Leon! Leon! … Leo?
Fans of the Resident Evil franchise will twinge when first booting up Mercenary Ops. Not only is the game’s title reminiscent of a treasured game mode from Resident Evil 4, everything from the ground up will remind players of Resident Evil games. Theme, artwork, and gameplay are all lifted from various entries in the beloved horror series.
You play Leo, a character whose namesake is certainly Leon from RE4, and who happens to look a lot like Chris Redfield from RE5. Players start off by eradicating zombies from a small town, and proceed through something that can only loosely be described as a story mode. There isn’t much context with respect to the ‘who, what, where, when or why’ within Mercenary Ops.
The gameplay from Mercenary Ops resembles the Chronicles games from the Resident Evil series. It is a first person arcade-style shooter, in which the player is ushered through a shooting gallery infested with zombies. Players have a few control schemes to start with that give varying degrees of control to the player. I prefer the simple tap and shoot because it is the closest to what I am used to for these kinds of games, but the other control schemes let you aim as if you were in a console style first person shooter.
Because this is an iOS game, the player either has to purchase health packs, items and guns to use within the levels with in-game currency or make use of the option to “buy coins” if what you are earning within game is not enough. I won’t comment about the balance outside of saying that I wish I had more health packs than I normally had, and when you die in a level your depleted items don’t seem to regenerate. Bear in mind that this is a free to try game, where you need to pay to unlock anything beyond level 1.
I look at the game’s shameless and wholesale mimicry of a beloved franchise, something not uncommon in the iOS gaming space, and I want to say that players should just look to the source material. Hell, the game even steals its name from another game called Mercenary Ops. I also look at the questionable IAP strategy and want to caution players not to invest. The lack of a story and repetition of enemy styles are additional points of caution.
Bearing all of this in mind, Mercenary Ops is still a decent arcade shooter for the iPad. The action is fast, the visuals are pretty, and it is a nice way to sit back on the couch and blast away zombies for a few minutes. I don’t endorse the way it clearly rips off Resident Evil, but until Capcom brings its own titles to iOS this is what iPad gamers have available.
Mercenary Ops is available for free as a Universal App.