Capcom's decision to limited Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D to a single immortal save file has drawn plenty of discussion recently. It's a big issue, and one that deserves another look.
At face value, only having one save file for life is baffling, and there's no precedent we can think of: certainly past Resident Evil games needed multiple save files and playthroughs to unlock everything, but Mercenaries is a very different affair. As a score attack game, it's less about story progression and more about tightening up your scoring ability, something that comes with practice.
While Capcom has denied the move is intended to combat second-hand sales, UK retailer HMV has blocked trade-ins on the game, though other major chains will still be taking the game in and selling it pre-owned. Traditionally it's only PC games that require Internet registration to function that are unable to be traded in, and it's extremely unusual for a handheld game to be barred from trade-in.
Of course, part of the justification for the high price of gaming is the ability to play through the same story repeatedly: does a game offering just one total playthrough have the same value? Would the issue of a single file be more acceptable if the game came in at a budget price?
Gamers have been using past purchases to fund future games for years, and the restrictions on trading in RE: Mercenaries 3D could ultimately hurt the game's new sales even more than a prevalent trade-in economy. To many, dropping £30 or $40 on a game that has a significantly depreciated resale value doesn't seem like a good way to spend money, no matter how good the game is.
The permanence of the game's save file has certainly made waves with retailers and gamers, and it doesn't look like the discussion will go away any time soon.
We want to hear what you think — has a lifetime save file put you off purchasing the game? Do you feel you're missing out on something by only having one go-around? Let us know in the comments section below, and make sure you read our Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D review to find out if the game itself is actually any good.