With series staple Mercenaries Mode returning to the Resident Evil 4 Remake, it’s time to remind fans of another mostly forgotten mode from the RE series. Reaching the second chapter in the 2012 3DS game Resident Evil: Revelations unlocked something called Raid Mode for players to enjoy. Unlike Mercenaries, Raid Mode is not a time-attack mode and instead operates as a more RPG-lite version of the main game. While players are expected to try and hammer down on a handful of levels in Mercenaries, Raid Mode gives players a much more expansive game type to play around with.
This mode was included in ports released on the seventh and eighth generations of consoles and was part of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, which was released in 2015. However, the Revelations duology is the only time that Raid Mode has existed in the massive Resident Evil franchise, and that should change in some future release.
In Raid Mode, Players are tasked with defeating a certain number of enemies across a wide number of stages. These enemies have levels and health bars and can even have further modifications like size increases/decreases. Players earn XP as they go and can find better weaponry through weapon cases (or vinyl records) that will award a random weapon that players can equip if they meet the level requirements.
Similarly to Mercenaries letting players play as characters unavailable in the campaign, Raid Mode also offers that up in spades. You can take on the many stages as the series villain Albert Wesker or Umbrella’s special operator, HUNK. Each character behaves differently and offers passive upgrades to different weapon types. This keeps the mode fresh even after clearing through the same stages on a lower difficulty.
The biggest difference is that Raid Mode feels like more Resident Evil. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a side mode to the same degree. You are playing the same game in just about the same way, whereas Mercenaries mode requires playing the game in one specific way. Mercenaries has always felt like a mode to pick up for short bursts and a couple of shots at a high score. On the other hand, Raid Mode feels like a whole new campaign to enjoy that I probably put more time into in the first Revelations than I otherwise would’ve.
Mercenaries has been given room to change and adapt, and the version seen in the original Resident Evil 4 was nowhere close to the mode released with Resident Evil Village. It’s sad that a mode as complex and enjoyable as Raid Mode hasn’t been given the same opportunity and has been largely forgotten about in the series as a whole.
By this point, it’s almost certain a suitable Raid Mode return could even be a full game by itself, as Mercenaries got to be on the 3DS. I can easily imagine a higher-level version of Raid Mode just being a campaign option to offer a unique playthrough. I would certainly enjoy a Resident Evil 5 remake with the option to make the whole thing an RPG with looting mechanics just to continue selling how different a RE remake can make an older game.
I’m not saying we should do away with Mercenaries, but it has also been in seven games across the whole franchise, and Raid Mode has been seen twice. Getting to play Mercenaries in first-person in Resident Evil Village was certainly cool. Still, I can’t help but long for the potential looter shooter I could’ve gotten instead/alongside it. All I can hope is that whatever mainline game might come next will reunite me with the one mode I have wanted in every game ever since playing the Xbox 360 port of Resident Evil Revelations.