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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Electronic Arts
Developed By: Pandemic Studios
Genre: Third-Person Shooter
Players: 1-2
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: August 31, 2008
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written by: Marcus Prunty

Every so often a game touches on real life circumstances which the world is currently facing. The wars fought over oil and powers have been captured in Mercenaries 2. When you begin the game you get the choice of picking 1 of 3 mercenaries to do battle with--Mattias Nilsson, Jen Mui, and Chris Jacobs--each having their own specialty. Mattias for example can recover his health faster than the other 2. However who you choose doesnít impact the game or give you any kind of different ending. They are all working for the same thing money and destruction. The only difference between the three main characters is personality and the varying one-liners delivered.

The game takes place in South Americaís own Venezuela. It seems the country is in the middle of a civil war with several factions fighting over oil and power. The Venezuelan army is attempting to maintain order, however due to the differing factions; theyíre unable to maintain the piece within the country. As one of the three mercenaries, you will go where the money is which means that you will do jobs on behalf of the many factions who are all vying for power. Within one of your first missions, you agree to do a job for Ramon Solano only to be turned on in the end. Upon completing the job, Solano tries to kill you, fortunate for you he only manages to shoot you in the butt while trying to escape. Plotting revenge, you work with the other factions in order to find Senior Solano and thus begin the adventures of Mercenaries 2.

The various missions that you will take on include attacking and/or destroying possessions that belong to fellow factions. There are a total of five factions--Universal Petroleum, The Peopleís Liberation Army of Venezuela, The Chinese Army, The Allied Nations and The Piratesóall which will turn on you with a drop of a dime. When you are performing missions on their behalf, they love you, however once the job is done and you are working for someone else, you are on top of their hit list. Lucky for you, you donít care about their feelings and just using them to get information in order to find the guy who shot you in the butt. But when you do have a faction on your side, you gain access to various weapons, vehicles, airstrikes, etc. all of which can be purchased.

Within Mercenaries 2, you will be doing a lot of running, shooting and blowing things as you seek your vengeance on Solano. Upon finishing all the missions provided to you by one faction, you can move onto the next. Along the way, you will be required to recruit additional individuals in order to help you complete your missions and reach Solano. Along the way you will acquire a helicopter pilot, mechanic, an airplane pilot and your right-hand girl that will run your home base and feed you information on new missions to progress through the single-player campaign. Your right-hand girl will also inform you to return to base in the event you get stuck and not sure where to go next. Whenever you need to return to base, you will simply throw a smoke grenade in order to signal a helicopter to come pick you up from your location.

Though Mercenaries 2 provides an entertaining experience, the experience is hampered by several gameplay issues. One of the issues with the game is the computer A.I. A prime example of this comes during a mission where I had to steal fuel from a factionís camp that I am now an enemy of. As I arrived to the camp, the computer A.I. for the faction didnít do anything to me. I went up to the fuel that needed to be stolen, surrounded by enemies, and they didnít a single thing to me. It wasnít until the helicopter came to pick up the fuel and I took off running that the faction started attacking and trying to kill me. This issue is also present within the friendlies. Whenever you call them to hop into the vehicle to help you on a mission, you will often see them run up to the vehicle, but not get in. You will also see them running in a circle near the door without every getting in. What was interesting about these glitches were that as soon as I honked the horn on the vehicle, they hopped in. While not that big of an issue, it can get annoying over time, especially when you are trying to hurry up and start a new mission.

Another issue with the gameplay is tied into the audio of the game. During missions, if you get stuck, forgetting where you are to head next, your camp leader will repeatedly suggest that you return to base. Though not that big of an issue, it can get a bit annoying over time. Another small sound gripes comes with the phrase ďthere goes the mercenaryĒ. Whether itís a friendly or the enemy, itís said a lot throughout the game, making you wonder if the people ever made it past 5th grade. Besides these two issues, the audio is pretty well put together. The musical soundtrack is solid, boasting energetic tracks to fit the mood of the gameplay. The voiceover work is also pretty solid. The main characters are really out there with voicing their thoughts and concerns, which can harsh and comedic at the same time.

The visual presentation of the game is very well done. Whatís so immersive about the presentation are the fiery explosions that take place for air strikes to blowing up vehicles. The environments are vast and feature varying landscapes, whether they be jungle backdrops or factory settings. The character models are also nicely detailed and designed, giving each character within the game their own visual uniqueness. Mercenaries 2 has a very Grand Theft Auto feeling that you can hijack all the vehicles in game from motorcycles, to boats, to tanks and helicopters, as well as shoot various different weapons from RPGs to handguns. The character motions during these segments look very authentic and crazy at the same time. While the visual presentation is well put together, there are a few bugs that put a damper on the experience. One being getting you tank stuck on a stump or fire hydrant after rolling over a ton of cars.

For those who complete the single-player campaign first, you can look towards the multiplayer mode for some added fun. There is the inclusion of a co-op mode, which will allow a friend or a stranger to help you play through the single-player experience. When playing in the co-op version of the single-player experience, at times it feels like the game is a bit more balanced. You can look out for one another, and if someone happens to die in battle, you can simply walk near them a revive them, keeping the action going. Like any online co-op experience, whoever started the gaming experience is the only one who will have their story mode advanced. The other player will be able to acquire weapons and money. While the co-op mode is a nice addition, the lack of a full online multiplayer experience dampers this game from providing the total package.

Despite its many issues, Mercenaries 2 provides a solid experience. With its open world environments, plethora of vehicles and weaponry, Mercenaries 2 provides several instances of non-stop action. For those who are fans of the Grand Theft Auto series, especially GTA14, will appreciate the grandeur Mercenaries 2 provides within its environments and gameplay experiences. Considering you can pick up this game brand new for $19.99, itís definitely worth your time and money.


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