game first appeared on PlayStation 2 and XBOX back in 2005. It was an enjoyable GTA
-style blast-em-up that succeeded in becoming a game in a class of its own. The sandbox-style gameplay was taken a step further, and opened players to all kinds of gung-ho Commando
-esque action. It was larger-than-life, not totally photorealistic, and had laughs a plenty. Needless to say, gamers lapped it up. So, it’s no surprise to see the developer making a sequel under Electronic Arts under the moniker World In Flames
Following the extreme of the original, Mercenaries 2
pits you as a privately contracted 'militant' out for revenge against his previous client - who ended up betraying him and leaving him for dead. Nice.
Whereas the original Mercenaries
was set in Korea, this time around you’re in Venezuela as you track down the guys who set you up. Throwing the political commentary coin into the development fountain (where did that analogy come from?), oil is the big commodity in Venezuela with the country. Naturally, some bigwig is screwing with the oil, which leads to international crisis. Gotta fix that too if you want the cash monies.
Now, for those of you who don't ingest news, Venezuela is a country in the north of South America. Its current president is the socialist Hugo Chávez. Some freakish conspiracy theorists out there would have you believe that the government of the United States have already tried to dislodge Hugo. But they're exactly the kind of people who will lead you to believe that the CIA dislodged Chilean president, Salvador Allende, so he could be replaced by that lovely General Augusto Pinochet. Those sorts of people are, of course, utterly mad and should not be listened to.
Anyway, back to the game...
Which is what your character does by setting up their very own ‘Mercenary HQ’ to handle all the business that can be had with the political instability of the nation. Pandemic is keen to emphasise the personalities of those you control in Mercenaries 2
. You have the ability to play as one of three different characters, each with a specific method of approaching contracts. Their natures are brought out within the game too, with little quips expressing themselves in certain situations. I ended up playing as a Swede with a Mohawk, who is intent on blowing shit up. Hey, nothing better than a crazy Scandinavian to do the job well.
The Venezuelan world as depicted in Mercenaries 2
is quite realistic and representative of normal city life, with people milling about as you run past in absurd military gear. The trade-off is that your circumstances, and all you do in the game, is completely contrary to the serene life of the town where you begin.
Pandemic was very vocal about the choice of setting, alluding to the proposition that the title is more of a “summer blockbuster action movie” rather than an immersive, realistic game. It's something to let off steam, and to kick back and just have fun with, I was told. It appears the pressures of recent news about video games inciting violence (along with the fact that the Venezuelan public wants the game pulled
) has forced the developer to justify its position on the game’s existence - this justification seemed ever apparent in the presentation.
is even more extreme than its precursor, with the world being so easily destructible. It is even silly at points when it comes to what manner of things you can do to complete missions. In fact, you can hardly call it an impressionable take on international warfare. Even the soundtrack delivers a performance that you would expect to hear while watching an Arnie film. I found the much hilarity ensued when getting into jeeps and hearing the music change dramatically as I hit walls very unprofessionally. It’s a wonder I passed my driving test.