You know, when
you hire one of the top mercenaries in the world, someone with a reputation for
getting the job done, they take the job and accomplish it by leaving a whole lot
of bodies behind, and they you have the audacity to try to bump them off instead
of pay them … well, let’s just say that you likely get what is coming to you.
World in Flames, from Pandemic Studios and EA Games, is a shooter game that has
a lot of other elements working to give the title a rich and entertaining vibe.
centers around a power struggle in Venezuela where a man name Solano, a man of
enormous wealth, hires one of the three mercenaries at the core of the game to
rescue a general. Of course, you do this for cash, thinking little of the
outcome. But Solano has other things in mind. He has no intention of paying;
rather he wants the general freed from his captors so that the general will lead
a little coup, bringing Solano to power over the oil-rich country.
that was made was leaving the mercenary he hired alive, and ticked off. That’s
where the game really starts to pick up. In many ways this game mirrors
role-playing games in that you have a main linear course, but there are
factional standings you have to accrue to open up avenues to the main
objectives. There are also mini-games that will allow you to practice and train
your skills in weapons. The latter are timed affairs and there is money on the
table. Win and you are the richer for it. Lose and you cough up some of the
The path is,
obviously, a rendezvous with Solano, but he has a bodyguard/mercenary named
Blanco that works for him. Your first objective is to find Blanco, and that
means snuggling up close to Universal Petroleum, a company run by an American
who has had dealings with the dictator and his minion. But in order to get close
enough for UP to give you information you need, you will need to do a little
“trust” work for them.
mission is linear, as mentioned, is to get to Solano but it is the side missions
that will provide the most enjoyment and the straight-ahead run-and-gun segments
that give the game is true value.
Played from the
third-person perspective, with a few over-the-shoulder moments, M2 uses a
control scheme that is fairly familiar. The game incorporates a PDA to call in
bombing strikes or set destination markers. Much of what you do – such as the
bombing strikes – can cost you money, and the game will have areas with pick-ups
(or power-ups) that include cash, ammo, health packs and weapons.
There is a nice
open-world feel to the game, in spite of the linearity of the missions. You do
have to get from point A to point B, but how you do it is up to you. Don’t want
to hoof it all the way. Stand in front of a motorist, get him or her to stop and
take their ride. You don’t have to beat them up or even shoot them to jack the
Ammo is finite,
so you can’t just blast away without consequence. Death is not a real issue in
this game either. It is presumed you will die, so the game merely starts you
back at the beginning of the scenario, which is tantamount to the last save
the game really does bring forward, though, is a great array of weapons and
vehicles you can use. It can be rather fun, early on in the game, to be assailed
by guards of the Solano’s villa, inside the main hall, and be sitting in a tank
blowing a lot of things up. The environments are destructible in several areas,
and nothing is as much fun as hitting a fuel container and blowing up a lot of
environmental elements at once.
sound is solid, with decent voice acting, the expected sound of weapons
discharging, explosions and a score that is appropriately supportive without
overwhelming. The graphics are a bit hit and miss. There are a fair amount of
cut scenes and while done well, at certain times you can see pixilated edges
(the accursed “jaggies”). The lip synch is not totally on either. Still, while
these are a few glitches, they can be overlooked.
The AI is not
overly intelligent, dodging into the open
is a solid action adventure, with good RPG elements. While not totally original
or inventive, the game succeeds at entertaining.
The game moves along
at a nice steady framerate, with a control scheme that is fairly intuitive. The
world is open, even though you have a set task list, but still you will find
that you can take any avenue you wish to your objective.
The effects look
solid, but there are a few misses here and there.
Solid voice work,
and everything else is expected and delivered.
The game follows
familiar themes and paths to the objectives, but the dev team did a nice job of
keeping the fun factor intact.
There is an online element with this game, but it was not available for testing
with the build and connection at the time of the review.
There are not many
surprises here, but there is a lot of action and a great deal of entertainment
value. Bigger and more robust than its predecessor, Mercenaries 2 is a solid action-adventure ride that combines role-play
elements, solid characters and a sense of fun.