"Fun" is a word which we use with surprising infrequency when talking about videogames. "Immersive", "affecting", "epic" and "sweeping". Those are the adjectives we use. We have to. Games are a serious art form these days, don't you know? But "fun"? What are you, a dirty casual or something?
But what fools we have been. What poe-faced, overly-protective fools. Because while Mercenaries 2 has all the scope and ambition that we now expect from a triple-A tentpole release, it also provides more laughs, whoops, cheers and gleefully exclaimed bad words per minute than anything else we've played in a very long time. In short, it's the sort of game that made us fall in love with gaming in the first place.
And that's exactly what we found when we settled down for some co-op play with new battle buddy Mark Domowicz, Mercs 2's Associate Director. Setting off on a multi-part mission to destroy sensitive evidence located in several crashed planes, we were immediately presented with options. Our first step was to get to the first target location, inconveniently placed several miles away across open sea. Having previously tried out the raucous pleasures of jet skis and power boats, we decided to mix things up a bit and arrive in more refined style.
A quick call to a transport chopper and we were on our way to a helipad on a neighbouring island. And that's when the madness started. The glorious, terrible madness.
Immediately we were set upon by enemy troops from every angle, and immediately we hit back with a rock 'n' roll barrage of extreme destruction, feeling every bit like the stars of the best 80's buddy action movie ever made. A minute or two later and the big guns arrived in the form of a tank. Undeterred, we made like all the best action heroes would and decided to have some fun with it. All that was missing were a couple of oversized cigars and a few Germanic one-liners.
Destroy the tank? Pah, what a lightweight plan that would have been. We were going to hijack the thing and turn it on its foolish owners. Making a Rambo sprint straight towards the front of the beast, a quick tap of the Y button threw us into a QTE in which we grabbed the driver, bashed the hell out of him and dragged him off the front of his mechanical mount by the leg. We might not strictly have got it right first time, but the knockabout comedy of watching each other take it in turns to try to make the steal while alternately providing covering fire made our eventual success all the more satisfying.
Tooled up with our new set of wheels, we immeditely set about laying waste to all and sundry, sending bodies, buildings and trees flying like battle-torn fireworks. Area flattened, we rumbled along on our merry way, cannon and gun turret ablazing.