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Wodashin avatar 10:08 PM on 06.28.2011  (server time)
Game Progression: Why RE Mercs is Troubling

It seems that a lot of people are arguing over whether or not Capcom's plan to make the single save file in RE: The Mercenaries matters or not. From one point of view, you can see that it would affect the game for used game buyers, and that people who like to delete their saves to extend game life can no longer do that. On the other side, you can say that it's silly to be upset over having everything already unlocked and have high scores already there, and that deleting save files is something people are making up to make this non-problem a problem. Those who fall into the latter camp, I must say, are pretty much inviting the death of used gaming. Or at least having fun from buying a used game. Seriously. What I'm going to say is probably obvious to a lot of people, has probably been said a lot (a lot), and may be pointless, but hey, it gives me something to do.

This is your game brand new.

Those familiar with the Mercenaries mini-game from the Resident Evil series know that it's a moderately fun and interesting bonus in the game. You unlock characters, gain ranks, try to get high scores, and generally fight hordes of zombies (or people infected with parasites or something) while trying to get time extensions. It can be pretty tough and it's pretty neat to play with characters you don't get to play as in the story mode. Playing as Krauser and Wesker in RE4's Mercenary mode was pretty badass. The fun isn't really in the gameplay per se as it is in the points and unlocking. It's an arcade game at heart. Take the high scores and unlockables away, and you have a game with zero replay value. Who would've played Galaga or Pac-Man if they aimlessly played with no sense of achievement, with no scoring system, for being unable to put ASS in the High Score list?

Game progression, be it through unlocking of game items, or going through a story, or rising through the high score lists or leader boards is pretty much the sole reason we play games. We play games because we are rewarded throughout and have a sense of progress and achievement. That's why achievements and trophies are so popular! The sense of doing something and working through something is why we game. This can probably be debated, but in the deepest sense this is what makes games popular. Getting from one end to the other in an epic story, or crafting an epic of massive proportions by bringing your pitiful level 1 character to level 85.

Those who buy RE: The Mercenaries 3DS will experience all of this, and that's the fun. My pictures that I chose for this blog are the start screens for the game. In every iteration of Mercs (maybe not, I've not played all of the Merc equipped RE games), as you unlock characters, they appear on the start screen. You get different backgrounds, if I remember correctly, in the RE4 version as well. This is satisfying. There's no point to the game without the unlockables. the characters you can get keep you playing the same levels over and over until you finally get a high enough ranking and unlock the bastard that it took you so long to get (damn you Waterworld!).

This is your game on meth. I mean used. The point is that everything is unlocked already, okay?

Since this is The Mercenaries though, I can see a lot of people trading the game back in to GameStop or what have you, mainly because it can get a bit tedious after a while. If you're like me, you're going to play something like this until you have everything. S rank on every level, with every character (or as close as you can get). Once you get there, maybe you could delete your save and start again. Lots of people do this so they can get that sense of progression and achievement back. It's like starting a New Game on any story driven game. It's not some out-there crazy idea that only the mentally unstable do. It's an actual thing. At least it is for most games, but not this one. So you max out everything and trade the game in.

The unlucky bloke (or bloke-ette or something) who picks this hypothetical game up now has everything in the game at their disposal. This is the worst possible situation. It would be like picking up Fallout 3 used, but the game has already been beat, every quest has been finished, and every special weapon and armor collected, and you can't restart the game. You're at the end game, wandering aimlessly with nothing to do, and you can't change it. Well, that's complete crap. This is stealing content from used game buyers. Stealing. Part of the experience is in the unlocking and scoring. It's not just the zombie shooting. Take away the point of the zombie shooting and you're left with a husk of a game.

This is an important thing. If Capcom sets a precedent with this, it will kill used gaming. It will kill a lot of people's enjoyment. It will kill replayability. This would be akin to removing the Prestige system from CoD's online multiplayer. It is a MAJOR step back in game design. People LIKE resetting their games, and most of you have probably prestiged in CoD! You can't tell me you haven't done it! Well, maybe you can, but you're probably outnumbered! Capcom needs to realize the power of what they're doing. They have to be very careful, because it's really powerul, especially against living things (I feel no shame). Or the used game market and the sense of progression. One or the other.

This is only my second blog. Be gentle.

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