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

In the flurry of upcoming games Mercs 2 is rushed and unpolished.


  • Explosions are somewhat entertaining, probably the best aspect of the game.
  • Game does not take itself too seriously.
  • Co-op is very fun, at least for a few hours.

  • Said co-op is brought down by the inability to be more than a couple hundred meters from your friend.
  • Filled with glitches, bugs, and overall a sense of no polish and a consequent "rushed" feeling.
  • The 3 characters are ugly, boring, and uninteresting.
  • Story is forgettable.
  • Not a very long game (especially if you avoid the factions as much as possible).
  • Glitched achievements.

As you can tell from my overview on the pros and cons, the cons far outweigh the pros. What fun is to be had in Mercs 2 is short-lived and will most likely be with a friend.

Let's begin with the story. You are a mercenary who fulfills a contract with an employer, they refuse to give you your money at gunpoint and, narrowly escaping albeit shot in the ass (literally), you are out for revenge. Things happen along the way as you progress, resulting in taking over your enemie's villa as a headquarters and scrounging up a helicopter pilot, mechanic, and air pilot. Nothing fantastic.

The gameplay, as with any game, is the heart and soul. You have at your disposal the ability to melee, use explosives, and even call in airstrikes. Airstrikes are the most amazing part of the game, nothing like watching a giant missile (complete with parachute) hit a building. Or better yet, near the end of the game with you get a nuclear bunker buster and it brings down an entire bunker built into the mountains. Although the explosives such as grenades are useless, whereas C4 (which I hardly ever use in these games) is surprisingly effective. HP regenerates over time, but I guarentee you may as well put red saran wrap on your screen because the field of view becomes a throbbing red the more you are injured.

There's not much to talk about as far as gameplay goes, imagine any sandbox games and give them over-the-top explosives and you will have Mercenaries 2. Although, where this game falters is that there's just nothing to do. Either you will explode a building, kill a guy, or drive a truck full of rum and try to keep a required amount inside. Factions are iffy, because when you help one faction it hurts another. This makes it a problem, since factions are your "shops" and if you lose a faction, you either have to waste ridiculous amounts of cash bribing or time destroying their rival faction.

Co-op is fun simply because you can revive each other and run around like idiots. Then you realize, hey, my friend isn't progressing in the story (story progression in based on the host). Then the evident "why can't we go more than a couple meters from each other" is dropped on you. Get a few blocks away from your friend, and screens get fuzzy consequently forcing the game to throw up an invisible wall.

Then there are the glitches. New ones are found everytime the game is booted up. I've had problems with falling through the ground, having my character skin changed, unable to revive/verify targets, achievements not popping up. Numerous and unacceptable. Don't get me started on the AI which actually kill themselves, fire at air, and sit in cars all day.

As far as graphics go, Mercs 2 doesn't push any limit. The explosions/fire effects are my favorite aspect, but even some people might think it's only "okay." To be honest, I want dynamically destroyed buildings, not the same old jigsaw falling apart. Then you have pop-ins. Now, I realize every game has pop-ins but usually the makers try to input these at discreet points. Not here. You may be driving your car and all of a sudden a road blockade pops up that is consequently crashed into. Pandemic also skimped out on animations, imagine a person walking to a building... what do they do? Of course, disappear inside without even opening the door.

The sound is equally unimpressive. Lines are spoken terribly, wonderment is thought in how they found such bad voice actors. Listen closely when an enemy calls in back-up, exquisite indeed. All that's left are the guns and soundtrack, the guns sound mostly like guns and the soundtrack is decent. Again, nothing that stands out.

It's really hard to imagine how this game was released. With so many problems, I figure EA tried to rush the game out. Kicking off all the games coming out for the holidays, you're better off renting this one just for kicks to keep busy until Star Wars, Dead Space, Gears, Left 4 Dead, Fable, Fallout, you get the idea.

P.S. Achievement junkies, you can get about 800+ in a rental, but some achievements didn't unlock for me so be wary.
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