Resident Evil 4 Remake’s The Mercenaries is Great Arcade Fun

    Roundhouse kicking hordes of Ganados has never been more fun.

    I’m completely hooked on the Resident Evil 4 Remake’s take on The Mercenaries. I can’t get enough of it and want more. Why is that? While some players newer to the Resident Evil franchise might overlook this mode at first, it is absolutely worth your time if you own the RE4 remake. You may find yourself as addicted as I am once you get started. Here is why you should check out The Mercenaries in Resident Evil 4 if you haven’t already.

    Fast Fun

    Leon roundhouse kicking a group of Ganados

    Unlike the main game, The Mercenaries offers a short but sweet gameplay experience. If you love the combat in the Resident Evil 4 remake but are looking to just pick up and play, this mode is perfect for you. However, I will warn you, once you finish a round, you may want to play another. This cycle may keep repeating and you’ll quickly lose track of time. This has happened to me on at least one occasion. 

    Similar to the mode of the same name in the original game, The Mercenaries tasks the player with eliminating as many enemies as possible before the clock reaches zero. You can extend the time limit by picking up green orbs and skillfully killing enemies. However, this doesn’t result in an endless mode. There are a maximum of 150 enemies to deal with per stage. With enough skill, the challenge becomes more about finishing the stages as quickly as possible rather than completing them. 

    This mode doesn’t even try to pretend to be the immersive experience that is the main game. Score markers and bright green time bonuses appear when you kill enemies. You are notified when strong enemies are present. Instead of helping to create an eerie atmosphere, the music matches the arcadey action taking place. It basically feels as if I’m playing the Resident Evil 4 remake if it was ported to an arcade machine. 

    Distilling the Combat of Resident Evil 4

    Do you enjoy the combat of the Resident Evil 4 remake? I sure do. While I definitely appreciate the main game’s careful pacing, sometimes I just want to fight things. The Mercenaries mode allows me to do that. However, if you’ve played the main game on the hardcore difficulty setting, you’ll instantly notice that things are a bit more forgiving. 

    Enemies are quite easy to stagger. Most of the time, all you will need is one well-placed headshot. I think this works great to keep the pace of the mode going. Sure, the challenge of having to deal with tough enemies in the main game can create tense situations, but the constant amount of enemies you need to deal with in The Mercenaries makes up for that. Each enemy you kill adds to your combo counter, and ideally, you will want to maintain a combo until you defeat every enemy. 

    Every single animation is important because of this. When you stumble from taking damage, you really feel it. Not only do you lose health, but the time wasted on the animation will also bring you closer to losing your combo. You also will need to spend time moving through the stage, picking up green and gold orbs, as well as other items. This makes every round feel tense, even when you substantially improve at the mode. 

    The Mercenaries 

    Character Select Screen in the Resident Evil 4 Remake's The Mercenaries mode

    A great aspect of this mode is the presence of multiple playable characters. While anyone other than Leon must be unlocked, the player can choose between four characters. Other than Leon, you can play as Luis, Krauser, or HUNK. Each of these characters feels distinct and fun to play. This helps keep the mode somewhat fresh, as you have to consider somewhat different playstyles.

    As you might imagine, Leon is the character you start with and he has the most vanilla playstyle of the bunch. Skillful aiming and finding the best opportunities for roundhouse kicks will help you out a lot. Luis probably plays the most similarly to Leon but has a few differences. He’s generally a slower character and this really needs to be taken into account when trying to hold a combo. His pistol packs more of a punch and his unique Mayhem Mode ability allows him to place dynamite to erase big crowds. 

    Krauser is perhaps the most unique character as he’s somewhat of a melee powerhouse with explosive arrows that can help out in a pinch. If you like to get up close and personal with your enemies, he’s a great choice. Last but not least, HUNK is the character you want if you wish to play with relentless aggression. His Mayhem Mode ability gives him unlimited ammo for some time, allowing you to mow down the Ganados with ease. You might have one you prefer, but all these characters are worth trying out at least once. 

    A Great Addition to the Resident Evil 4 Remake

    Leon aiming his pistol at a Ganado in The Mercenaries mode

    The Mercenaries is free to download for anyone who owns the Resident Evil 4 remake. I strongly recommend you do so if you haven’t already, as this mode will likely add a decent amount of playtime to an already pretty lengthy Resident Evil game. Moreover, the presence of an online leaderboard may help incentivize some players to replay stages more and improve. As the main game already contains a lot of replayability, this mode is the cherry on top. 

    Hopefully, we’ll see more get added to this mode in the future. As it seems likely that we’ll see a Separate Ways DLC in the future (especially considering how the game has somewhat expectedly been a massive commercial success for Capcom), we could also see more content for The Mercenaries come with it. Ada and Wesker are currently absent from the mode, and it would be great to see them back. It would also be nice to see another stage or two make an appearance as well. 

    If you own a Steam Deck, the pick-up-and-play nature of The Mercenaries is well-suited to portable gaming. It’s no wonder why Capcom attempted to translate the mode into its own game on the 3DS years back. The Resident Evil 4 remake’s take on The Mercenaries is a great modern imagining of a classic game mode. It’s an absolute blast to play and I’d love to see more of it in the future. 

    Itch has a strong passion for PC gaming and retro consoles (especially the Dreamcast). From Melty Blood: Actress Again to Forza Horizon, he will play just about anything that catches his eye. Ever since playing Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit as a young child, he has been in love with the medium of video games and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

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