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Mercenaries 2: World in Flames Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . What has Pandemic done to Mercenaries 2? When it was first announced it looked like the next-gen game to beat. However what we have here is one ugly game with more than its fair share of flaws. Worse yet, it's almost impossible to play with all of the bugs and weird design decisions. This is definitely not the Mercenaries 2 you were asking for! Rating: 40%
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames
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  • C-
Mercenaries 2: World in Flames makes a really good impression. If this review was based on just the first hour of gameplay then I would be sitting here wholeheartedly recommending Pandemic's long-awaited sequel to one of the best games on the original Xbox. But that's not the case, because the longer you play Mercenaries 2 the more annoying the whole thing gets. It's not just the minor bugs and the repetitive gameplay, it's also the big design decisions that turn what should have been a fun take on the Grand Theft Auto-style sandbox game into one of the most disappointing games of this generation.

But let's push pause and rewind the tape a little. Mercenaries 2 is best known for being one of the first games announced for a next-generation console. I can remember sitting there looking at the screenshots wondering if my TV would even be able to handle such beautiful detail. The idea of having an entire country to blow up was certainly intriguing, and coupled with these amazing graphics the combination felt like it couldn't fail. Fast forward almost a few years and what we're left with is an ugly game full of technical problems. This isn't the game I was drooling over all those years ago. What did Pandemic do to that game I've been waiting to play through?

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (Xbox 360)

Unfortunately something very, very bad happened on the way to finalizing Mercenaries 2. What we have here is a game that feels a lot like the first game, but is full of strange design choices and some ugly graphics. There are still good ideas found in this game, but in order to appreciate them you are going to have to put up with a lot of repetitive gameplay and clumsy controls.

At least the basic premise of the game is sound. You play one of three mercenaries, private contractors who fly into a dangerous locale and perform military-like actions for money. On paper this is a premise that can't lose, since it allows you to work both sides, meet all sorts of sleazy characters and sneak into enemy outposts. How can this not be the plot to one of the greatest games of all time?

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (Xbox 360)

The three characters consist of Mattias Nilsson (a chaos-loving crazy man who can regenerate health faster than anybody else), Chris Jacobs (an African American action hero who can carry a lot of ammo) and Jennifer Mui (the fast walking woman). Outside of those very small personal traits, these three characters are essentially the same. Worse yet, they are utterly forgettable. It's as if every character has been made with the idea in mind that there needs to be at least one thing about them that makes them unbearable.

The reason everybody has such fond memories of the first game was because it managed to mix the Grand Theft Auto-style of gameplay with the ability to blow up every single thing in the world. You can't ignore the appeal of blowing up buildings, especially when its you in a tank trying to take out the back guys shooting at you from windows. I'll admit it, what the first game allowed you to do was a welcome change of pace. Sadly the same cannot be said about this messy sequel.

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