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Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Pandemic
Release Date: Sept. 4, 2008 (US), Sept. 5, 2008 (EU)

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20. 'Mercenaries 2: World in Flames' (PS2/PS3/X360/PC)

by Rainier on Jan. 19, 2008 @ 1:30 a.m. PST

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is an explosive open-world action game set in a massive, highly reactive, war-torn world. A power-hungry tyrant messes with Venezuela's oil supply, sparking an invasion that turns the country into a war zone. Mercenaries 2 features a slew of potential clients, all willing to pay you to do their dirty work. This is your kind of environment.

Tom Baker: Despite rumors of recruitment propaganda being pumped into Mercenaries 2 by the U.S. government, I remain fairly optimistic that this title will blow away gamers in the coming year. The idea of destructible environments has been around for a while now, but only in Mercenaries could you level entire city blocks "just because you could." The fun had in doing this is immeasurable. A new physics engine, multiplayer mode and improved AI are promised, all pointing to a game that will deliver high-octane action with no questions asked; sometimes, that's precisely what you need in a game. Graphically, it looks like it'll dwarf many games out there, and the gameplay that's been carried over from the original is simple yet intuitive enough to be fun and gripping.

Anthony Chambers: The original Mercenaries was a fantastic third-person action game that gave you the ability to blow up just about anything ... well, almost everything. The combat was not too deep, and there were not as many weapons to utilize as one might have hoped for, but it set a great foundation for Mercenaries 2, which will surely utilize next-gen technology to really deliver on all cylinders to make just about every environment even more destructible than the previous version. If all goes well, then M2: World In Flames should shape up to be an action-packed game that you can pick up when you're in a destructive mood.

Xav de Matos: Confession time. I've never played the original Mercenaries. Although the title was touted as the arsonist's love letter to Grand Theft Auto, Mercenaries never made its way into my home. However, the few details, screens and controversial news bits about its sequel, World in Flames, have placed this title at the top of my radar for 2008. Returning are the ultimate destruction and freedom of the original, with a reportedly more streamlined campaign mode. While details on the final version of the game haven't been completely revealed, Mercenaries 2 hopes to deliver the same explosive action that made the original such a cult fave with an action-packed story that promises to take over your watercooler conversations when it hits later this year.

Nathan Grayson: The "World in Flames" moniker is certainly apt, because Mercenaries 2 follows in the footsteps of its precursor by encouraging the player to blow up stuff — with flames that grow and spread realistically (!) to boot. The first Mercenaries title took the tried and admittedly overused Grand Theft Auto formula and gave it a semi-gritty, war-packed makeover. The result was an explosive good time that saw players taking sides in a hypothetical conflict. Granted, it wasn't a masterpiece, but it was great fun — and in many cases, that's all that really matters.

Brad Hilderbrand: The original Mercenaries game can best be described as Grand Theft Auto: Baghdad. Commandeering tanks, calling in air strikes, and blowing up buildings all while dismantling a terrorist organization one lieutenant at a time proves to be rollicking fun. It doesn't really matter what the plot of the new game will be; all that matters is that you're still going to blow up all sorts of neat stuff with huge ordnances. Oh, and did I mention that you can now hijack helicopters while they're in flight? Oh yeah, this is going to be fun.

Chris Lawton: The original Mercenaries showed me how a developer should approach a genre. On the surface, you had what appeared to be a standard sandbox title. But, once you went a bit deeper into the game, you found plenty of good things about the game to keep you playing until the last second. Fortunately, it looks like the devs have set the bar even higher with Mercenaries 2, with destructible environments, more vehicles and weapons and larger levels. If the first game is any indication, the guys at Pandemic know what they're doing and I think the second game will cement that.

Ramin Ostad: Mercenaries for the PS2 and Xbox was an open-world action game where you could blow up whatever and whomever you wanted by using any military hardware that you could find in order to stop the coup of a Korean dictatorship. Now take all of that, replace "Korean" with "Venezuelan," put it on next-gen consoles and PC, and you have Mercenaries 2. The symphony of violence and destruction for which Mercenaries has come to be known is now in fully realized graphical detail, and you have a brand new arsenal of tanks, APCs, boats and luxury automobiles at your disposal, which makes it that much more fun to rain down napalm on your enemies.

Matthew Szlapka: After the original Mercenaries was released for the PS2 and Xbox, people wanted more insane shooting action, and the fact that you could phone in tactical drop or fire support to wield massive weapons didn't hurt, either. Mercenaries 2 will be coming to the Xbox 360 and PS3; with the Havok engine, it's going to be a beautiful bloodbath of mass devastation. After hearing about hijacking 'copters and boats, not to mention being able to set trucks on fire with a lighter, I can only imagine what else the devs may have put in the game.

Thomas Wilde: Explosions are awesome. That should be on the box art for Mercenaries 2, or should at least be the game's subtitle. This is the kind of open-world game I can get behind, with a distinct path of progression, plenty of options as to how to achieve your goals, a black sense of humor, and a landscape that's just waiting to be explosively deformed. This ought to be solid gold.

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