Yesterday, GameLife (Wired) ran an article on Capcom’s latest Resident Evil title The Mercenaries 3D for the Nintendo 3DS came with one very unstated and undesirable feature: once you save your game you can never delete the game data. Essentially, instead of game saves going to the system or SD card, game progression is saved directly onto the game; and as GameLife’s, Ben Kuchera suggested, will undoubtedly affect its resale value and its replayability for a second-hand gamer.
Not long after the article was published, Capcom’s Shawn Baxter took to Capcom’s official forums to do damage control. From his post:
There was no intention of lessening the experience of the game. Essentially, RE Mercs was treated like an arcade fighting game. You unlock characters, levels, etc and they just stay unlocked as they would in an arcade machine. There was no hidden motive to prevent buying used copies. It’s not some secret form of DRM. It’s simply the way we designed the save system to work with the arcade type of gameplay.
Q. What type of game is Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D?
A. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a time-based score attack game very similar in style to an old school arcade game. Across the various levels, players must defeat hordes of enemies, unlock new weapons, and collect hidden bonuses to rack up high scores. After time has run out, a rank and score are displayed. The game does not feature a traditional campaign or story mode.
Q. Is it true that the game can only be played through once?
A. No. This is not true. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is a non-linear experience where there is no set end to the game. It is a score attack game and progression is defined as improving upon previous high scores. Players can replay each mission as many times as they like to continually challenge themselves to improve.
Q. Does the inability to reset the save game data mean that those purchasing a secondhand version of the game will have content missing?
A. Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D consists of 30 time-based missions, through which the player unlocks skill upgrades as they progress through the game. Anyone purchasing a copy of the game secondhand would have access to all the missions and skills that the original owner unlocked, in addition to the content that was available to the original user.
Sure, if the idea was to publish an arcade-style shooter they’ve accomplished just that, however, once you’ve started the game, all game-saves, achievements, unlocks, in-game perks, EVERYTHING is permanently recorded onto the game. If you’ve got a friend that wanted to try the full game, they would start where ever you left off. If you completed the game, they’d restart with nothing to unlock for themselves. Truly, making it all but useless to anyone but the original owner. Hopefully Capcom will be able to provide a better experience when a proper Resident Evil is released on the 3DS.