Video game companies still haven’t realized they don’t have to pander
to kids anymore. The entire industry still tries to cram as many of
their top games as possible into the last quarter of the year, simply
to cash in on that all-important Christmas buck. While this means that
you simply won’t be able to play every AAA title that comes out, at
least you’ll have games to pick up and play (for cheap!) well into the
new year.

In catching up ourselves, we’re bringing you impressions of the ones we missed.


For this second installment, we bring you two third person shooters
that are all about manipulating the environment to suit your needs.

PLATFORM: PS3, Xbox 360
DEVELOPER: Day 1 Studios
PUBLISHER: Lucasarts

What’s it about?

rising of the ocean has led to the USA being literally split in two,
and the newly formed countries soon start a war. The two sides have very
opposing views on the direction humanity should take- the Pacificans
like to mess around with genetics and make themselves superior by
changing what it means to be human, while the Atlantians think that
technology is the way to go, and build crazy suits and weapons. You play
as Jet Brody (no, seriously, they want us to believe he was born with that name) who stars as
“Space Marine Model #262″ who’s fighting for the Atlantic side
and thinks nothing of killing thousands of those Western mutie freaks.

Jet Brody, aka Bland Vapid McBoring.

How’s it play?

The story is rote and the cutscenes easily skipped, but you’ll have fun playing this one.

It’s all about Terrain Deformation. Know it. Use it. Love it.

big gimmick with this game is that your soldier is equipped with a tool
called The Entrencher that when shot at the ground can raise or lower
it as you so choose. Right from the start this encourages you to play the
game differently. See a ledge you can’t get up to? Raise the ground.
Enemies shooting at you? Dig yourself a trench. Need to get up high to
splatter your enemies with the rocket launcher? Throw a spike grenade
and ride the rising rock up in the air. It’s a great bit of innovation
that actually does change the way you look at a level, something that’s
pretty rare in this day and age.

It’s all fantastic, until you
realize that everything else is cribbed off other futuristic shooters,
and that the terrain deformation would have been better off in a
superior game.

Best bit-

torpedo launcher is the most fun weapon, by far. You shoot it and it
burrows under the ground, exploding unsuspecting enemies far into the
air. Sure, it’s similar to the Land Shark gun from the underrated Armed and Dangerous, but it never gets old. 

Also of mention are the awesome Vortex grenades that create a whirlwind, sucking in any helpless nearby enemies and throwing them about before exploding and leaving a huge crater in the ground.

Never put Bland on a pedestal.

Moment that’ll piss you off-

When you realize that you’re basically playing Halo in third person. 

Worth a purchase?

like a rent. The multiplayer’s pretty weak and while the campaign has
some really high points (pun intended?) it’s over fairly quickly.

What we would score it-

7 out of 10

PLATFORM: Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PC
DEVELOPER: Pandemic Studios

What’s it about?

a mercenary in Venezuela who gets double crossed by a corrupt
businessman who’s trying to take over the government. You’re trying to
take revenge on the guy wh- HOLY SHIT DID YOU SEE THAT
FUCKING EXPLOSION? That airstrike just completely took out that building! Was
that a nuke? Holy fuck shit god DAMN!

How’s it play?

so the story is even less significant here than it is in Fracture, but
who gives a shit? Mercs 2 does one thing and it does it well, and
that’s destruction. The explosions are stunning, the way buildings
crumble and turn to dust the very definition of awesome. Practically every
object in the game can be obliterated to the Beyond, and will be.
Airstrikes are key here- you can send in all manner of bombs and
artillery that will take out everything that displeases your eyes.
Which, if you’re like me, should be any standing structure.

much like the first game it makes you and try not to piss off the other
groups you’re working for and there’s a little bit of strategy in choosing jobs, but really, it’s all about killing people
and blowing things up.

Pretty, ain’t it?

Best bit-

someone in co-op who actually wants to help you out. If you ever do,
try out the classic helicopter and tank combo- where one of you jumps
in the helicopter and uses the winch to raise up a tank. Take off and
you can do all kinds of ridiculous damage to the city.
Moment that’ll piss you off-

with all the patches that have been released there are still some
game-killing bugs. I fell off the face of the Earth once and managed to
get myself stuck in the environment a few times.
Worth a purchase?

if you like fun and excitement in your games. There’s some free new DLC
out right now and more on the way, so you can bet there will be reasons
to keep blowing shit up in the future. Pure, simple, stupid fun. It’s not as good as the first but it’s just so damn satisfying.

What we would score it-

8.5 out of 10