The Mercenaries are back, and ready to cause even more destruction than they did 3 years ago in there previous adventure, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. But with EA at the helm instead of LucasArts, can the Mercenaries make this second dosage of destruction as good as the first?
Initially the answer is simple. Yes. The foundation of the game has remained very much the same. You pick from a choice of three characters; The Swedish Mattias Nilsson, the Californian Christopher Jacobs or the Honk Kong born Jennifer Mui. Each character has different special powers, for example Mattias’s health regenerates at a slightly faster rate than the other 2, but ultimately the storyline remains the same regardless of the character you have chosen. Once selected you are ready to make a name for yourself and cause as much carnage as possible in the country of Venezuela. But just before I jump into the games storyline, just let me warn you of the annoying character vocals. Funny at first, until you start to hear the same repeated lines again and again. Gets a little annoying but onwards and upwards.
The story begins as your chosen character, Mattias in my case, approaches the multi-billionaire Ramon Solano for a contract. This first contract becomes your tutorial mission, teaching you how to use air-strikes, your gun and just allowing you to get a feel for the game. Your aim in this mission is to rescue a top Venezuelan Army General named Carmona. Once you have completed the tutorial mission - by rescuing Carmona - Solano attempts to murder you, in a fable attempt to avoid paying you. Of course being a Mercenary you manage to escape and seek great revenge against Solano. This sets up the story nicely, and your aim is to get payback on Solano, obviously making loads of money and causing as much chaos at the same time. You are a Mercenary after all.
Now although your ultimate aim is to find and kill Solano, you can’t do this without money or help from other people. Throughout the game you will attain pilots, a car specialist and other useful people. These people can aid you in getting money (which you find lying around in bundles and require extraction), and provide you with weapons and even vehicles. This makes your job a lot easier and enjoyable as you don’t have to go looking for ages to obtain a decent vehicle. These friends also offer you simple challenges for you to 'gamble' your money. These challenges also act as tutorial side missions to get you used to the game. Things like shooting certain targets within the designated time limit.
Now as sandbox games go, Mercenaries 2 is of a half decent size. There are several islands which unlock as the story progress’s. In different areas within these islands are your main enemies and allies. The Factions. The factions are groups of rebels who you can contact for contracts and to get information on the whereabouts on Solano. The more jobs you do for a faction the more equipment they’ll sell you – anything from C4 supplies all the way to a MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast), or even a nuclear weapon – but only if you’re friendly with them. If you manage to make the faction hostile against you, which is almost a certainty, then you will have to speak to Fiona - your helpful assistant - and get her to offer the hostile faction a bribe in return for some respect. Just make sure you have plenty of money in the bank as these bribes are costly, and inevitably they can’t be helped as its too tempting to blow up an allies factions buildings.
Having said that, when you blow up the buildings it looks superb. In fact the scenery as a whole is superb. A few bugs here and there but that doesn’t matter when you’re playing the game with a giant cheesy grin on your face, as you go around blowing up practically everything in your way.
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames doesn’t really evolve much from the first hour you play through to the last, which i didn’t mind. I could easily see how some people may find the game repetitive. Practically each contract involves you traveling to an enemy faction and blowing something of theirs up to smithereens using anything available to you. Nevertheless, blowing up things is fun. What could make it even more fun though? Playing with a friend maybe...
...This is probably the best feature in the game. The online seamless integration of 2 player co-op. What better way to blow things up, than to do it with a mate. At any time your friend can join you in your campaign, give you a hand, or even do the mission for you with you just tagging along, then drop back out again. It’s just a real shame that that is the only online options available. Would have been nice to have some GTA style ‘cops n robbers’ around the surroundings of Venezuela.
Overall Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is a great game. Really enjoyable to play, especially when playing online with a friend, and should be purchased by any destruction loving fan. The game is a little repetitive at times, and the character voices are a little annoying and they feel a little neglected, but still a great game. Good job EA and Pandemic Studios.
- Blowing up things
- Blowing up things in 2 player online co-op
- Blowing up more things
- Neglected character vocals
- Limited online options
- Can be repetitive at times