Mercenaries 2: World In Flames Review
If you don’t pay your mercenary, you better
have a damn good reason!
©2008 Arthur Kotsopoulos:
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is the sequel to Pandemic’s 2005 release, Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction. It is now 3 years on and here we are with another healthy fix of carpet bombs, turret-mounted jeeps, and a bad ass Swede sporting a Mohawk that’s the envy of every heavy metal fan around the world.
World in Flames takes place in the beautiful land of Venezuela, and although you may be quite tempted to simply drive around and take in the sights, there are actually bigger fish to fry. Greeted by an old friend, Blanco, Mattias is introduced to Venezuelan millionaire, Ramon Solano, who has asked Mattias for his services in rescuing his close friend, and Venezuelan Army General, Carmona.
Upon rescuing Carmona and returning him to the villa, Solano makes 2 crucial mistakes, he doesn’t pay Mattias his fee and then tries to kill him. In failing to kill Mattias he does manage to shoot him in the arse. This provides ample reason for the game to be set in Venezuela, and also gives meaning to the destruction you leave behind. Revenge on the man that shot you in the arse, plain and simple.
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Like the previous Mercenaries, different factions occupy different areas of Venezuela, such as pirates, an oil company, and the Venezuelan freedom fighters who have their own reasons for setting up shop in Venezuela. These factions will provide you with various contracts, most of which will require you blowing stuff up and wreaking havoc.
Completion of these contracts not only earns you cash and rewards for your efforts, it also gains the factions friendship. Friendship with each faction is crucial as if they are hostile towards you they will shoot on sight, and that can be quite a hindrance when it comes to your ability to freely complete certain missions. If they become a huge nuisance then you will need to either take out targets they have given you, blow a few buildings up, or pay them cash and they will then act as if nothing ever happened.
Be warned though as their pockets are seemingly bottomless you may see yourself paying in excess of $5,000,000 at times to get on their good side. With friendship though comes greater access. Each faction has a couple of bases that you can capture for them. These then act as helicopter drop of points, which allow you to move easier around the map. These bases are also where you buy your supplies, such as vehicles, ammunition, and also fuel upgrades.
Fuel upgrades are a must, as everything you need in Mercenaries 2 requires fuel. Wanting a carpet bomb dropped could cost you up to 300 fuel, so you need to make sure you have enough fuel and have upgraded, so you never walk into a mission with nothing. The bigger the bomb/vehicle the more fuel required to drop it into the battlefield.
Fuel isn’t a rare commodity in the game, and you can find it almost everywhere, whether it’d be a blown up vehicle or a fuel tanker that you signal to get picked up. You will never run out of options when tackling contracts.
Now you’d think that 3 years on from the original, Mercs 2 would be not only be a graphical powerhouse but also an open sandbox game like no other. Now while it is a game like no other, it falls shorts in areas where you’d expect it to excel. AI is one major downfall of the game. There are many times when you will raid a base or attack buildings and see enemies sitting on turrets and doing nothing, sitting in cars and not moving, and some times the enemy can be seen running off into the distance behind rocks, then running back out again.
Another large issue is the graphical quality of Mercs 2. While certain aspects of the game look breathtaking and excellent in 720p, such as mountains in the distance and explosions, which I must say Mercs 2 does exceptionally well, certain textures look bland, civilians are uninteresting and the fauna looks too plastic and fake.
These few problems are the only real big things wrong with Mercs 2, so you really don’t have to worry about anything else other than getting the contracts completed and laying waste to everything in Venezuela.
One option Pandemic have introduced into the world of Mercenaries 2 is that of co-op. There isn’t anything better than jumping into a game with your best mate and signaling air-strikes left right and center, and having a good laugh about it. Pair this up with the vast amount of vehicles, guns, and air strikes at your disposal, and you sir have a winning formula for fun, destruction, and carnage that is every mercenary’s dream.
Much can be said about the games audio though, as listening to the smooth soothing voice of Peter Stormare is good and all, but a lot of dialogue is rehashed and repeated and you will grow quite weary of some lines.
With his dialogue you get a feeling that he wasn’t as excited and up to the job of voicing Mattias, as at times he often sounds depressed, dopey, or on a high, so it’s a real mixed bag with him. Explosions, shooting guns/turrets and some car engines sound great when playing the game with a 5.1 surround sound setup, yet the audio still falls short in a few areas where you would again expect it to excel. Lip syncing, voice acting at times and certain cars sound as if they are about to die are the main culprits in this area.
Couple those audio issues with an almost invincible Mercenary who can free fall with no parachute from heights of 500+ metres and survive to tell the tale and Mercs 2 passes the threshold of reality and enters into the realms of plain stupidity.
Sitting at around the 10 hour mark if you speed run through the game, and around the 20+ hour mark if you take the time to complete every contract, blow every building up, find every spare part, and unlock all supplies. Mercenaries 2: World in Flames does what it always intended to do; be a game that has a simple storyline that warrants the destruction of the land. It’s fun, it’s explosive and it is a playground with a variety of different air-strikes at your disposal to eliminate the enemy.
©2008 Arthur Kotsopoulos: