Background: I did not play the first Mercenaries, so my expectations were not high enough to be disappointed with World in Flames like the rest of the Internet. I completed the game three times to the end and have played with all the DLC and cheats. Captured all HVTs, played all missions in the single player. Experienced Co-op.
Story: The story in Merc 2 does not want you to take it seriously; it wants to give the player a possible logical reason to do some zany missions. The introduction movie of the mercenary getting shot in the butt provides the context for the rest of the game. You are a hired mercenary working for a politician in Venezuela. He betrays you and your character is out for personal revenge. Revenge for the physical pain, but mostly revenge for not being paid. You will be doing strange things to get your revenge like stealing rum from a rival faction and driving experimental boat/cars. It is interesting the first time you do it, but not the 2nd and 3rd time to unlock supplies for purchase if you want to get 100%. The story is not the selling point of the game and it has low weight in the game experience.
Life in Venezuela is calm before the Mercs arrive
Graphics: The graphics in Merc 2 are excellent, but not amazing. Pandemic did a really great job with explosions and making almost everything in the game destructible. Buildings that are leveled are gone permanently in the game as long as they are not mission related. It is fun to place charges on the building and "ride" it down as it crumples. They fulfilled the destruction aspect of the game nicely as well as having the game run at a consistent framerate in the amidst of explosions and draw distance
The use of the latest Havoc engine technology was a very good choice by Pandemic. Objects and vehicles have weight and physics. A few of the missions are built on the premise of keeping objects in truck beds and delivering them. The objects shift around realistically and do get knocked out upon impact. The winching of objects using helicopters is a personal favorite as it is amazing to lift a boat out of the water and drop it on enemies below to explode in a fiery explosion. Getting thrown out of a helicopter and watching the merc's bodies flailing unrealistically on the way down is hilarious.
Sound: Sound in this game is mostly good. Background music fits the mood of Venezuela. Explosion and gun sounds are somewhat realistic.
The AI and the three mercenaries love to say some of the same lines over again. The three mercenaries have hilarious things to say and you will hear it often. The enemies yelling the same things over again can get annoying but I tune it out. Overall the sound is a mixed bag, but it gets the job done.
Gameplay: The gameplay, the thing that matters most in good action games, is superb. It is only hindered by AI enemies you disrupt the fun in some missions.
Building destruction, escort, and assassination missions are the core of this game and are fun. Hijacking a tank and using it against the rival faction is pretty easy and the vehicle squishiness means that you will be getting another one very soon.
You are going to see this alot
Weapons: It is satisfying to bring down an air strike while your merc is in the kill zone. C4 really is the star of this game as a weapon. Not only can one c4 pack level a large building, it should be your primary weapon. Early guns are mostly useless because a melee attack is an instant kill. RPGs and other explosives are key to victory. Surprisingly, grenades are mostly useless and does very little damage to buildings; it is only useful for enemies.
HVT (High Value Targets) are people who factions want dead or alive. HVT missions are frustrating if you want to get them alive as enemy soldiers love to kill the HVT. Oh, the HVT is on an oil rig. Well, the enemy soldiers on board are very suicidal and will rocket you to the point where the entire oil rig comes down. Or another example is you have the HVT subdued, die, and then when you come close to the HVT, they are killed by a game glitch. The enemy factions much rather silence the person it seems.
Co-op: The drop in, drop out coop was a good idea and works most of the time. NAT 3 people will have problems connecting to people but not with people joining your game. If you join someone else’s game, the money and oil transfers over to your current game the next time you play. In co-op, you have to stay somewhat close to your partner and it is not a problem. If one person dies, the other partner has the ability to revive with triangle. If both die, then the mission is over.
Co-op is where people can get creative. Some exciting things to do: winch a tank with a large helicopter and have your partner in the tank. You now have a mobile tank offense. Need to destroy a large amount of buildings? Have one person distract the enemy while another winches objects into the buildings. Put a homing beacon on a car and have the partner drive it into the enemy territory. In a few seconds, the artillery strike will follow your partner.
The grapple is one of the best things in the game
Glitches: The worst glitches involve the enemy AI. There is one mission where you have to rescue a person from a top of a tall building in an enemy faction area. You can not directly fly up to the building because there is AA/Sam sites. So you have to take them out first. There is a very high chance that the person you need to rescue will fall/jump off the roof and you fail the mission. You really have to stay away from that building and quickly remove the AA. Luckily this glitchy mission is technically optional to beat the game.
Rarely, you or an enemy will get stuck in a wall. Enemy units say that you are behind cover or in a vehicle and you are not. Friendly factions also say enemy unit spotted when you walk by and there is no enemy nearby.
That's why the price of gas is so high
The bottom line: is Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is a game that fun to play. I wish there had been splitscreen coop. I would have liked vehicle drops to be much faster. I would like the enemies to be smarter. There is near instant payoff with the awesome explosions, airstrikes, and destruction. There is a lot of choice in how you can tackle missions and the game screams high replay value.
- Get this game if you like explosions, destruction, hilarious physics, and pure fun.
- Avoid this game if you can’t stand mindless AI, repetitive missions, annoying voice repetition or possible glitches.
PS3 reviews game: I like explosions! Put it in so I can show you how physics are really done. AI makes my CELL hurt. KA-BOOM!
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