Mercenaries 2 is Great Fun, but full of Game-killing bugs.
Most people who will buy and have bought Mercenaries 2: World in Flames either A.) Played the original or B.) Love to watch shit get blown up. If you fit neither of these demographics, I can almost assure you that you will hate this game, and you need not read further. However, if you are in one of or both of those groups, you will more than likely really dig this game.
Basically when it all comes down to it, Mercenaries 2 is about capturing outposts for various factions. These factions include a band of Venezuelan rebels, China, the Allied Nations (USA), and even some pirates. You can choose one of three characters, all of which make a mild difference to the experience. Chris Jacobs, the African American mercenary, can carry much more ammo for his weapons than the other two characters. Matias Nilson, the Swedish merc, can regenerate health faster than the other characters, and then there's Jennifer Mui. Jennifer can walk and run faster than the other mercs. Some of the dialogue is different between the characters, but these differences are few and far between. You can pretty much safely play the game with whoever you like best, without worrying about their various advantages.
While capturing outposts for factions seems tedious and repetitive, and was one of the first game's major flaws, the missions have an addictive quality to them. Most of this is due to the graphical prowess of the Xbox 360, and the massive environments able to be created. No more are the repetitive environments from the first game, they've been replaced by the lush and tropical Venezuela, and what a huge country it is. What else makes these missions continously fresh is the prospect of new weapons. The airstrikes in Mercenaries 2 are astounding, and the destructibility of the environments is cause for endless mischief.
The only gripe with these graphics and immense playing space (there are no load times going from area to area, only between conversations and entering faction outposts) is the insane amount of pop-up you get. If you're taking a helicopter, you can see the area load before you, and it's a bit frustrating sometimes, especially when you see an anti-aircraft gun appear when it's too late to dodge.
The enemy AI in Mercenaries 2 is pretty bad. The developers seem keen on the "Quantity over quality" approach and just throw a bunch of stupid enemies at you and give them rocket launchers. This makes some missions hard, but for the wrong reasons. The bad AI is one of the glaring problems with this game. A great example of this is when one goes to hijack an enemy car with a mounted gun on the back. When you jump into the driver's seat, the gunner just gets out and lets you have the car. He doesn't shoot you or anything, and in the unlikely event that he does, you can make a quick getaway in the car.
One of the strategic angles of the original Mercenaries games was choosing your missions for different factions wisely. If you do a mission for one faction, you risk making another one mad. The same system applies for Mercs 2, minus the strategy. One simply bribes the faction with cash and presto, all is forgiven. While this makes the game easier, it draws from what made the first one so good.
Mercenaries 2 also offers co-op play, via Xbox Live. The trouble with this is that it's nearly broken. I was able to join a friend's game instantly, but whenever I would select "search" from the xbox live menu, I would get the sound, but no search would begin. This was the same for both quick and custom match. It's one of the more irritating bugs this game has.
Speaking of bugs, a lot of the achievements in the 360 version of the game are glitched too. I did the required actions for three of these and recieved no points. Let's hope we get a patch out there soon.
When it all comes down to it Mercs 2 is a fun game that has a few serious bugs and glitches. Had the game shipped bug-free it probably would've gotten a much higher score from me. The bonus missions and immense supply of weapons are sure to give this game replayability, and if you liked the first one you're probably going to have fun with this one, but some of the flaws with it are simply impossible to ignore.