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Mercs 2, Venezuela 0

We take a ride down to EA's headquarters for a quick look at Mercenaries 2's co-op play.

On August 31 (September 5 in the UK and Europe), Mercenaries officially becomes a franchise with the release of the second game in the series, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. The early 2005 release of the original game, Playground of Destruction, feels like ancient history, and Mercs 2's path to shelves has been a long and winding one, with this year being the third year that the game showed up at E3. I recently got a chance to sit down with a practically final version of the game and play a bit of online co-op with Pandemic's Marky Domowicz, and now that I've seen both the co-op and the single-player, it definitely seems like you're going to want to play the final game with a friend.

Mercs 2 does it chopper-style.
Mercs 2 feels like it was built to play with a partner right from the get-go. As you're starting a game, you'll be able to choose if you want to make your session totally public, limited to your friends, or locked down to invite-only. This means that players can jump into your game at any time, depending on how you set it up. They'll also be able to jump out without disrupting your game or forcing you to quit back to some single-player version of the game. After seeing it in action, it definitely seems smooth--certainly smoother than most of the other games that have attempted to offer this style of easy-to-access co-op, anyway.

So what will you be doing when playing with a partner? Blowing up twice as much stuff, naturally. I played through a couple of missions that gave me and my Pandemic-based partner plenty of opportunities to destroy things, as well as opportunities to acquire more gear and munitions. The first mission had us sneaking onto an island by boat and calling in our chopper pilot to airlift some missiles out so we could use them to blow things up later. This mission mostly had us worrying about ground troops. The gun mechanics felt a little like Call of Duty 4 in that the left trigger lets you aim and snap to your target, making even long-distance shots fairly routine.


  


A second mission had us hot on the trail of some plane parts that needed to be destroyed in order to prevent whatever secrets they held from falling into enemy hands. This mission really showcased the personal touches of style that you'll be able to bring to the game. While it was very tempting for me to want to get in close and use grenades, or steal a tank and roll up on each plane piece with guns blazing, it's just as viable (and probably way easier) to sit back at a distance and call in airstrikes. Like the previous game, you'll be able to call in different types of support. If you want a vehicle, and you have the resources required to get one, you can call one in at any time. Airstrikes work the same way, but with a bit more instant gratification as you sit back and watch everything in front of you explode. There are even different types of airstrikes, letting you call in everything from your basic bombs to nuclear bunker busters. You... might not want to stand too close to the area of impact when calling in nukes. I learned that one the hard way.

The other reason to play co-op is that it can be handy to call in a friend when you need some help with a specific mission. While the game will scale in difficulty when you add a second player, the developers intend for the co-op to be a bit easier and more focused on you and a friend tearing up the world. Players that join a game won't advance their own single-player progress while in someone else's session, but resources earned while playing co-op will carry over into your single-player, making it handy if you want to stockpile a bunch of extra weapons and items.

This mohawk murders for money.
If you've been following Mercs 2 over the past few years, you've probably seen some footage of the game that maybe doesn't look so hot in the frame rate department. There was a reason why people started derisively calling it "World in Frames." Between seeing the co-op and seeing the single-player running at E3, it seems like Pandemic has optimized things quite a bit. The game seems like it will always run at a playable frame rate and at a pretty decent speed. Considering the game lets you see quite a lot of the environment when you're doing things like flying a helicopter, it seemed pretty impressive, overall.

But we'll have to see the whole game before passing any sort of judgment on it. Luckily for us, that day is soon approaching, as Mercs 2 has already gone gold on PS3 and the 360 version isn't far behind. The game is also scheduled to ship on the PC and PlayStation 2 at the end of this month. It'll be especially interesting to see how the PC version can hold up on higher-end machines, because as good as those explosions look on consoles, they'd probably look even hotter at 1680x1050.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
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Posted by Jeff
On August 31 (September 5 in the UK and Europe), Mercenaries officially becomes a franchise with the release of the second game in the series, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames. The early 2005 release of the original game, Playground of Destruction, feels like ancient history, and Mercs 2's path to shelves has been a long and winding one, with this year being the third year that the game showed up at E3. I recently got a chance to sit down with a practically final version of the game and play a bit of online co-op with Pandemic's Marky Domowicz, and now that I've seen both the co-op and the single-player, it definitely seems like you're going to want to play the final game with a friend.

Mercs 2 does it chopper-style.
Mercs 2 feels like it was built to play with a partner right from the get-go. As you're starting a game, you'll be able to choose if you want to make your session totally public, limited to your friends, or locked down to invite-only. This means that players can jump into your game at any time, depending on how you set it up. They'll also be able to jump out without disrupting your game or forcing you to quit back to some single-player version of the game. After seeing it in action, it definitely seems smooth--certainly smoother than most of the other games that have attempted to offer this style of easy-to-access co-op, anyway.

