil titles on the original Playstation, but in dated visuals and general design. This awkward iPhone app definitely isn't worth the current sales price of $2.99 and it probably the most boring multiplayer shooter that's ever been released on the App Store. Frankly, I'm curious how high they plan to price this terrible game and chip away at the wallets of gullible Resident Evil fanatics.