Reviewed: September 26, 2008
Released: August 31, 2008
Play as any one of three cutthroat mercenaries getting back at the guy who shot you in the butt and make a lot of money to boot. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is the get even and get rich using all sorts of high tech and highly explosive weapons in Venezuela.
While the premise is great and the game could have been even better Mercenaries 2 does a pretty decent job of getting you into the action with plenty of options for the most part. You may not have all the choices available from the start of the game but you have any options available to you and plenty of weapons to go about your objectives.
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames has a few problems but plenty of explosive action and a wide open environment to fulfill your objectives. You can go about your missions in any way you want as long as you donít kill civilians or care much for a very repetitive mission objective.
The story is one which probably every mercenary has ever had to face, at least on the big screen or in games; the money doesnít get paid and the client tries to kill the merc. The first mission and cut scene is a helpful tutorial and story introduction to the rest of the game even though it is plenty lame.
You are on a mission and the guy that is supposed to pay you at the end double crosses you and tries to have you killed. Of course you escape and swear vengeance but first you have to earn some money to get back at him so you take on the country he just took over, Venezuela.
The game starts you off by choosing which of three characters you will play as; Mattias Nilsson, Chris Jacobs or Jennifer Mui. Each character has a main special ability like Mattias regenerates health faster, Chris can carry more stuff and Jennifer runs faster.
The game has plenty of guns and everything you need lying around or driving by so getting a weapon, ammo or hitching a ride is no problem. The main problems you will have is mechanics and boredom, glitches are rampant and I had a particular problem with the hijacking.
Mercenaries 2 is a wash, rinse and repeat game with several mechanical problems thrown in the mix to make it even more frustrating. You have factions that you are friendly with who will get you jobs so you can earn money but apparently not everyone in the faction understands you work for them.
On several occasions while plugging away at my current objective and happily shooting what is currently the bad guys the supposed good guys started firing at me. This is not to be confused with the disguise feature where you drive around in an enemy vehicle and will suddenly be mistaken for that factionís member but when I was running around I suddenly had everyone shooting at me.
The game has other problems like while driving a vehicle suddenly the vehicle is gone and I am driving parts of a truck or people sticking out of doors and closed windows. On several buildings there are shutters on the windows and suddenly people will be able to stick themselves out of the shutters without opening them.
This is kind of hard to sneak around a building expecting it to be nice and secure when suddenly a guy starts shooting at you point blank with half his body through the door. Another main strategy of the game is hijacking and the little mini game that entails is not always going to work, you have to push a sequence of buttons to get the hijacking to work but more often than not it wonít.
Most of the missions are identical just with some other things thrown in and the AI does not give up on being stupid so it is pretty easy to get the missions done. Many times you will have at least one or two bad guys standing around doing nothing as you wreck havoc in the same area and suddenly they will come to life.
This is not due to proximity or an event trigger but may be part of a clever fake ruse to get your guard down and then hit you when you least expect it. In a few missions I would mow down just about anything returning fire and miss the one guy just standing there doing nothing. I had even walked by him thinking he was a civilian then he would turn and start shooting at me just after I walked by him.
A few of the missions go correctly but I hate the ones were a hijacking is inevitable because they just donít work out well. Too many times I have to try four and five times to hit the dumb buttons in just the right amount but it is the same button.
During the game you will have the opportunity to use a really big assortment of weapons, call in air strikes and blow things up, lots of things. The airstrikes are really hard to get right as you have to stop moving to open up your menu and call in the strike but if your hit by fire the strike stops.
Itís much easier to forget the hijacking and airstrikes and wade in punching your enemies to death, one punch one kill is the motto here. I find it hard to understand why hitting a guy ten or so time from close range with an AK-47 rifle doesnít knock him down but one punch in the face will win the day.
The weapons donít fire well and it is much easier to wade in swinging at an objective than trying to shoot them, I just donít see the weapons behaving much like they should. At short distances you can shoot a full clip and see bullets hitting ten and fifteen feet around the center of your aiming and only a few bullets actually hit your target.
Much of what is happening in Mercenaries 2 is not all bad but with some pretty odd game play and not very interesting missions the main focus here is blowing stuff up. You can destroy anything but the rocks and destroy everything you want but you may hit a civilian or two while doing this.
The graphics are both gorgeous and terrible at the same time with some fantastic looking explosions and terrible draw distances and aliasing. Things in the background and further away look terrible and have some bad aliasing and things like just popping into existence.
The explosions look great but they are very scripted effects and not varied graphics so you will see plenty of the same exact explosion throughout the game. The scenery is nice with plenty of trees and foliage that truly acts like itís supposed to when you walk into it.
This is one thing that I was impressed with the first time I walked into a bush and part of the bush moved but I could not just walk right through it. Other nice effects are the wealth of people walking around and other objects that add to a fuller environment and these donít take away from frame rates in battles.
The game does have its problems like disappearing textures or aliasing problems with things in the distance and them being distorted. Other problems that can have an effect on your gaming is the ability of enemies to pop through supposedly solid objects and shoot at you.
Overall some of the effects and problems can be overlooked but with the magnitude of them it does get annoying but with some very good explosions and the nukes things do balance out. The games frame rates are pretty good except when a really lot is happening and this was no problem for most of the game on the PS3.
Sound effects, audio and music were fine without too many problems while voice acting and the very repetitive sayings got really annoying. There are a dozen or so sayings that your friends and fellow mercs will say to you over and over again so many times it gets to be mind numbing.
They say one phrase of coming back to the PMC so many times you get sick of it by the third mission and other sayings get equally irritating. The voice acting and cut scene dialogue is terrible with so many clichťs and time ridden mercenary talk that skipping the cut scenes is easy.
On the other hand the explosions and the sound effects are great and working your way through all the weapons audio and great sounding effects is fun. The game has a very well done effects department but other issues take away for a very unbalanced game.
The game will take you awhile to get from the start of getting shot in the hind end to shooting the guy who double crossed you, if you stick with it. The glitches and problems can be annoying enough to make you quite the game so you may want to rent this one.
I found it quite difficult to continue the game when I was having such a problem with the simple act of hijacking a tank. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames may be a pretty good game but it also has some annoying issues that make it a rough one.
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is a game that may be better off renting than purchasing, the first time through is fun but repeated trips to this may not be enjoyable. While the games action and explosive atmosphere are fun to behold the repetitive nature of the missions and mainly the glitches keep happening so repeatedly that enjoyment is fleeting.