Expendables 2, the game, approaches its existence the same way as its big screen namesake; loud, bloody, over the top, and with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. The formula is tried and true, and for films that manage to walk that line with the sheer confidence and joy of The Expendables, it can be great fun. Sadly, Ubisoft managed to only get part of the formula right, adding up to a game that tops out at mediocre and falls far too often into frustration.
The premise behind the Expendables 2 is clearly in the co-op, offering up to 4 players a chance to run through the top-down, arcade style meat grinder together. When playing alone, you can swap between the 4 characters, taking advantage of the slight differences in weapons and attacks. Each one of the crew possesses different weapons, matching up to the signature killings from the films. Along the way you are able to grab a few different weapons, typical AK-47’s or rocket launchers, but most of the time you have two choices. Switching up characters adds a bit of spice for a time, but the grind wears on, and the limited novelty wears off quick.
One of the biggest issues I had was the inability to aim a weapon. Outside of the sniper rifle, a useless weapon in a top down shooter with huge mobs, and the rocket launcher, there is no way to track where a shot will go. Much of the time your bullets will find a mark, but there isn’t even the slightest hint of precision. Adding a cover system is even more frustrating. Cover works, but once you fire, your character pops right back up. There is seldom a reason to hide, and more often than not it leads to more difficulty, not less.
Difficulty is also sorely hampered. As a challenge, I attempted to play every encounter without firing a shot. Most of the time I was able to simply melee through everything on Casual mode, a sure sign that something is amiss. Yet, jumping to Hardcore mode only made the poor combat designs more noticeable, and the game became a frustrating mess.
Lack of variety is really the biggest issue with Expendables 2. Most people probably won’t approach Expendables 2 for the deep and rich narrative. What dialogue there is typically serves to advance the plot, but there are moments of genuine humor. Getting Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crews to lend their talent helps, and the Stallone sound alike is impeccably well done. However, those pieces are so few and far between that they can’t save the boring majority of the game. There is promise, and playing co-op with a few friends can provide an hour or so of fun, but the rush to match up to a film release shows through far too often.
[learn_more caption=”Review Results”][one_half]Pros:
- Teaming up with some friends and some drinks can be fun. For a while.
- Online co-op works beautifully[/custom_list][/one_half]
- Everything else
- Painfully repetitive gameplay
- Awful story
- Frustrating and poorly planned boss encounters
- Terrible camera that hinders progress
To see where this review score falls in our scoring range, please read our review scale guidelines.[/learn_more]