The Expendables 2 Review
A dish best served with friends.
At first glance you might think that The Expendables 2 is just another video game trying to cash in on a movie license, and while you aren’t 100% wrong, you aren’t 100% correct either. It’s not the greatest game you’ll ever play, but I’ve seen much, much worse.
The Expendables 2 is a Stick Shooter that doesn’t follow the story from the movie, but rather it tells a new story between the events of the first and recently released second movie in the series. There’s not much of a setup at the start of the game, but the back story follows four of the Expendables who have been hired to rescue a kidnapped billionaire, but that’s not what this game is about. It’s about blowing stuff up, killing bad guys and having fun. The 80′s action movie requirements.
The game features four characters from the movie: Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone), Gunner Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Hale Caesar (Terry Crews) and Yin Yang (Jet Li). After each level you’ll earn Experience points for kills, assists, revives and more, which can then be used to upgrade each character’s weapons and add bonuses to their attack, movement and health, which gives the game a little depth and adds to the replay value. For the most part, the campaign levels allow you run through them as fast as you want, but certain levels will feature challenge sections which you must complete before you can move on to the next area. Once you complete these levels you can replay just the challenge sections from the main menu as many times as you want to try to beat your fastest time.
The weapons that each character starts out with vary between them and have unlimited ammo, but you can also pick up weapons such as Machine Guns and Rocket Launchers, which have limited ammo. I found Stallone’s Dual Pistols to be just as effective as any Machine Gun I picked up, so there was no real reason to keep switching. The Rocket Launcher on the other hand, as you would expect, is quite powerful, which is quite helpful since there are many enemy vehicles in the game.
There’s not a lot of dialogue in the game to make this a major problem, but not all of the characters are voiced by the real actors (only Crews and Lundgren do their own voices) from the movie, and this is something that always annoys me in movie licensed games. I’m sure it probably saved some money, but it also ruined the experience a little bit. I also found that the character models were a little stiff and the goofy jumping aside, they just didn’t feel like they moved very smooth. This is all mostly lost in the chaos of people shooting at you, vehicles blowing up and reviving downed teammmates, but it’s something to be aware of.
The Expendables 2 is a cheesy action game through and through and it doesn’t try to be anything else, which makes it a little easier to look past its flaws, especially when you play it with some friends.
The Expendables 2 doesn’t feature any competitive multiplayer modes, which is fortunate because that means there’s more room for co-op. Just the way I like it, both the campaign and the challenges can be played with up to four players, both online and offline, and it’s definitely how they were meant to be played. Even though the AI teammates work fine and have your back when you need it, it’s not quite the same as jumping into a game with some friends and blowing up everything in sight.
The game features 20 levels across four chapters and with the help of a few friends you can blast through it in a few hours, but there is always the more difficult Nightmare mode to tackle and earn more EXP to fully upgrade all of the characters for the Achievement hunters out there.
The Expendables 2 probably isn’t going to win any awards this year, except for maybe the most explosions in a game, but if you have a few co-op fanatic friends who have some spare cash and have been looking for a new co-op game then it’s worth a look. If it wasn’t 1200 MS Points it would be easier to recommend, and I can see that being the sticking point for a lot of gamers out there who don’t want to throw down that much cash for it, but there’s always the Trial version you can test out first.