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How to gain more time in Mercenaries mode in Resident Evil 4 remake

Time to get time

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The Mercenaries mode in the Resident Evil 4 remake boldly remixes the game’s core gameplay. Rather than prioritizing careful play and resource conservation, you’ll instead be playing aggressively in pursuit of higher scores. However, don’t get the wrong idea; you still need those tactics from the main game to succeed.

For example, time is one of the most valuable resources in Mercenaries. More time means more opportunities to boost your score, but time doesn’t come cheap. Instead, you’ll have to pull of quick and skillful kills in rapid succession to keep earning time bonuses. That sounds like a lot, but if you’ve beaten the main campaign in Resident Evil 4, you should have the muscle memory to succeed here. Here’s what you need to do.

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Aim for headshots

This is the most straightforward time bonus you’ll find. By scoring headshots and making heads explode like they’re plastic balloons, you’ll generally earn a two second time bonus. Ammo conservation is still a concern in Mercenaries, so headshots will help optimize your resources in addition to your score.

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Melee kills

Speaking of ammo conservation, you know what doesn’t use any ammo at all? Your foot.

Leon “Smackdown” Kennedy can famously throw some nasty melee attacks, and that’s doubly true in Mercenaries. A roundhouse kick to the face can earn you that sweet two second time bonus like a headshot can, even if you happen to catch a non-staggered target in your attack. If you’re lucky enough to set up a Suplex, you’ll get five bonus seconds instead.

Both attacks are worth using at virtually any opportunity you can. The only exception is on stairwells, as your kick can occasionally miss your target entirely.

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Knife kills

Interestingly, knife kills will give you more time than you’d expect. Whether it’s as a finisher or not, a kill with a knife will reward four extra seconds. This may goad you into prioritizing knife kills, but remember, your knife is limited by its durability. Absolutely use it as much as you can before time runs out, but don’t leave yourself knifeless in a tough situation.

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Barrels

Explosive barrels are a staple of the Mercenaries mode. Firing a single shot into these will trigger a huge explosion, almost assuredly killing anything caught in the blast. For every kill you get with a barrel, you’ll receive a one second bonus. Obviously, this is a lesser source of time than the other options on this list. However, if you strategically time barrels to catch multiple targets at once, you’ll rack up serious time in no time.

Remember, enemies will keep spawning in waves. Your focus is not necessarily on maximizing time per kill, but rather time per second.

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Boss enemies

Once you progress far enough in a game of Mercenaries, boss enemies will eventually start to appear. These are treated with enough fanfare that you shouldn’t miss them. If you do, you’ll know they’re on the map once you get prompts to evade giant hammers that are about to smack you across the face.

Bosses take much more effort to take down, but fortunately you’ll get a significant time bonus once you land that finishing shot. In my testing, you don’t necessarily need to land a headshot to get time from bosses. That said, your priority should be taking these enemies down quick, so aim for weak spots anyway.

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Mayhem Mode

Every character in Mercenaries has a super ability to go “Mayhem” and unlock some character-specific perk. From increased speed to the ability to set dynamite, Mayhem is a great way to clear loads of enemies quickly. More time obviously means more kills, but Mayhem also increases time gains from almost every source as well.

Your Mayhem meter will naturally fill the longer you are in each stage. Additionally, you’ll find yellow orbs scattered around that will instantly boost your meter. Don’t let your Mayhem go to waste, you could very well be leaving valuable time on the table by insisting on saving it!

Screenshot by Destructoid

Green orbs

Finally, we have the most straightforward way to increase your time. Once you find a green orb on the map, all you must do is interact with it to get a significant boost to your time. That’s it!

It’s tempting to make a beeline for green orbs as soon as you want more time, but that’s not necessarily the optimal play. As important as time is, you still want to prioritize score at the end of the day. For best results, try to plan out a natural route in each stage that will lead you to each orb while letting you take out enemies along the way. If you’re scoring kills every ten seconds, you’ll maintain a combo meter that will boost your point total. If maintained throughout a stage’s duration, you’ll almost assuredly earn a high rank in Mercenaries.

When it comes to score-attack modes like these, practice makes perfect. Keep playing until you have a solid lay of the land and combine all these tips to keep your timer high and your score even higher.


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Timothy Monbleau
Guide Editor - Timothy started writing community blogs for Destructoid in 2012. He liked it so much he decided to write articles for the site professionally. His love for RPGs and the Ys series will endure forever.