So what will you be doing when playing with a partner? Blowing up twice as much stuff, naturally. I played through a couple of missions that gave me and my Pandemic-based partner plenty of opportunities to destroy things, as well as opportunities to acquire more gear and munitions. The first mission had us sneaking onto an island by boat and calling in our chopper pilot to airlift some missiles out so we could use them to blow things up later. This mission mostly had us worrying about ground troops. The gun mechanics felt a little like Call of Duty 4 in that the left trigger lets you aim and snap to your target, making even long-distance shots fairly routine.


  


A second mission had us hot on the trail of some plane parts that needed to be destroyed in order to prevent whatever secrets they held from falling into enemy hands. This mission really showcased the personal touches of style that you'll be able to bring to the game. While it was very tempting for me to want to get in close and use grenades, or steal a tank and roll up on each plane piece with guns blazing, it's just as viable (and probably way easier) to sit back at a distance and call in airstrikes. Like the previous game, you'll be able to call in different types of support. If you want a vehicle, and you have the resources required to get one, you can call one in at any time. Airstrikes work the same way, but with a bit more instant gratification as you sit back and watch everything in front of you explode. There are even different types of airstrikes, letting you call in everything from your basic bombs to nuclear bunker busters. You... might not want to stand too close to the area of impact when calling in nukes. I learned that one the hard way.

The other reason to play co-op is that it can be handy to call in a friend when you need some help with a specific mission. While the game will scale in difficulty when you add a second player, the developers intend for the co-op to be a bit easier and more focused on you and a friend tearing up the world. Players that join a game won't advance their own single-player progress while in someone else's session, but resources earned while playing co-op will carry over into your single-player, making it handy if you want to stockpile a bunch of extra weapons and items.

This mohawk murders for money.
If you've been following Mercs 2 over the past few years, you've probably seen some footage of the game that maybe doesn't look so hot in the frame rate department. There was a reason why people started derisively calling it "World in Frames." Between seeing the co-op and seeing the single-player running at E3, it seems like Pandemic has optimized things quite a bit. The game seems like it will always run at a playable frame rate and at a pretty decent speed. Considering the game lets you see quite a lot of the environment when you're doing things like flying a helicopter, it seemed pretty impressive, overall.

But we'll have to see the whole game before passing any sort of judgment on it. Luckily for us, that day is soon approaching, as Mercs 2 has already gone gold on PS3 and the 360 version isn't far behind. The game is also scheduled to ship on the PC and PlayStation 2 at the end of this month. It'll be especially interesting to see how the PC version can hold up on higher-end machines, because as good as those explosions look on consoles, they'd probably look even hotter at 1680x1050.
Posted by Zergvasion

I'll wait for the reviews.

Posted by Oljud

Wo cant w8 Go Mathias

Posted by DualReaver

mannnnn, I cannot wait for this game the first one was sooo goood.

Posted by HumanTorch101

This game will freaking own when it comes out.  I loved the first one and I can't wait for this one.

Posted by RandomBullet

Mercs 2 will be flat out insane to play. Can't wait to start blowing stuff up once it comes out.

Posted by TheToecutter

I felt it looked better at e3 2007 than 08 in gameplay videos anyway.

Posted by MasterSplinter

August 31st is right around the corner..

Posted by FallenFatKid

i need  this game!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by LethalKi11ler

No thanks for me :s

Posted by IncredibleBulk92

If this game is as crazy as the first one was coop is going to be crazy.  I find it strange that the devs haven't talked about the fire tech in the game for a while, kinda worried they took some of that out... but to be fair they haven't talked about this game at all for quite a long time.

Posted by BlackHawk3422

looks sweet

Posted by PercyChuggs

Wow, I honestly thought that was the PS2 version being played. Maybe the video quality just isn't very good. Even so, I'll be renting this.

Posted by Terrell

I. NEED. THIS. GAME!!!

Posted by imHunt

Looks very straightforward. Go in base, kill or capture enemy. Blow up everything in your path. I don't see the lasting appeal. Maybe a good rental, if even that.

Posted by TheGTAvaccine

Ahh, the running seems wayyy too fast. I mean, it looked like you were running as fast as one of the vehicles...

Posted by PureRok

The game looks like it still needs a lot of work. I probably won't get it, just like I didn't get the first one.

Posted by Mjolnir

I'm going to miss the money ticker from the first game. Nothing was more satisfying than hearing that thing count up when you destroy something (well, besides the explosions).

Posted by CaptainCoke

Explosions look like they're from Twisted Metal 2...that game is from 1996

Posted by Jordan23

Hell yeah, I've been waiting on Mercenaries 2: World in Flames for quite sometime. Reading this article has rose my anticipation level ten more notches. Without the doubt - Co-op is going to be the shit!

