Completed Games – Mercenaries 2
Developer – Pandemic Studios
Publisher – Electronic Arts
Release Date – August 31st 2008
Genre – Open world action, third person shooter
The now defunct Pandemic Studios was bought by EA in 2007 in a $860 million deal along with Bioware. While Bioware continued to make successful games such as Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2, Pandemic’s first game published by EA was Mercenaries 2 which received mixed reception. After this Pandemic developed the poorly received LOTR Conquest and were shut down after the completion of the Saboteur (another interesting open world game but again had its share of problems). The fall of Pandemic was not entirely because of the quality of their games as they were reported to have severe internal management issues.
Now the game, first of all I did enjoy the game up to a point as there are plenty of interesting gameplay concepts carried over from the first Mercenaries but the technical issues of the game definitely drags it down. The graphics are terrible, nowhere near the quality of other games release in 2008 on the PS3 or Xbox360. There is terrible texture pop-in, game freezes/crashes, and a variety of frustrating glitches. The story elements of the game are also bad with terrible voice acting, dialogue (especially the one-liners), and an entirely laughable plot.
The merits of the game surround the ridiculous things you can do. You can get cheap thrills from doing such things as hijacking tanks & helicopters in the air (by grappling to them from the ground) and calling in airstrikes. You can destroy some of the buildings with you explosive power with the highlights being the destruction of oil-rigs and huge oil tankers. In general I enjoy open world games because of the freedom and variety which in this case compelled me to finish the game.
The concept of being a badass mercenary able to single-handedly take down different military groups is great but it needed more solid gameplay mechanics to keep people entertained and not frustrated. If the shooting mechanics were more satisfying and the enemies more believable in their behaviour the game could have reached a decent B grade status. Even though it is cheap to pick up now you don’t need to play it when there are so many better games out there.