darth_jacen's Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (Xbox 360) review

A Sith Reviews: Mercemaries 2: World in Flames

Welcome to mercenary hiring class; now to the most important lesson, the rules of hiring a mercenary. Rule number one; always pay these one-man murder machines. Rule two, if you want to double-cross them, do it before they can figure your plan out. The final rule is, never injure said mercenary, and then let him live by failing to chase him down when he runs. Now that you know the rules do you: A) Let him kill hundreds of armed men, rescue your colonel, and then shoot him in the ass, but allow him to flee, B) Kill the mercenary the moment he arrives at the villa after completing the retrieval mission, or C) Pay him and add an asset to your organization? Logically if you want to live, you choose option C, but then I suppose this means your employer did not want to live; he chose option A. Thus, we begin Pandemic Studios' 2008 release: Mercenaries 2: World in Flames.

Once your employer Salono has betrayed you, your journey for vengeance begins. While killing hundreds of armed men at a glance is your business, you need help to get close to Salono and kill him. In Venezuela, many factions can aid you, for a price. Every faction has a level of hostility that fluctuates based on your actions. Doing missions for these factions will lower hostility and raise friendliness, while killing members of the faction and stealing their supplies result in less positive results. Money is another way to increase a faction’s love for you, but it is expensive. The main set of missions for each faction is to go take back an outpost from Salono's men. Once you have completed the takeover by force you gain a new landing zone, more oil capacity, and often times more resources. Taking outposts is usually quick and nets massive rewards, but to complete the mission you must call a strike team for the faction, these AI soldiers will run into the building to do the actual capturing. While this is an innovative way to mix using AI and you just rampaging through, it can suffer from the AI's lack of common sense or focus on the objective. Another optional assignment from each faction is to track down and either capture or kill other factions high value targets, or HVT's. Though HVT capturing will cause riffs with one faction, it will unlock more things to buy from other factions. Thus choosing who to attack and who to let live becomes important later on.

To capture an outpost, for the most part, everyone stationed there needs to die, and that is most certainly your bit of expertise. Employing a run and gun feel in a third person shooter is nothing new, but Mercenaries 2 does it well. Shooting is semi-accurate, easy to use, with quick reloading and manual aim, which all build together to make killing feel rewarding. With enemies having moderate amounts of health and dying with a single head shot, the system rewards you for taking the time to aim. Along with the shooting mechanic, the controls overall are tight. Driving, boating, flying, and running are highly responsive, without glitches or small breaks. While mechanics in Mercenaries 2 are sound, what shines is immersion and making you feel badass like your character. With features such as melee taking out multiple people at once, hijacking tanks, cars, and even planes in mid air. Hijacking becomes repetitive due to the action just being a sequence of quick time events. While some of these features break the illusion of realism, they fit in perfectly with the feel of the game

While you use shooting and hijacking to kill many people, nothing will lead to more deaths here than your old pal, the air strike. Airstrikes are one of the main draws, as they are visually devastating, leaving nothing, but lurid collapsed buildings in its wake. With every building in the game it would seem being destructible, there are hours of fun just leveling a town with air raids. Munitions in Venezuela seem to be rather unimportant as you will find piles of airstrikes, artillery strikes, and bombing runs laying all over the place; which your helicopter pilot can pick up once you have recruited him. While you are a killing machine, you are still only one man. During the course of the story, you will recruit several people to help in your attempt to kill Salono and earn lots of money. You start with Fiona; she is the head of operations at your base and gives missions and advice on how best to track Salono. You recruit your helicopter pilot, Ewan the Irishmen, during a mission for an early faction. Eva is your mechanic who gives you access to the grapple ability, allowing you to hijack planes and helicopters in mid air. The final member of your team is Mesha, a drunkard who fly jets and facilitates any bombing run or airstrike you ask. While all of these teammates add a lot in their own way they all have the same flaw, they speak the same few lines of dialog repeatedly.

While dialog is far over used and becomes grating it is nothing to the overall effect of repetition the game presents. Every mission is alike to one you finished not five minutes ago and there are many factions to appease to by doing these same missions. While this is a sandbox game and therefore the pacing takes a back seat, the story goes on for way too long. Once you think you have beaten all that needs beating you get the nice surprise of two more factions to appease to get access to a needed weapon. More than just the missions being repetitive and the story pacing slowly, the worst part of it is that it takes a good seven hours, depending on the order you do the missions in, to get a jet pilot! Without a jet pilot, you get virtually no airstrikes, which is a shining star for the game.

With loads of weapons and vehicles to kill people, Mercenaries 2 is fun, pure chaotic murderous fun. While there are issues and the biggest one being repetition the game is a decent game. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is worth a rent without question and if you can find it in a bargain bin you should grab it without hesitation.

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