Mercenaries 2 - updated hands-on

The game dynamic is the same as the previous title - you get a huge world to explore, missions from various factions to undertake and stacks of big guns. The world is far bigger and prettier, of course, and offers more options for your barely controlled chaos, but this is still the Mercenaries we know and love.

The three characters from the first game - Mattias, brawny Chris Jacobs and versatile Brit Jennifer Mui - are all there from the start, but there’s a new character, Eva Navarro, whom you can recruit during the story. Gameplay still revolves around getting missions, ordering supply drops and air strikes and bundling smelly, trussed tyrants into helicopters. But on our recent play-through at Pandemic’s offices in Los Angeles, it was clear that this reworking of the first game is far more effective than a ground-up redesign would have been.

The first title was a great game hampered by the limitations of its platform. Now, walking around the streets of “Venezuela,” it’s obvious how PS3 has enabled Pandemic to up their game. Buildings look suitably cracked and faded, trash bags, abandoned market stalls and burned-out vehicles are strewn across the pavements. In the distance you can hear the crack of gunfire and see muzzle flashes from hotel balconies as the People’s Liberation Army of Venezuela take pot shots at Ramon Solano’s forces.


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