The particular stage I played took the sinister Swede around the city and out of the suburbs (by way of helicopter, blowing skyscrapers to rubble along the way naturally) to activate three different beacon points to call for reinforcements against a group of particularly nasty Venezuelan soldiers. As mentioned before, you can approach this in a manner of ways, Mercenaries 2
is intent on giving you freedom of choice.
I picked the helicopter and flew all the way to the mountains where the first beacon lay, but you can take a car and take that across the countryside too (although that method will take longer obviously). During the presentation I was shown how to use the objects in the environment - for example to take enemies out if you I (for some reason) didn't fancy using the guns on the helicopter. For example, using a huge grappling hook, a equally huge gas tanker can be picked up and dropped to create a makeshift bomb. The results are enough to force a tree-hugging, hippy to faint with shame: the surrounding forestry bursts into flames; ah, the smell of victory.
If you don’t fancy blowing stuff up for once, you can be a little bit sneaky using the many vehicles to hand. I managed to take over a Venezuelan tank and, whilst out of danger, drive towards my destination. As long as you don’t act out of turn, this ‘vehicle camouflage’ will mean the enemy will see you as their own... until you start attacking them of course.
When the brown stuff hits the fan, there are many different ways to kick some arse, including using said tank to take out the weak jeeps that the enemy tries to confront you in when you’ve been found out.
There are many different factions in Mercenaries 2
and pretty much all of them have their own agenda… an agenda that you can (hopefully) manipulate for a bigger pay packet.
Pandemic doesn't want to associate the player with the USA specifically, allowing you to choose your own factions to ally with; to be your own man so to speak. (SPOnG baggsies being Hugo!)
It’s all looking very solid indeed because, well, blowing stuff up (er, in a game) with reckless abandon is a great way to kill a few hours. There were some graphical hiccoughs that I noted, such as some odd pop-up on the textures of a few landscapes. More worryingly, it wasn’t always clear where I had to go without direction from someone who had played it before. But adventure’s part of the game of life, eh? These things are no doubt something to be ironed out by the time the title hits the shelves, and the progression from Pandemic’s E3 presentation is something else. You really can get lost in this expansive world.
For those without an Xbox 360 however, I was also given a little demo on the PlayStation 2 version. This is being developed in tandem with the main release. The ‘current-gen’ edition plays very similarly to the Xbox 360 one, with the controls slightly tightened and the missions completely different. It’s a method of making the experience on PS2 different, rather than being a poorer cousin to the next-gen counterpart, and the effort is appreciated.
There is also talk of a co-operative multiplayer mode too over Xbox Live most likely. No concrete details were given, but having two mercenaries on the loose would make for quite an enjoyable situation, particularly if the two happen to be pitted against each other. But from what we see here already, Mercenaries 2
appears to be on the right track for some more thrills and spills than the original. I was also assured that it hits stores this Autumn.