Mercenaries 2 - updated hands-on

We’re on a mission to take out a few pockets of Solano’s soldiers, holed up in buildings throughout the city, and we’ve tracked some of them down to this spot. We could call in one of the many air strikes available, from cluster bombs to napalm to the MOAB (Mother of all Bombs). We could attempt to pick the baddies off one by one. But instead we unstrap the RPG from Mattias’ shoulder and take aim. A few 85mm rocket grenades later, the entire building creaks and groans before sagging to the ground, the debris actually taking out several nearby soldiers. Being used to purely cosmetic building destruction in games, it’s almost shocking to see bits of building with weight and presence, and the strategic implications (say, dropping a building on a nearby tank to prevent its pursuit) are staggering.

But there are two more nests to take out. Chucking a beacon results in a heavily modified monster truck being dropped off that allows us to roll over barricades and roadblocks. Unfortunately, we quickly discover it’s no match for the Universal Petroleum-owned Mantis tank that we meet downtown, and we only survive thanks to a hasty, touching-cloth eject. Shrugging off the fall, we kill the tank’s gunner and hijack it, prompting one of the new DDR-like minigames, while your guy and the angry driver tussle for control of the vehicle. There are well over 100 vehicles in World in Flames, and the difficulty of the minigame varies according to what you’re stealing. Gaining control of the tank, we track to our next target leaving a pile of bricks, mortar and dead soldiers behind us.

We call in the support helicopter for an ammo drop, but instead of opening the crate, we use the new Just Cause-style grapple function to grab onto the chopper. Zooming up the line, we throw the pilot to the ground, grab the controls and fly across the city to drop the MOAB on the last of Ramon’s men. The result is one of the most visually punishing explosions seen in any console game to date. It’s really quite spectacular.

Judging by what we’ve seen so far, Mercenaries 2 will stand toe to toe with almost anything on PS3 or 360. It looks, plays and feels like the raucous, immersive shooter it aims to be. More soon.


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