Mercenary Ops: Resident Evil Reworked?
By: Vincent Haoson, OnRPG Journalist
I’d like to start off this review by saying that I am never a shooter fan outside of the PC. I’m one of those kinds of gamers where I never grew out of my comfort zone that FPS games should stay within the confines of the keyboard and mouse. I’ve rarely touched a shooter game on the iOS (ipad for me) platform so Mercenary Ops would be the first time that I’d invested (time) on one.
So, to start things off, Mercenary Ops is a shooter that puts you in the shoes of a mercenary named Leo. Your mission, should you choose to accept it (as if you have a choice really) is to contain a biological crisis within the confines of a small European town. Armed with only your guns, rugged good looks and your wit, you are tasked to eliminate the monsters that you face along the way.
The monsters Leo gets to tangle with are varied mutated monstrosities that are reminiscent of the awfully overused zombies. But this time around (thankfully) they seem to be just simple monsters since you don’t have to necessarily blow their brains out to stop them in their tracks.
Aside from the humanoid monsters that seem to be taken from Sega’s House of the Dead franchise, you are going to face mutated dogs – female students (that are dressed in Japanese school attire– yes, I’m serious) and even other mercs that look mutated themselves.
Aside from the “grunts”, Leo has to face larger sized monsters as bosses. These type of enemy requires you to be precise with your shots and/or spend a lot of bullets on them.
Guns & Equipment
Leo’s armory is mainly composed of the run-of-the-mill set of guns that is segregated between pistols, assault rifles and shotguns. You can purchase them through the in-game currency (coins) and you can use your real money to purchase said coins.
Equipment on the other hand have the same economy system but are only segregated into three types. Med kits, Ammo boxes and Bullet Time. I don’t necessarily have to elaborate any more on what these things do since there’s nothing special that these items provide aside from what the rather humorous descriptions say.
Game Modes & Play
The game has two modes of play, namely, the Story and the Survival mode. The story mode (as the name suggests) lets you run through the game within the perspective of Leo. Story mode consists of intense stage battles that are layered with FMVs (surprisingly) at certain key points of the playthrough. Survival mode on the other hand is just an unlimited run of monster killing till you either tap out or die.
Meanwhile, gameplay is more of a Rail Shooter where you are just playing through a fixed path while you have the option to move around your POV which depends on your preferred play style. The game has three play style difficulties (easy, normal hard) to cater to your level of skill.
My initial hours with Mercenary Ops has left me the feeling of playing through a reworked Resident Evil: Gun Survivor. While the game is still a rails shooter in its core, I was unable to ignore the similarities of Mercernary Ops with Gun Survivor or Resident Evil in general. You have the main character who seems to be a mix of Leon S. Kennedy (seems wrong to not include the middle initial of his name) and Chris Redfield. While the backstory of Leo is totally different from the aforementioned mainstays in RE games, Leo has enough “features” that you can mistake for copies of Leon and Chris if you’re not that familiar with them.
With that set aside, Mercernary Ops is one brutal game. The game punishes you tremendously for missed shots, often resulting in you hitting the red zone just after a few minutes into a stage. The kicker however is that, for a game that requires you to be accurate with your shots, the game has a lot of accuracy issues. In fact, I’ve had the worst time playing through it with the “easy” controls since I can’t seem to hit with targets that are farthest from my line of sight. Setting it to normal doesn’t really change much, except that at least you can move your sight around and target those stars that give you extra points.
Boss battles are a nightmare to play through since you have to accurately shoot a certain part of their body. With the game’s targeting system as it is, I found myself repeatedly repeating stages because I keep on dying either on the earlier parts of the stage or at boss battles. I mean sure, I like the challenge in my shooters once in awhile but this is ridiculous.
It should be taken note that while the game is F2P, you’d be burning through your medpacks, ammo boxes and even bullet time since you’d need to constantly regenerating your life, replenishing bullets and even slowing down time just to barely finish a stage. The fact that you can’t get your coins after you finish a stage just increases the ante of the game’s difficulty. Your only saving grace is that when you restart a stage after you fail it (miserably) you begin with all your items in stock which saves you at least those badly needed resources.
Timing and memorization is a factor in everything in Mercernary Ops. Enemies don’t change their pattern and once you go through a story stage all you need to do is to rely on your stock knowledge of the stage layout to have an almost perfect run. The only exception to this is the boss battles since the game seems to mix the required targets up after every stage run.
So if you’re a glutton for punishment, or looking for games that have a high difficulty rating because of the controls and not your skills, Mercernary Ops is a good game to download. But if you’d rather look for a shooter that’s easier to play with, then I say veer away from this one.
As for me though, I’ve already uninstalled the game right after I finished the story mode and run of the survival mode.