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Resident Evil game save system causing uproar

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Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D - Capcom

Like to try before you buy? Hope to save a few bucks by purchasing your games used? Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D may not be the game for you.

Saved games in the Nintendo 3DS title, which hits shelves Tuesday, can't be erased. In other words, when your progress is saved, it's there forever -- even if you loan it to a friend or sell it to someone else. If you manage to beat the game, there is no way to get rid of your save file and play it again from scratch.

And that's prompting game rental giant GameFly to remove it from its inventory -- and has GameStop, the leader in used game sales, doing some serious soul searching.

Since the game is so new, there are mixed reports about whether GameStop stores are accepting trade-ins. No matter which way it's resolved, though, a certain segment of the gaming population isn't going to be happy.

"Note: Saved data on this software cannot be reset," the game warns on the package. It's in relatively small print and easy to overlook. And while it might sound like the latest step by a publisher to steer people away from used games, Capcom says that wasn't the intent.

"The nature of the game invites high levels of replayability in order to improve mission scores. In addition, this feature does not remove any content available for users," a spokesman for the publisher told Gamasutra. "Secondhand game sales were not a factor in this development decision, so we hope that all our consumers will be able to enjoy the entirety of the survival-action experiences that the game does offer."

Gamers aren't buying it, however. Ben Kuchera at Ars Technica calls the feature "infuriating" and "hostile to gamers."

"This hurts everyone who buys a copy of the game, and significantly harms the long-term replayability of the title," he argues.

Venturebeat's Matthew Lynley agrees, describing it as "a huge slap in the face to gamers that like hunting down old and classic games" since purchasing a used copy in the future is rendered pretty much pointless. Commenters at Slashdot have even called for a company boycott over the feature.

Despite the uproar, The Mercenaries isn't technically treading new ground here, and likely won't be the last title to give an eternal quality to your actions. Sega's Super Monkey Ball 3D also permanently saved games. And more 3DS games could follow suit.

The good news for players is that, as opposed to other Resident Evil games, The Mercenaries doesn't provide a story-driven campaign. It's an arcade-style shooter, meaning players can replay areas whenever they want. They will not, however, be able to hide unlockable features and high scores from others.

For some players, that may not be an issue. For purists, though, it's close to heresy.

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