E3 07: Mercenaries 2: World in Flames - hands-on

We could have just grabbed a nearby military truck and started barreling down the mountain path toward the city, but that option lacked style. So the developers showing us the game went ahead and spawned us a cherry-red sports car - which, as in the first game, will be among the items you'll be able to buy and have delivered via air drop. The car was fast, but it didn't stand up so well once Venezuelan soldiers started showing up to lob explosives at us. (Neither did the surrounding foliage, which was realistically torn apart by the tree-toppling blasts).

Even sports cars can be weaponized, though, which we found out when the developers took over and slapped a C4 charge onto the back of our swiftly deteriorating ride. (Weirdly, the charge stayed hovering in place even after the panel it had been attached to was blown off). Undeterred by the machinegun fire, they kicked the car into high speed, leaping out and detonating the explosive spectacularly when it hit the checkpoint. The C4 could even turn the jungle itself into a weapon, as we saw when a tossed satchel charge lit a dense thicket ablaze, igniting a huge forest fire and burning the soldiers who were using the bushes as cover.

From there, it was a short walk to one of the city's slummier areas. In contrast to the tiny "cities" of the first game, these streets were sprawling and looked much more like an actual town. The buildings looked lived-in (if overwhelmingly brownish), too, complete with lines of laundry hanging across apartment balconies on the taller ones. Sadly for the owners of said laundry, one of these buildings was our target, having been taken over by Venezuelan soldiers. We could have tried to take it out ourselves - as Jennifer Mui, we had a wall-shattering rocket launcher strapped to our back, alongside an AK-47 - but like in the first Mercenaries, airstrikes are a much more elegant and satisfying way to blow stuff up.

Also like the first game, targeting an airstrike is done by satellite, which now has a weird green night-visiony look to it. Once we'd selected the airstrike option, aiming it was as easy as moving a bird's-eye-view reticle over the building, holding down a button to fill a meter (while we were being shot at) and then sitting back and watching as shells rained down, flattening not only the apartment building but also one or two surrounding structures. Oops.


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