Mercenaries 2: World in Flames
Joining the army to blow up things and control heavy weaponry may be cool and all, but usually the pay in the sector isn’t all too great. Luckily there are Private Military Corporations or companies that recruit mercenaries to go fight in the middle of nowhere and blow stuff up for a good sum of money.
Contrary to its predecessor, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction, this game will put you in a more sunny environment. You new private war is located in Venezuela instead of the groomy North Korea. The game starts with a contract where you need to liberate a general but your surprise will be big when you find out that after successfully finishing this mission you’ve just taken part in a coup d’état and get a bullet in your behind as reward. From that moment on your character swears to make anyone who doesn’t live up to his contract pay.
You can play as male or female and in total there’s three different characters. There’s not much difference between them except that one can take some more damage than the other, another can carry more ammo and the third gets to run faster. After having made this simple choice you enter the open world of the game where you notice that although it’s supposedly located in Venezuela there aren’t any real locations that you now in reality. Except for the name of the country, everything is totally made up by the developers.
To get your revenge, you’ll need to get some money and this you get through your mostly local contacts. In the game there are several factions that don’t really like the new government and would like things to return to the old ways or put their own people in power. There are companies that want to defend their own interests, rebels that want to divide the oil money under the inhabitants of the country and so on. Not all groups have the same idea about how the country has to be run and when you help one faction, others will quickly add you to their enemy list.
The contracts you get vary from simple “kill person x”, escort jobs (no, not sexual ones!) and saving important people, to conquering enemy installations. If you want to complete these missions succesfully you of course need weapons and if possible something that blows up on impact. Luckily, there’s plenty available and even at the most unlogical places. The previous government must have been extremely sloppy as you only need to walk 10 meters and you’ll find rockets, bombs and crates with hundreds of thousands dollars between some trees or bushes.
Now, to get all these found “extras” safely to your base you need some additional personnel and you’ll first have to convince those people to work for you. Don’t expect anything special though, as usually you’ll have solo-missions. In total you can have up to three people in the game that work for you and they all have their own skills that give you more options during exploring. There’s an Irish helicopter pilot who’s also an adrenaline junkie, who gives you the possibility to transport found objects for later use. Your engineer allows to take over enemy choppers while they’re still hanging in the air and she can also adjust your personal vehicle with stuff you find throughout the game. Finally there’s a drunken jet pilot who gives you the possibility to bomb hostile positions.
As you’ll have to explore a pretty large area, you’ll need transportation. This won’t be a problem as there are plenty of civilians driving around that can easily be pursuaded to give their vehicle to a lovely merc like you. Next to normal ways of transportation there are also army vehicles but to get your hands on these you’ll need to put more effort in it. Taking over one of these will require a certain QTE (Quick Time Event). Each vehicle has a specific of these but it’s always the same. Pressing X to open a hatch of a tank and then pushing A quickly to get the grenade of the driver and blowing him up with it constantly give the same scene.
You’ll be able to blow stuff up more than enough as just about anything can be flattened to the ground and this is clearly one of the big attractions of the game. If you’re being shot at from the rooftop of a building, just bring the whole thing down and problem solved. Sadly enough the rest of the graphics are a lot less. The characters look like they’re plastic dolls and the vegetation seems to have come from a game that was released five years ago.
Of course the sound is also an important part as it can make a game perfect with the right tone of voice, but in Mercenaries 2 this isn’t the case. The voice-overs aren’t special and after a while you’ll notice you’re hearing the same oneliners over and over again. The weapon sounds seem good although some could have used some more punch.
The last we need to look at is the online co-op. You can finish the game with two people but it’s too bad this mode isn’t available for people without Xbox Live. The good thing though, is that online it’s almost identical and you get to blow up and steal just as much with two as you can alone.
The game also has some flaws next to those we’ve already covered. The intelligence of your buddy soldiers isn’t quite worthy to write home about and they’ll usually let themselves get shot down in the middle of the street. Also suddenly appearing enemies will bring frustration and finally it’s almost impossible to die. Usually you’ll get your health brought down to 2 or 3 points but it will still take hostiles eternity before they finish you off even when standing right in front of them. Another irritation are clipping issues where hostiles half the time are hanging outside windows which makes for some quite ridiculous scenes. It’s these minor downpoints that make the game lose a bit of its charm and will ultimately make it not be remembered for long.
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is a pretty no-nonsense game where you first and foremost need to blow everything up to afterwards worry about a possible story. Perfect for people who don’t want to think a lot but those that like a decent story will have to look elsewhere.