When you can’t find the music to get down and boogie, all you can do is step back in time. So sang Kylie in 1990, conveniently predicting TSA’s Playback feature and this week we step back in time to September 2008 with Mercenaries 2: World in Flames.[drop]The game received a mixed response when it hit the shelves but has a none-too shabby Metacritic rating of 72%, perhaps not an essential purchase at the time but almost three years on and the game can be found for around six pounds and is well worth a punt.
Set in a fictionalized version of Venezuela you take the role of one of three ass-kicking Mercs. Mattias Nilsson is a mohicaned dutch mad mad with a perchance for violence, Chris Jacobs is smart-ass American with a love of guns whilst Jennifer Mui relies on speed to get the job done.
The play area is huge and inhabited by local Venezuelans, guerrilla fighters, oil companies, the Chinese army, a fictionalised version of the UN, Jamaican pirates and probably Sooty, Sweep and Sue if you look hard enough. Missions are available from all factions but by taking one side you will annoy another, thus making certain areas of the map a dangerous place to be.
Like a Michael Bay movie, the plot (and thankfully, acting) in Mercenaries : World In Flames takes second place to blowing things up. Vehicles, people, buildings, trees, oil rigs, pretty much everything can be blown to pieces using the huge array of weapons from a hand grenade to a spectacular bunker buster.
With around 40 missions and 100 side quests the game will fill plenty of hours and, despite a few rough edges, it looks and sounds gorgeous. Mercs 2 is a true sand box game and if you feel like ignoring the missions and spending an hour cruising round the islands on a jet-ski, you can.
What could be more fun than dropping a Daisy Cutter on a group of unarmed Venezuelans? Dropping a Daisy Cutter on your friends! Mercs 2 has an online co-op option for the entire game and it’s quite a hoot to play. Whilst writing this Playback I’ve had Mercs 2 on and there were plenty of co-op partners to be found online. Trophy whores will be pleased to know there are plenty on offer and it’s possible to Platinum the game on a single play through.
There are a few problems, most notably the repetitive comments your character spouts (Nilsson shouts “Bumper cars!” every time you crash) and the poor enemy AI, but when a game gives you the whole of Venezuela to destroy and a side mission which gives Motorstorm a run for it’s money (turbo boosted monster trucks!) it’s hard to complain.
If you want subtle tactical game-play look elsewhere. If you want to blow up a medium-sized country for the price of a Big Mac meal, Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is the perfect choice.