Posted by roofy

whoa thats a first.
PS3 version finished before the 360.
i wonder if we will see more of that in the future

Posted by TheIneffableBob

I'm probably gonna pick this up on the PC.

Should be fun to play with some friends.

Posted by MisterSpiffy

Loved the first one.  Can't wait!

Posted by TwoOneFive

the graphics look like shit. the game will be fun though. but as far as destructible environments go, im waiting for the new red faction instead. 

Posted by BananaHammock

As a HUGE fan of the first one, I'm super excited for this game but there's something off about the run speed in this game. I don't know, probably just me, but it looks way fast.

Posted by DrPepper1990

definitely getting this game

Posted by JohnDeadly

Fuck this game. How can anyone respect a game that supports the BUSH REGIME'S foreign policy. If the gamer makers had any balls they'd set this game in Washington D.C rather than Venezuela. Over the past 8 years who has killed more innocent civilians, Hugo Chavez or George W Bush?

Posted by Canberra

my nabour also has a ps3 and cant wait to give co op a try
im super pumped about this game

Posted by Milkman

I am totally psyched for Mercs 2.

Posted by Scorched

explosions
jeff likes explosions

Posted by Jerr

They seem to be putting too much focus on large environments and explosions, you need more to make a good game. This one's still a maybe for me.

Posted by WizzyKid

Man... I need this game. Things blow up... reaaalllly good.

Posted by xruntime

This is the kind of game that looks like it can get old quick.

Posted by ZmillA

The destruction in this game just doesn't do it for me. Especially after reading about Red faction 3 and its deliverance of real next gen destruction. I don't want a buliding to just crumble straight down into a scripted cloud of smoke with a few added in debris chunks flying randomly. If I shoot a rocket at a building, I want the angle and force of it to determine how the building is effected. This just seems like mercs 1.5.

Posted by Black_Rose

I'm from Venezuela. Does that mean i lose?

Posted by MeatSim

I think this game is gonna be a lot of fun.

Posted by MaximusArtimus

I think I'm getting this for PC....but I'm going to have to try to find someone to play with :) anyone?

Posted by loserkid962

Because it's EA, I'll wait till i see like every review. Cause I don't expect much from EA

Posted by pbhawks45

Wow John, you're an idiot.

Posted by xplodedd

looks like pretty cool stuff.

Posted by jarryd

those graphics looked quite bad, was it the ps2 version. anyway the gameplay is what matters and it looked pretty sweet

Posted by Keyser_Soze

You know you can have contentious politics and what not in your game, but the moment I saw gameplay footage of this game, it looked like shit. Concentrate on making a decent game before adding in fluff on top of that. It looks like a high res Xbox 1 game.

Posted by ahoodedfigure

I'm so glad real people don't run that fast with so many rockets hidden in their body, who can reload and fire while running.  Warfare would be so much more irritating...

Posted by Gunslinger

  I'm pretty sure that same gameplay video was up on IGN before this post...

  Anyway, that's not what matters, I think this game doesn't look too shabby. I can see how people can think that the graphics look pretty bad, but I've seen other gameplay videos, and the looked a lot better looking than this one...

Posted by DavidSnakes

The environments were a huge turnoff in Mercs 1.  This looks like the same thing... definitely not gonna buy this.

Posted by Hexogen

I'm looking forward to this. The presentation isn't the best, but I couldn't care less as long as the game is fun to play.

Posted by Sharpshooter

Looking pretty sweet. Lets face it graphics arn't everything. Considering whats going to be going on and the scale its going to be going on at, it still looks pretty good.

 Oh and JohnDeadly the story isn't "Lets go to this country and get rid of this terrorist leader" it "Lets go to this country and kill this bastard that shot me in the ass"

Also it ain't Hugo Chavez that shots the dude in the ass, its a fictional dude that forcably takes control of Venezuela.

Posted by PureRok

"JohnDeadly
on Aug. 13, 2008

Fuck this game. How can anyone respect a game that supports the BUSH REGIME'S foreign policy. If the gamer makers had any balls they'd set this game in Washington D.C rather than Venezuela. Over the past 8 years who has killed more innocent civilians, Hugo Chavez or George W Bush?"

Well, considering that Bush hasn't actually killed anyone (I can't speak for Hugo Chavez since I know nil about him.), I think your question is kind of stupid and ignorant.
Posted by Scarecrow_

This game looks really impressive, and the showing of the game at e3 was nice to see the game optimized a lot since past years showings. I'm really looking forward to nuking people!

Posted by reversethedevil

Yeah so are you trying to say mercs 2 has a real world  political agenda?  do you not like to blow stuff up in games? get your priorities straight.

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