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The original Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction title included an entertainment factor that could not be denied and was difficult to put down. A basic concept gave you an area to war upon, a host of military vehicles to use, a amazing arsenal of weapons to select from, and then gave you the okay to cause as much damage, chaos and mayhem as you could manage.
Mercenaries move to the PS3 opens many additional doors for the developers, allowing them to create a more detailed, immersive universe for you to blow apart, piece by piece. Mercenaries: World in Flames is the newest title in a series that takes you to Venezuela this time around to sell your services and skills to the highest bidders in a war over the countries future and the oil resources that keeps the money flowing.
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The Good Parts
Mercenaries: World in Flames is adrenalin-filled wanton destruction, chaos, and mayhem that will certainly provide entertainment for a segment of fanatical gamers only looking for a destructive environment that blows up beautifully.
The game seems to be set up more for two-player action as the single player is kind of bland and easy; in single player if you die the game is over, with the two player you can revive your partner if he dies with the push of a few buttons.
The graphical presentation is excellent, beautifully detailed environments that destroy wonderfully, immersing your senses in a world of brutal, yet fun and mindless violence.
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The Bad Parts
Too many entertainment killing bugs exist in this title for me to recommend it, graphical glitches and dramatically cut frame-rates at times during game play made me spend a lot of time screaming at the screen.
The weapons seem ineffectual at times; weak explosive effects and inconsistent results take away from this titles entertainment value big time.
The AI really needs work in Mercenaries 2: World in Flames, at times I would find a faction soldier just staring at a wall, or the enemy AI would get out of a vehicle as I approached and just allow me to take it without a fight. The ally AI was even worse at times, a case of dumb and dumber, often just running forward with no regard for safety or the mission.
The first few missions provide a fun level of entertainment, but then they just blur into the same kind of adventure, the missions need more variety in objectives and goals.
I found the weapon obtaining system to be a little tedious; having to go into a shop, purchase an item, and then go outside and call the weapon and then wait was far too many moves.
The voice acting is too repetitive, always saying the same words over and over became boring very quick, and variety is always a better choice.
I found there was actually no need for me to shoot my victims, I could just run in and bash their heads in to get the job done just as efficiently. The missions were also too easy at times, all I had to do was drive in and do a straight forward attack and it usually worked.
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How does Mercenaries 2: World in Flames look?
The wonderful and immersive maps allow for the destruction of everything, accept the rocks, turning them into destructive playgrounds that will keep the senses occupied for awhile. The presentation of the map elements is only okay when compared to the games being developed these days, the vehicles, characters and buildings are passable, but nothing to write home about. The visual effects are good, with explosions that change depending on their distance from you, and scenes of you hijacking any vehicles you decide to take, if you can hit the correct sequence of buttons, available for you to look at.
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Sounds of the game
The voice acting needs work, more lines would help, and a director who knows what over-acting is, would certainly help. The only character that had any real good one-liners was Mattias and this was in a ridiculously over the top accent. The sound effects on the other hand are solid, the sounds of gunfire and explosions providing a good level of sensual immersion and the soundtrack is appropriately fast-paced for an action game
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Sounds of the Game
The story line starts with you agreeing to do a job for one Ramon Solano, scumbag on the rise in the cut-throat country of Venezuela where the story takes place, who shows you his gratitude by stiffing you of your fee for a job completed.
Pissed, you decide to go on a campaign to exact revenge by bringing him down, it never pays in your trade to let people think your weak, and examples must be set.
Venezuela is currently embroiled in a revolution involving several factions, with the control of oil as the central story of the war. The Venezuelan army is struggling to maintain control the chaos and keep control of the country, despite competition from a number of internal factions within Venezuela. The five different factions you will do jobs for in the country are Universal Petroleum, the People's Liberation Army of Venezuela, the Chinese Army, the Allied (US) nations, and Rastafarian Pirates.
A simplistic game dynamic of you completing a mission for one faction, making enemies of the other four factions, usually temporarily, while the customer is happy with you if you complete the mission and will then let you land at their outposts and buy air support from them. Unfortunately, you're not able to play one against the other, which would have been a neat dynamic, and the factions who don't like you will shoot at you on sight.
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The co-op mode is fun, if you don't expect too much, and can just enjoy what content and entertainment the experience does provide; the only real content and entertainment of note being the wanton and utter fun of being able to destroy everything in a virtual world. The world is huge and open, there are dozens of vehicle types and attack possibilities exist at every turn, even random soldiers on the map will shoot at your helicopters and other vehicles. The size of the world can be a pain at times, it seems to go on forever, and if you are killed you have to start at home base again.
The ultimate goals of the missions and contracts you sign with the factions don't have enough variety, they do have high-profile targets for you to take out, but the ways you earn money are always the same. The variety of vehicles include attack helicopters, motorcycles, Sea-doos, tanks, and boats that all add to the titles entertainment level, giving you options for fun other than just destruction.
The large amount of bugs that can occur with this game take away almost all the entertainment value when they appear, it's very frustrating to have a helicopter vanish when your in it, see turrets floating in midair, and even have your allies shoot you for no apparent reason.
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Sounds of the Game
Ultimately, I don't recommend Mercenaries 2: World in Flames to gamers expecting the same level of entertainment they have come to expect in the games being developed these days. The title has far too many bugs, glitches, and frame-rate problems for it to be more then a brief stint of entertainment, even if you just want to destroy things, which this title does very well, you will quickly become bored and start looking around for something with a little more challenge.
Certainly, World in Flames has a few elements of note, the first few missions are fun, but then the entertainment disappears without the necessary variety to keep it pumped. The missions also don't provide enough challenge for me, and I expect most gamers, being as easy as attacking with very little regard to personal safety.