PS3 Reviews: Mercenaries 2: World in Flames Review

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Mercenaries 2: World in Flames Review

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Graphics:

 

6.9

Gameplay:

 

7.0

Sound:

 

6.9

Control:

 

6.5

Replay Value:

 

7.0

Online Gameplay:

 

6.9

Overall Rating:       6.9

 

 

Publisher:

Electronic Arts

Developer:

Pi Studios

Number Of Players:

1 Player (2 Online)

Genre:

Action

Release Date:

August 31, 2008

Switching hands from LucasArts to Electronic Arts, Pandemic's epically destructive Mercenaries brand has finally arrived onto the next-generation consoles with a sequel that stars the original cast of three. Initially planned for a release in Fall 07, the game ultimately underwent 10 months worth of delays, but it's better off for it. When we first played Mercenaries 2 at E3 07, the game was noticeably early and running poorly. But fast forward to today, and the end result is a rather decent action title.

The year is 2010, and you're thrown into Venezuela, where gang-lord Roman Solano hires you, a mercenary, in order to carry out some contract work for him. When you succeed with your job, Solano refuses to pay and attempts to kill your character. Obviously, your character escapes with no damage, but now it's time for some vengeance. Solano and his army of followers overthrow the Venezuelan government, and take control of it. So the game picks up here, and as one of three characters, you'll have the ability to ally yourself with a Private Military Company as a means of taking down Solano and his army.

As mentioned earlier, the original cast of Mattias Nilsson, Christopher Jacobs, and Jennifer Mui return to the sequel and reprise their roles in playable form. You'd think that with three different characters, you'd be treated to three totally different experiences, but unfortunately dialogue is largely the same for all three players, hurting things quite a bit, and making it rather pointless to have three playable characters. Additionally, the plot is more or less the same for each merc too. 

What makes Mercenaries 2 stand out among the horde of other action shooters out there is that it blends open-world gameplay with traditional action elements very well. For example, if you took Saints Row and added linear Army of Two-like segments to it as a means of progressing the story, you essentially have the gameplay of Mercenaries 2. But then you factor in all of the other features offered, and you've got an action title that is unlike others.

Mercenaries 2 is unique in that it allows the player to join factions as a means of earning point and getting to Solano. Factions will offer you money per job available, and the faction that offers the most should be your pick. Additionally, picking up jobs isn't limited to allying yourself permanently to a faction, as you have the choice of doing contract work on an individual basis or long-term. Depending on who you ally yourself will ultimately decide on which faction wins the war when the game ends. Your skills rely on the standings and outcome of your group. Furthermore, you have the ability to do some recruiting and create your own Private Military Company, giving the player even more control over the experience.

Now even though there are a horde of nice features with some solid depth, it's still important to note that the game itself can be rather enjoyable to play. You've got a slew of weapons to use, all of which are capable of destroying the objects around you. And there are over 130 vehicles/crafts for you to hi-jack and use; these crafts include everything from cars to helicopters to tanks to speedboats. One example of destructive interactivity is, if for example, you're using a tank, you can destroy a building and have it crumble over your enemies - effectively killing them from a distance.

A hub will be setup for you shortly into the game, this is where you'll spend some time planning out your next mission, and transporting from one saved hot-spot to another. The hub is very useful in that it will save you the hassle of having to traverse the entire gameplay region of Venezuela just to get somewhere. Seeing as how enormous the game's locale is, having the ability to travel from one point to another instantaneously is a great feature to have.

Unfortunately, the multiplayer offering in Mercenaries 2 isn't what I'd imagine it to be. Multiplayer gameplay is limited to just two co-operative players, and as much as we love co-op gameplay, especially when it takes us through the story, we love deathmatch modes just as much. The world of Mercenaries 2 is a practically ideal setup for some insane multiplayer modes, and it's a major disappointment that they aren't here. Having 16 or 32 player matches where everyone is competing against one another to win a contract would've been divine, and ultimately Merc 2's online offering feels like wasted potential. Shame.

