Resident Evil Mercenaries Vs
- iPhone - £1.79 "for a limited time only"
Three attempts down the line, you'd perhaps hope that Capcom could finally do justice to Resident Evil's rich heritage on mobile devices. Sadly, Mercenaries Vs fails to buck this sorry trend.
Billed as Capcom's first online multiplayer mobile title, Mercenaries Vs' general idea is to let you run amok in a series of free-for-all or two-on-two shootouts. Three of the gang have turned up for their appearance fees, so you can play as Chris, Jill or Wesker, and each comes with a subtly different weapon weapon loadout. So, shotgun for Chris, SMG for Jill, magnum for Wesker, the usual drill.
Three maps make it into the package, and you get to endure several minutes of teeth-grinding combat, seeing who can rack up the best score. Points are earned for shooting the infected (or each other), and that's basically all there is to it.
A basic single-player training mode simulates the whole thing with AI players, or you can opt for some coin-shooting nonsense, where the aim is to blast all 15 coins within a time limit.
As you can probably tell, it's not the most thrilling thing I've ever had to play. In fact, it's a horribly lazy cash-in. The visuals are (still) hugely disappointing, and the controls haven't moved on from where they were on the Resi 4 abomination three years ago.
If Mercenaries Vs was a basic online extra on a full-fledged mobile Resident Evil, you might forgive it, but as a standalone release it has no redeeming qualities. Come on Capcom, you can do better than this.
Real Racing 2 HD
- iPad - £5.99
- Also available on iPhone
There haven't been too many reasons to get excited about the iPad 2 from a gaming perspective to date. Infinity Blade and Dead Space run a bit better, sure, and the gyroscopic controls are a bonus, but it's hardly enough to justify the expensive upgrade. Real Racing 2 just might, though, as it's the first title to show off iPad 2 in all its full-screen, 1080p TV-out glory.
Assuming you've also shelled out for the HDMI adaptor, you can just plug your iPad in and the signal appears on your telly automatically. Once you fire up the game, there it is. No configuration necessary.
Cunningly, the game keeps all the menu items and some of the HUD on the iPad itself, with minimal clutter on the TV screen. When you're out on track, things like the map and current race standings appear on the tablet screen, necessitating a glance between the two.
You use the iPad like a steering wheel, tilting into corners, while the AI (by default) takes care of acceleration. The effect is, unsurprisingly, a pleasant novelty – especially given how crisp the visuals look scaled up on the big screen. Firemint's claims of 30 frames per second seem to hold true as well, though we did experience the odd stutter.
The only niggling issue is the chunky HDMI adaptor and its uncomfortable positioning. Ideally, you'd be able to use an iPhone as a bluetooth controller and leave the iPad to one side, but right now that's not an option.
Aside from all the novelty value of full-screen TV output, Real Racing 2 is by far the most accomplished mobile racing game out there right now. Whether you dive into the career mode or the 16-player online multiplayer, the breadth of content is impressive, the handling is superb, and it's easy to appreciate why the game has garnered such universal acclaim. If you're looking for justification for blowing all your spare cash (again), here it is.
- Xperia Play/Android - £3.00
- Coming soon to iPhone.
It's long been accepted that every Gameloft release is a barely disguised cover version of a blockbuster hit. We've had everything from GTA (Gangstar), Halo (N.O.V.A.) and Counter-Strike (Modern Combat) to Diablo (Dungeon Hunter), so it was only a matter of time before Assassin's Creed was given The Treatment.
The swashbuckling piratey setting might be entirely different, but within a matter of minutes the free-running, sword-swishing, stealth assassin formula reveals itself.
And it's not terrible, either, in a 2002-prototype-for-Assassin's-Creed kind of way. But that's not to say it's anything special: you'll breeze through one undemanding section after another, metronomically carving a swathe through dim-witted enemies using one simple attack.
Later, you'll find yourself engaging in more exploratory tasks, darting nimbly across rooftops, and dispatching sentries with ruthless efficiency. In between, you'll sit patiently through some of the worst voice acting in a decade. It's a trip down memory lane, but not in an especially good way.
On the plus side, it's another example of how much more enjoyable third-person action games can be on an Xperia Play compared to dreaded virtual sticks. If someone could kindly get around to porting existing classics, our disposition would be altogether sunnier. As it stands, Backstab is just another inferior tribute.