written by Blain Newport on Wednesday, August 26, 2009
THIS REVIEW IS STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS. DEAL WITH IT PINK BOY.
Ker-BOOM! That's basically the point of the Mercenaries series. They're open world action games set in modern times where you play a mercenary doing jobs for various factions.
Mercs 2, the PC version especially, has a lot of glitches and annoyances.
Here's a boat slowly rotating in the air for no reason. Aiming is sticky because it's designed for a game pad, not a mouse. Sometimes zooming gets stuck, making sniping a little bit of a pain. There are missions where you can lose because of suddenly getting shot by an off screen enemy with almost no warning. Button prompts for certain events are confusing.
I forgive it, though. For one thing, I paid almost nothing for it, which always makes me more willing to overlook glitches that aren't game breaking.
The world the game takes place in is very ridiculous.
There's ordinance and palettes of cash strewn all over. In the picture above, I just found a cluster bomb sitting near an outlying house and called in my chopper pilot to pick it up. He carries it back to base, and now I can have my jet pilot drop it on something. Not only that, but it takes him almost no time to come pick it up. And my jet pilot can drop it on almost no notice.
Speaking of ridiculous, here I am having just used a grappling hook to attach to an enemy helicopter I am in the process of hijacking.
So why put up with all this weirdness?
Because you get to blow lots of stuff up.
And you can have pretty helicopter fights.
And you can call in air strikes. And you can attach an artillery targeting beacon to a jeep and drive it through an enemy base at full speed, staying just ahead of the falling shells. You can plant C4 on a jeep and drive it towards a building. You can use a helicopter winch to pick up a giant gas container and drop it on an enemy base.
It's basically single player Joint-Ops: weapons grade stupidity.
4 of 5
Technically the game has co-op, but it's only through EA's servers, so who knows if it'll be available by the time you read this. I'm hoping to try co-op with Chris and / or my brother.
I can't help but compare the game to Just Cause. Just Cause has cool stunts and lush green environments and clouds you can fly through, but the action isn't nearly as good. That's not to say Mercs 2 has great action, but the action is at least forgiving. If you fail to hijack a helicopter, you can survive the resultant thousand foot fall. You can take a shot in the face from a tank. It's like the game is always on casual difficulty. It feels like Far Cry 2, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Mercenaries, and Just Cause are very much of a kind.
I hope all these series can continue to get sequels and cross pollinate because I never get tired of hijacking a vehicle, rolling into an enemy base, and wreaking havoc. I love that the fun of Mercs 2 is not winning but in exploring different ways to get the job done. On my first playthrough I took out some tankers by hijacking a helicopter and using the guns on it to detonate the fuel tanks on the deck. The second time I snuck up next to the tanker in a tiny inflatable dinghy and put an artillery beacon on the side, driving away giggling like a fool. I'm in a second playthrough and there are still a lot of vehicles and air strike types I've never even seen.
Mmm. Tasty devastation.