Way back over the Easter break, so not all in one day, I caned Mercenaries mode with every single character from the basic game plus Lost In Nightmares Jill and Chris, using the Custom Starting Inventories, and using each of the three available Resource Setups.
Here's a quick glance at the victory points scored by each character in each of the setups provided:
SPECIAL FORCES SETUP
Rebecca Chambers - 65
Leon - 5
Jill (Lost In Nightmares) - DEAD
Jack - 16
Chris (Lost In Nightmares) - DEAD (10)
Jill - DEAD (4)
Barry - 68
Chris - DEAD (2)
Sheva - 67
Ada - DEAD (1)
Wesker - DEAD (4)
Claire - 70
LIMITED MOVEMENT SETUP
Rebecca Chambers - 9
Leon - DEAD (0)
Jill (Lost In Nightmares) - DEAD (4)
Jack - 23
Chris (Lost In Nightmares) - 16 (10 Life left)
Jill - DEAD (2)
Barry - 46
Chris - DEAD (9)
Sheva - 10 (80 Life left)
Ada – DEAD (2)
Wesker - 5
Claire - 35
JACK OF ALL TRADES SETUP
Rebecca Chambers - 2
Leon - 13
Jill (Lost In Nightmares) – 28 (45 Life left)
Jack - 7
Chris (Lost In Nightmares) – 45 (80 Life left)
Jill – 22 (30 Life left)
Barry – DEAD (12)
Chris - 16 (55 Life left)
Sheva - 20 (35 Life left)
Ada – DEAD (1)
Wesker – DEAD (2)
Claire – 28 (30 Life left)
For some reason I seem to have only sporadically recorded the Life remaining of each character.
Some Casual Observations
I stress ‘Casual’ since my playing style, learning curve, and the random card draws all contribute to massive variables here...
1. Custom Starting Inventories are especially skewed, as they are in the base game, but I think more fun than everyone just starting with the same setup.
2. Item Management is essential in Mercenaries Mode, although choosing whether to have one or two in your deck is an agony.
3. Jack is a consistent survivor, albeit low-scoring due to his fairly weak knives. With more practice I reckon he could be great in this mode though, since enemies are at a 40 Life maximum.
4. Rebecca is a surprising survivor, although difficult to reliably score with.
5. Sheva, Barry and Claire start with a massive advantage and are able to easily capitalise on this by quickly racking up great scores.
6. Wesker (normally my favourite) rewards the long game and so suffers in Mercenaries Mode as his abilities take proportionally longer to unlock.
7. Ada and Jill (both versions) are a bit rubbish.
8. Chris (both versions) is unexpectedly difficult to manage and play successfully.
9. Leon’s pistol abilities are tricky to bring to bear in this shorter game mode.
10. With the clock ticking, all characters have to quickly and efficiently balance healing with managing and trashing cards, building up ammo, and sourcing effective weapons.
11. You can’t rely on your Levelling abilities, even once you start killing. Combos can mean that you won’t even see your Level benefits for a number of turns, by which time the game can change dramatically.
12. It plays speedily and elegantly and you can fire through games at a pace.
Great fun! And probably more satisfying solo than the Story Mode, where you have to use Mandatory Exploring to really have a challenge.
Took me a while to pluck up the courage to deviate from the Story Mode but I see this as a way of getting a lot more play out of the game, since it rewards shorter playtimes.
And a quick note on multiplayer - whereas for a two hour game my group would prefer something a bit meatier than a deck building card game, at just 20-30 minutes a time, Mercenaries mode delivers all the same zombie blasting fun in a digestible, bite-size morsel!