Mercenaries 2: World in Flames Review

The mercs return in World in Flames.

Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 20th October 2008

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

  • Developer: Pandemic
  • Publisher: EA Games
  • Release Date: 5th September 2008

Mercenaries was one of my favourite games of 2005 with its open gameplay, huge explosions and massive battles. So I was expecting a lot from this year’s next generation follow-up which promised to be bigger and better then its predecessor.

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames sees the original group of mercenaries return this time in Venezuela where a businessman has taken control of the country with the aid of an army general and a group of mercenaries and it’s up to you to put things right, especially after it was made very personal when they double crossed you and shot you in the arse.

As well as the characters from the original game you are also teamed with several non-playable support characters that aid you in your contracts. These include a happy go lucky Irish helicopter pilot, an angry female mechanic and a drunken Russian jet pilot.

Your helicopter pilot transports you around the games massive environment between friendly occupied locations. He will also come and pick up supplies you find such as fuel, munitions or crates of cash you find in various factions camps. Your mechanic will make all kinds of crazy custom vehicles for you to use and aid you in completing contracts. All you have to do is find her the boxes of hidden spare parts. You’re drunken Russian recruit will aid you with air strikes on your desired targets, although as he’s permanently he may not always hit the target?

Each time you call in air support it costs you fuel which you have to replenish throughout the course of the game. This is a fairly annoying system as you can often get left short as you can only hold a fairly small amount initially. It also requires you to manage your team in a way you didn’t have to in the previous game diverting your attention away from the games action.

There also seems to be a couple of flaws in the support system, when you call in support you are required to throw a smoke grenade to mark your position. However these sometimes fail to go off giving you a message saying landing zone blocked despite being in an open space. Also your helicopter pilot seems to have some issues with his accuracy as he will often miss the marked area completely dropping your much needed supplies down a hillside or worse at the bottom of a river!

As mentioned above the game world in Mercenaries 2 is enormous and it ranges from war torn cities to dense jungle, also unlike in the original game you can now take to the water which is a welcome addition to automatically dying if you fell in the wet stuff.

As you would expect the game offers a range of vehicles for you to get around in, including a whole host of new additions not available in the first game. Motorbikes, boats, jet ski’s and of course those crazy custom vehicles are all new additions whilst tanks, trucks, APC’s, jeeps, cars and helicopters are all still available for you to hijack. Hijacking helicopters has been made easier with the addition of a grapple device that allows you to hook on to any helicopter flying overhead. Once grappled on you have to press a number of buttons in sequence to successfully hijack the chopper but its not difficult to pull of and you’ll be whizzing around the skies before you know it.

As with the previous game Mercenaries 2 features a huge arsenal of weapons to create mayhem with, assault rifles, machine guns, RPG’s, grenades, C4 and anti air missiles are just some of the weapons on offer. You can also call in services from the games factions, for a price such as air attacks and artillery strikes. The game features a shop system like in the previous game, however all your purchases are delivered by your aforementioned helicopter pilot so make sure you’re in a nice open space before calling for any expensive items to be flown in.

Missions are pretty much the same as those featured in the original game, liberate area A, capture enemy X and destroy building M. Contracts all have their individual rewards but can also pit you against an ally as each faction in the game has their own goals and objectives to achieve. The game features a huge amount of contracts for your mercenary to complete so you’re never short of something to do and it should take quite sometime to get through everything.

Allegiances are a lot more flimsy in Mercenaries 2 and it doesn’t take much to upset allies and sometimes you can be left wondering what exactly it was you did that made them turn on you. However, it’s easy to put things right with a monetary bribe.

The game offers up a pretty good challenge, enemy AI is good but not the best. They do the basic things right such as take cover and throw grenades at you. They are also pretty accurate with their gunfire, although they do have a tendency to get over zealous and run out at you. To add further to the challenge they will often call in reinforcements meaning you can quickly find yourself seriously outnumbered with enemies coming from every conceivable direction.

Mercenaries 2, features a good physics system when it works! It seems to be rather inconsistent. For instance when riding a motorbike you can quite happily drive into a tree and smash it to pieces however you may not be so lucky with the next one and you could end up hurtling through the air. The same seems to apply with cars, drive into another one and watch it fly out of your way, however the next time you could be the one flipping into the air. The game also features other slight glitches most of which I have already mentioned, however the most annoying one I encountered was after a short slide down the side of a hill my characters life nearly completely drained despite the fact it was regenerating during the slide?

Adding to the fun factor of Mercenaries 2 is the ability to play co-operatively over PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, which also adds to the lasting appeal of the game as you and friends try to take on the various contracts and cause mayhem in the process.

Graphically Mercenaries 2 looks great, character models are good and move in a fairly realistic way, vehicles aren’t the most varied and it’s not uncommon to see the same cars and trucks over and over but they all feature a good amount of detail. The game environments are impressive with massive amounts of detail and lots going on all around you and the skies are filled with jets, planes and helicopters. Factions are constantly battling with each other and normal civilians can be seen fleeing the cities in cars loaded with their possessions. Explosions in the game are done in an exaggerated Hollywood style that send flames and debris all over.

Sound in the game for the most part is excellent, the games soundtrack is very fitting and weapons fire and explosions are all very good. There’s a lot of background noise for you to absorb such as people talking to each other, although this can get a little repetitive. However the constant weapons fire in the background is a very authentic touch. The games sound does trip up a little with the occasional odd bit of voice acting but for the most part it’s performed well.

Mercenaries 2 serves up a good playing experience and if I’m honest it could have been great if not for a series of bugs that whilst aren’t the worst I’ve experienced are frighteningly annoying and do nothing more then hinder your progression through the game. A good game that could have been great, like it predecessor.

Review Score: 7.6/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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