Mercs 2 is fun. Lots of fun. It wasn’t the most hyped game, it wasn’t the most loved game and it doesn’t hold up very well compared to any big title. It’s the sequel to the hit Mercenaries Playground of Destruction, which was more fun than a fun-man wearing a fun hat on FUNday. Now, Mercs 2 made no impact in any genre or anything, if anything it just used up disc space. But past it’s bugs, it’s lack of any care-able story or any depth, it’s a fun little romp. More than a fun little romp, an absolute blast… for around a couple of hours.
Mercs 2 tells the tale of a mercenary, who you play as (you can select any of the three available) who does a job for a top politician but doesn’t get pay. This whole event sparks a trail of revenge, but it never connects to the player. I honestly didn’t care one bit about the story and I skipped most of the cut scenes (which just told us the names and what the bad people have done), it never shows any emotion and without that there’s no real incentive to care. The only reason I got through most of the actual story is thanks to a few of my mercenaries wisecracking remarks.
Without a compelling story, you’re left to wonder what to care about. Who to care about to be exact. The remarks made by your character are enjoyable, and they spice up the action nicely. Unfortunately there’s no real attachment to any of the mercenaries and the story is so weak that it never even makes you think twice about why you’re shooting people in the face. Running around clumsily with your gun and shooting people in the face kinda of has an empty feeling to it. You might think I’m getting a bit sentimental but the fun factor is reduced, without any motive or emotion.
Mercs 2 is set in Venezuela, of all places, and it goes from lush forests to green seas to drab docks. The environment is generally sorted into bits, generic, and all I’m saying is it would’ve been nice to just have it spread out. I know it’s easier to recognize that you’re going to the ‘Corporation’ to get a job, if you’re in a huge city, or the ‘Pirates’ if you’re at the docks… but still, have a little middle ground? Other than that, the game generally holds well in terms of presentation, although there’s a little grain effect and the character models never blink. (They must just have glass eyes)
There’s a lot of fun to be had in Mercs 2. You can grapple on to helicopters, hijack cars, drive a truck into a stronghold and detonate the charges you placed earlier or blow stuff up. It’s all fun, fun, fun stuff until you realize that everything is dotted with quicktime events. You know what quick time events are right? PRESS X TO NOT DIE, NOW PRESS SQUARE TO NOT DIE, TAP TRIANGL… yeah you get the picture. Well, they’re annoying and I’m sick of having to press buttons in an order, just to climb into a tank and blow things up. Quicktime events is just pushing buttons, this is 2009 not 1989!
In Mercs 2, you shoot people in the face, then go to some dude and ask for a job, then shoot more people in the face. If shooting people in the face isn’t getting the job done, you can always order a nuke from the nearby shop. All you do is shine some laser pen on the dude/ostrich/thing you wanna explode and the sky rains down fire. It can be largely enjoyable to watch an entire city crumble from exploding, but it can also be a lot of fun shooting people in the face. Although, the controls are loose and some weapons are quite overpowered.
So what would I call Mercs 2? A full fun experience? Not quite, there a few bugs and issues which spoil a largely enjoyable experience, and there’s also the lack of motivation. The story is virtually not there, and I’m quite certain that each character’s ‘personality’ is really just a gimmick. Even the entertaining catchphrases that each of them spout, they all seem kind of watered down. So what I would call Mercs 2 is… well it’s short-lived… very fun… I would call it rental title of 2008. Which is strange because I just so happened to actually buy the rental title of the year. Oh how awesome I am!