Mercenaries 2: World in Flames - Xbox 360 review

As gaming concepts go, none seem quite as fun as the idea behind Mercenaries. Namely offering you a huge world to wander around, allowing you to blow whatever you like to smithereens, and get paid a tonne for the privilege. Sweet.

As you might have noticed from the hugely frequent TV ads currently doing the rounds, the mercenary lifestyle is one that fans of action films will come to adore.

Playing as one of three Mercenaries, this sequel is all about revenge. It transpires that some silly sausage used your services, but is refusing to cough up the dosh. A daft mistake when you consider what a mercenary is all about.

The story admittedly is pretty terrible. The voice acting is terrible, the plot laughable, and it’s about as brainless as the Die Hard films. But when this is all about the balls out action, what did we really expect?

As promised, the world is huge and full of buildings to blow up. Hitting a huge skyscraper with a rocket will see it crumble, with a fantastically gorgeous explosion filling your screen. But, there’s a few problems coming from this simple little action.

Firstly the game world you’ll be causing merry hell within: it’s pretty bloody enormous, but that doesn’t make things any more exciting. It just means that your journey from one contract to the next is slightly longer, and sadly not packed to the brim with gorgeous backdrops to ogle.

Secondly, blowing stuff up might be fun, but it’s not always in your best interests. Different factions will pay for your services if they like you enough, and just one stray bullet is enough to make them very displeased with you indeed. So simply wandering around and blowing buildings into dust makes about as much sense as urinating on an electrified fence.

As good as the variety of weapons on offer is, they don’t feel all that chunky in your hands. Every weapon seems phenomenally underpowered, with even a single civilian taking a dozen shots to fell. Very odd indeed. Almost as if everyone is clad in flak jackets from head to toe.

Though there’s always the explosions to cheer you up. Cause a wickedly huge explosion and you’ll truly see next generation gaming at its most gorgeous.

Sadly, the rest of the game isn’t quite as stunning. The characters’ models are functional, with the Venezuelan landscape not offering even half the jaw dropping scenery you’d expect.

The enemies you’ll come across aren’t exactly Mensa members. Some of them will just casually watch their friends being blown to bits, and stand perfectly still as you wander up and punch them on the nose. Others will happily blast a rocket launcher at you from a few yards, oblivious to the effect it’ll have on their own anatomy.

Verdict

Mercenaries 2 just feels rushed. The idea’s fantastic, but the actual game doesn’t back it up. The poor story is only the starting point, with underpowered weapons and a horrific number of bugs (ever wanted to see a helicopter vanish into thin air? Just play Mercenaries 2!) adding up to make this one to miss.