equel to the excellent Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction released a few years ago, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames unfortunately does not live up to the standard set by its predecessor.
The game takes place in Venezuela and the setup for the story is that your chosen mercenary is working for a businessman named Solano. After rescuing the Venezuelan general that Solano wants, Solano double-crosses your merc and sets himself up to be the president of Venezuela. Itching for some payback, you travel around the country working for various factions in your search for Solano.
The game looks pretty similar to its predecessor, though it does have some tweaks and improvements. Where the game truly excels is with its explosions, which is a good thing because you'll be seeing plenty of them throughout the game.
There's no shortage.Building destruction allows for some creativity. It's possible to destroy structures in segments, allowing you to see ruined innards — a nice touch for those who enjoy causing virtual mayhem.
The controls are similar to what they were in the first game, and they are just as tight and responsive as before. The only issue that I had is that the gas and brake/reverse buttons were assigned to the face buttons as opposed to the left and right triggers. This is only a minor gripe, but being used to games that use the triggers for acceleration it feels odd to go back to using the face button, and as a result it was awkward to drive around. The face buttons do, however, work very well for movement when it comes to piloting helicopters.
Gameplay is where Mercenaries 2 starts to fall apart. While there is a wide variety to weapons to find, the all feel and perform roughly the same. This makes picking up new ones rather pointless unless you're running out of ammo for what you currently have.
The whole experience feels stunted, too. The first Mercenaries gave you free control over what you did. You could go exploring and find your targets or you could work for the various factions and get intel from them. The game was truly open-ended.
In Mercenaries 2 you don't have a lot of options. You have to work with the factions to advance the game. Sure, you may have choices in that some missions are elective; and you do have the freedom to finish the mission in whatever manner you desire; but the game feels shorter as a result. As for the optional missions, there are two types: take control of outposts and get from point A to point B, with element C added. The game manages to make these pretty boring to do. Outposts are easily taken over and are exclusive to a certain faction. It would have been far more interesting if factions were fighting over set outposts and you had to decide which faction to back. The only reason why you would even bother with these side missions is that completing them adds items to the shop.
Co-op is, to be fair,
a blast with a friend.And the shop is another issue. In the first game the shop was easily accessed and things were added when the factions liked you. In the sequel items are added once missions are completed, then you have to travel to the factions outposts to buy the items you want to add to your stockpile list. While this does ensure that you only use items that you want to use, it comes across as a way of extending the lifespan of the game.
There are many glitches. From never-ending falling animations, odd edge-detection and losing the ability to use personal explosives, there are a wide variety of issues to be found. This is inexcusable for a game that's been delayed constantly.
The strong point of the game is co-op, which is a blast with a friend. There are some limitations in that it's online only, you have to stay within a certain range of each other, and your guest can bring anything from their stockpile with them in game.
But that point's not strong enough. Mercenaries 2 had high expectations but completely failed to meet them.