Whether it's a movie or a video game, guys just love to see things blow up.. Plots donít have to be deep for us to really enjoy watching some stuff blow sky high. That is one of the reasons while male audiences loved the heavy action star filled movie, The Expendables, and now with the highly anticipated sequel in theaters, how can we not have a video game come out that gives us that same joy at home?
That is exactly what Ubisoft has tried to give us in Expendables 2: The Video Game. Notice the key word in that sentence, tried. Excuse the pun but this was a huge bomb! You have four levels with 20 missions in each level, and that sounds great if you are looking to have a lot of opportunity to blow stuff to the moon for a ridiculously long time, but if you're like me, I just wanted to turn this off and get it off my hard drive after about five minutes of playing.
Where do I begin? Letís start with the main screen. You get to pick between four characters. Barney, Gunner, Hale Caesar, and - well at first glance it looks like a combination of Christmas and Yang. I say this because at first glance it looks like Yang, and then when you get into game play he is a big knife thrower which is what Lee Christmas does in the movies. Once you start the game you will quickly see that this was thrown together at the last minute to capitalize on the upcoming movie and joins the long list of horrible movies tie-ins that have plagued us for decades. Expendables 2 is your typical top down arcade shooter game. There is no tutorial to start out with and you have to figure everything out on your own. After getting tired of trying to figure out what the controls were (since there are no initial prompts), I hit the pause menu hoping that Ubisoft didnít leave us hanging without any guide on controls and thankfully, they didnít, but why should you have to go search for them when pretty much every game in the world now shows you as you play during the opening few minutes - especially a digital download title that doesn't come with a paper manual.
Gameplay is problematic. The first time you come up to enemies you will see that there is no aim or guidance feature to show you where you are shooting. Another thing that hinders you from really seeing where your bullets or knives are going is the lack of detail in the environments. There is no texture and the colors look to blend in with one another throughout the screen. When the enemies are few and far between, and depending on what character you are playing as, you can get an idea of what is going on. You will quickly see that it is always four against about 100 or more. One of the nice things about the game is the four player co-op both online and local couch co-op. Unfortunately, that is about the only nice feature in Expendables 2 and who really wants to share a bad gaming experience with their friends?
And then there are the issues with the camera views. When you are playing with multiple players on one system you will almost certainly run into the issue with the camera, which is pretty much expected in this single-screen co-op games, but most games have learned to overcome the more serious problems. In Expendables 2 some glitches will get you stuck behind something or you canít move closer to the enemies and end up getting killed or have to have the other players playing with you backtrack to allow you to get unstuck.
Even worse is how unrealistic the killing is. When playing by yourself or even with two to three players, it seems like the computer-controlled players hardly ever die. This could be viewed as a great feature because as long as one of the four guys is alive you will never have to restart from a checkpoint. Another issue I have is when you get seriously injured (you donít ever die from your gunshot wounds you are injured) or the computer player is severely injured, you donít take any damage while reviving said injured player. The guns donít seem to make a difference either. For starters, when you pick up a shotgun and fire at enemies that are punching you it takes two shots to kill them, even at point blank. Then there are the tanks that take three or four shots from a rocket launcher to blow up. So with no sight or aim feature you are getting screwed over with unrealistic game play.
The one awesome bright spot in this game is the signature kill moves and every character has their own. You build up the chance to perform one by killing a lot enemies or by picking up the Expendables icons that randomly show up on the levels. Once you activate a signature move the camera zooms into your player and shows a close up of you dismantling the enemy up close and personal. Then for a short time after the signature kill you go on a rampage of heightened killing. This great feature comes with some drawbacks though. It momentarily stops play for everyone else and other players lose focus on where they were and what they were doing while watching this slow motion kill and then have to jump back in the fray like they were never pulled out in the first place. Another thing that bugged me is that when you had the chance to upgrade your character, which when you play with multiple players it is very hard to get the points to upgrade quickly, you donít get to upgrade your signature move to do something bigger and badder like you would expect.
To summarize, GO SEE THE MOVIE INSTEAD!!! I love the Expendables franchise and when I saw the deceptively cool trailer for this game I wanted to review it immediately. But like most movies that try to spin off a video game, this one is severely lacking in nearly every aspect of what the movie is trying to give its fans. Admittedly, this game has a lot of explosions and a lot of kills, but even so, I was thinking the entire game that this is ridiculously unrealistic even for the low standards of exaggerated realism set by the film. The game got very boring very fast and just lacked a lot of that ďITĒ factor that games need to have to draw you in and keep you playing. There are too many flaws in this game for me to even try to tell you it is worth your time or money. Spend your $15 to see the movie in the theatre and get a much more enjoyable bang for your buck!