Another complaint I can address with Mercenaries 2 is that at times it doesn't feel like a next-generation game. It lacks a certain pizzazz, thanks largely due to presentation and occasionally clunky feeling controls, in addition to repetitive gameplay. The controls are perfectly tolerable, for the most part, it's just that they don't offer anything but run, jump, and shoot. Some additional maneuvers would've been nice to make the controls feel a little more fresh. And the more you play through the game, the more you'll realize how redundant the missions become, creating that feeling of redundancy.

Presentation is lacking polish, as the in-game cut-scenes are horrifically ugly to look at, with image compression that rivals what we've seen of old PlayStation FMVs. I don't tolerate anything but superb clarity when it comes down to cut-scenes, as we're not dealing with a 650MB medium anymore - perhaps the dual-layered DVD is still limited in that regard (I highly doubt it), a 25GB or 50GB dual-layered Blu-Ray isn't. There's no excuses here. Furthermore, there are other visual oddities, such as bland texture details, last-gen animation, and character models that aren't exactly loaded with detail. Objects will frequently pop-up in the distance, but given the enormous draw-in distance and the size of the world, it's forgivable.

Still, as a whole, the game looks passable, and thanks to a decent framerate, it's very playable. You'll enjoy the sights of explosions, but don't go into Mercenaries 2 expecting a super fine image that is pushing your console to the limit. There are a number of visual issues here, but fortunately they aren't critical to the point of marring the experience.

The audio in Mercenaries 2 is also a mixed bag. While the soundtrack and sound effects sound pretty good, the voice acting is a bit on the bland side. Mattias' character, specifically, has very unusual delivery, as much of what he says sounds either slurred or awkwardly said. Then there's the all-too cheesy dialogue, which is a fault of the writing, and not so much the voice actors, but the audio suffers nonetheless. If you can get over the not so great voice acting, the rest of the audio sounds rather solid.

All in all, Mercenaries 2 is a decent game which can provide some good times. It is also a very flawed game that exhibits many issues, particularly technical, and some with gameplay. It doesn't offer the most robust multiplayer experience, the visuals aren't sparkling, the audio is a mixed bag, and the gameplay isn't exactly cutting edge. But the scope of the game is commendable and there's certainly a ton of potential here - I just wish that potential received some polish before it was given to us. Rent this one before you buy it.

9/16/2008 Arnold Katayev

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Comments (14 posts)

Anthony
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 @ 7:17:42 PM
Reply

I will get it when it goes down in price

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dillonthebunny
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 @ 7:21:03 PM
Reply

its a great game ..to a point.

as discussed in the forums the game has its good points, but its a shame that who ever tested this game was either in a rush or blind.

one of thes most annoying glitches is that im now at 45% through the game (taking it easy, destroying a lot).. and ive only now for some reason been able to hold grenades and C4. it wasnt a game thing, i really should of been able to do that from the start. just one of many minor glitches..

the game is fun, but is so flawed at times.

i hope everyone who has played Mercs2 can agree on this, and thats how amazing GTA4 is.

if this is what an established company can make in several years of development, it really shows how amazing GTA4 is and how much skill R* has.

I doubted that GTA4 deserved a ten out of ten, but if this is the standard of a 7/10 to 8/10 game.. GTA4 is most certainly a 10/10. the detail and world of GTA is incredible compared with Mercs.

anyway, Mercs is cools.. i love blowing stuff up, just a shame its not more polished.

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vulcaroth13
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 @ 9:53:12 PM
Reply

a lot of glitches way to many of them to be exact some times things are drawn up in the air. sometimes you get stuck on things. when you enter boats it seems to act wrong. i love the game its a lot of fun but i was disappointed in what happened to this game. it could have been so much better and the fact that ea is the publisher for this doesn't help ea with the anti-ea crowd any either. why is it so many of eas games seem to lack the polish to the games. army of 2 is lacking the same thing it had so much potential but it wasn't polished and refined any at all either. disappoints me very much so i loved the first mercs it was so much fun and what happened to this one hurts me because it could have been so much better. :(

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LightShow
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 @ 10:13:29 PM
Reply

I bet EA rushed this one.

now ive got to pick between Mercs 2 and Force Unleashed...

