In a move similar to the previous title in the series, completing Resident Evil 5’s main quest unlocks the Mercenaries Mode. This mini-game disregards narrative, offering a quick, arcade-like diversion where players must annihilate as many foes as possible within a time limit. Harking back to an era when games were about amassing high scores and chaining combos, the mode is an enjoyable divergence off the main path.
Whereas Mercenaries mode allowed players to work cooperatively, Capcom’s new Versus mode allows for some competitive bloodshed, albeit for a five dollar cover charge. This premium didn’t set well with many gamers, who balked at the release of this DLC so soon after the RE5’s release. For games that haven’t finished the story mode, this content allows players to jump right into this light-hearted minigame, which modestly expands the title with an additional rule set. Once the 1.8MB download is completed (a paltry 351KB on the PS3), the bottom option of the main menu shows players the new game modes.
Players must initially assume the role of either Chris or Sheva, and begin with the duo’s requisite loadouts. As players successfully finish the five minute scenarios, new characters and weapons become available. While Capcom claims there are four modes included with the Versus mode, actual differences are minimal. Slayers mimics Mercenaries gameplay, allowing players to string combos when they maintain continuous carnage. As long as players exterminate either a CPU-controlled or human enemy every ten seconds, the score multiplayer will increase. Survivor eliminates the combo building and concentrates on the butchery; it feels more like a traditional deathmatch mode. Additionally both modes allow team based play, thus doubling the amount of options.
Finding a competitor was quick on Xbox Live, and matches proved to be relatively lag-free. While matches lacked the vigilant weapon balancing found in a game like Call of Duty 4, RE5‘s limited amount of ammo made each game compelling. Sadly, when the match ended we were jettisoned back to the main menu, unable to play another game with the same participants.
Players expecting advancement upon RE5’s dichotomist move or shoot mechanic will be disappointed. Versus offers no progression in player control. Gamers who didn’t like the way character action was handled in the main game, while find little solace here. Still, those who thrive on competition may find enough content here to warrant a $5 purchase.