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

Mercenaries 2: World Incomplete.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames carves another mark of disappointment for me this year.  After what must have been a tedious development cycle, I'm treated to one of this year's buggiest releases.  Without picking on the game's storied history, Mercs 2 certainly has its ups, but the negatives far outweigh the good.

The game starts out with your selected mercenary being double crossed and vowing revenge on Solano, who shot you in the ass and still owes you his payment.  The storyline is ripped straight out of any number of early-90's direct-to-video action movies.  The dialog is just as terrible, creating paper-thin characters in the process.  Misha, the drunken Russian jet pilot, is the only interesting character, primarily due to the voice actor who is either an American doing a horrible Russian accent or a Russian with an amazing accent.

The only true difference between the main three characters, aside from the one with breasts, is the attributes.  One runs faster, the other holds more ammo, and the next regenerates health faster.  Primarily, I played as Michelle, the mercenary who runs the fastest, since ammo and health is in seemingly limitless supply as it is.

Now, before I start harping on the game completely, blowing shit up is incredibly fun in Mercenaries 2.  In fact, tearing stuff apart is pretty hard to screw up.  Mercs 2 seems to get destruction to the edge of correct.  The effect of a towering skyscraper pouring down to the ground is pretty impressive and it only gets better after doing it again and again.  Blowing through town in a heavily armored tank is just as fun as it ever should be while plowing through enemy cars and military vehicles.

Calling in air strikes to get the job done quick and clean is really where the game shines and fails.  The effect of these air strikes are devastatingly powerful and I would spend every penny to use them anywhere and everywhere if it weren't for the flimsy equipment mechanic.  There's a long, unnecessary process of calling in an air strike, wherein I open up my PDA, which is essentially the primary pause screen.  From there, I go into my inventory, go into my air strike inventory, select the air strike I would like to equip, switch it out with one of my maximum-of-three equipped items, close the PDA, use the D-Pad to cycle through my equipped items, try not to move which will close my equipment panel, and then finally call for the air strike.  This is absolutely overly complicated and made me not want to use the best part of the game hardly at all.

While blowing up stuff is all well and good, despite the terrible interface, the paths in which the player blows things up are all pretty stale.  Mission structure consists of going to point X, blowing something up and maybe rescuing or escorting someone in the process.  Repeat for five hours throughout the story campaign and you're done.  Pandemic tries to spice things up with several other weapons, but nothing is nearly as effective as the standard Automatic Rifle and RPG combination.  Nothing else really makes the shooting feel more stable.  You can grab fifty headshots quickly just by firing randomly at dudes.

The most frustrating thing about Mercenaries 2 is that it isn't finished.  This is a game that could have been amazing, but ends up flat and lifeless.  It's fun enough to run through once or twice with a friend and gather up all those easy achievements.  Although, come to think of it, even those are bugged.  While unfinished, Mercs 2 is fun for what it's worth, but isn't necessarily worth your money with the holiday rush quickly approaching.  This game is okay, at best.
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Other reviews for Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (Xbox 360)

    Repetitive, broken, bug-riddled and bad. 0

    For developer Pandemic and publisher EA, releasing Mercenaries 2 at the front-end of the holiday rush seemed like a wise decision on their part. The first game, released in 2005, was well received by critics and gamers alike for its over-the-top but solid gameplay, impressive storyline and diverse and eccentric cast of characters. For the second game, the guys at Pandemic promised a bigger and better playground of destruction, with more explosions and, of course, more fun. They did deliver on th...

    3 out of 3 found this review helpful.

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