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Daedusian
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 @ 10:56:08 PM
Reply

Maybe they'll release an update? If they do that plus lower the price, I'll think about getting a copy.

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aaronisbla
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 @ 11:37:55 PM
Reply

i love the game but thats a damn fair score you guys gave it. Even if GTA4 didnt come along, this game lacks a good amount of polish. They need to hurry up and patch the bugs on it also.

I do love the physics when it comes to explosions...

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ArnoldK PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 @ 11:52:08 PM
Reply

Yeah, the game has a ton of potential and could've really used that polishing. I guess EA just didn't want to delay it again.

Thanks for the words, guys.

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Digby
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 @ 1:53:24 PM
Reply

I've been enjoying it as a rental, it'll be a purchase @ 39.99. I think it may deserve a 7.5 or so, but to each his own. Nice review!

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KidCallaway123
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 @ 4:12:03 PM
Reply

I was looking forward to this title... It looks like I will wait on it maybe pick it up used. I can tell you that I don't even consider buying a new game until I read the review for it here... You guys do a fantastic job helping us decide whether to shell out the $$$ or not!

Can anyone tell me is this a 2 player co-op like Army of Two with a split screen? Or can you only go co-op online?

Thanks

my bad I see that it is a one player game, that kinda sucks... For all of its faults the two player co-op on Army of Two was pretty awesome fun when played with a friend on split screen... I guess I will look forward to the next installment. Will there be another Army of Two??

Last edited by KidCallaway123 on 9/17/2008 4:17:56 PM

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Knightedrik
Wednesday, September 17, 2008 @ 10:49:58 PM
Reply

EA does it again.. What happened? The first game was so insanely cool.. This further proves my point, that EA ruins everything. They keep on cutting corners until its you, the customer, thats bleeding. The first game was made by Lucas Arts.. what the hell? George has the money.. why sell out to EA? I highly anticipated this games release.. and really wanted it to be cool, knowing all the while.. that EA made it and that it was gonna suck. Now theres a full fall line up of games, that will probably be sub par as well, being cranked out by EA.. Dead Space, Mirrors edge, etc.. I admit, I really would like to play them.. but I just really think that Im not gonna fall for it anymore. You all saw the Mercs 2 trailer and commericals.. they were awesome. So, what the hell happened?
Ben, Arnold, PSXextreme, Help us out here.. Should we really drop $60 on Dead Space? Will Mirrors Edge be any good at all? Or will these games be the bare bones, let downs like Mercs 2?

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NiteKrawler
Friday, September 19, 2008 @ 10:34:25 AM

I actually think EA did a better job with Mercs 2 than Lucas Arts did with Mercs 1. I hated the first one. I love this one despite its many flaws. I just think they rushed it. I think EA needs to get its head out of its ass and realize that they not only have the money and power to make the video game industry great, but as the world's largest publisher, they also have the responsibility to do it. With great power comes great responsibility. Come on, Peter Parker needs to teach them.

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bamf
Thursday, September 18, 2008 @ 6:13:22 PM
Reply

I thought the first game was rather boring, the missions where repetitive. So I haven't really been that interesting in Merc 2. The level of destruction looks cool, but that gets boring quick once you've done it a thousand time in an hour.

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LightShow
Sunday, October 05, 2008 @ 12:53:02 PM
Reply

okay. now that I've played it, i will agree that it lacks a lot of polish.

it looks like they had a huge game that wouldn't fit on the 360 disc, so they had to compress the textures A LOT.

not to mention the bugs! theyre everywhere!! if a decent QA team had this for about a week they could have eliminated all the fairly obvious glitches pretty easily

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DeadReaper
Thursday, October 16, 2008 @ 4:30:30 PM
Reply

I played the demo.

From what I played, I think this game is crap.

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