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PLAY Mag Review: Mercenaries 2

Tom Leclerc reports:

''So why is it that PMCs, or Private Military Contractors', are so damn good at what they do? Armies are great, us gameplaying civvies have known that from the day we first slapped a squad-based FPS into whatever console we had at the time. Since the advent of Private Military Contractors though, their dominance on the battlefield has waned somewhat. Every title with a PMC in it seems to depict them as rock-hard, balls-out psycho nut jobs with nothing to lose but their muscle-bound, heavily tattooed lives. Frankly, they whup a little too much ass for our liking, but we know that as soon as the next wave of military types, be they cyborgs, zombie cyborgs or mutant cyborgs comes along, PMCs will be left in the detritus of shooter history with the tables unceremoniously turned. When the first Mercenaries title was released, PMCs were very much in their fledgling years and, as such, the idea that you could have all the resources of an army, but retain a degree of freedom in your uniform choices was somewhat more appealing than now. Times have changed a little, but we're sad to say that Mercenaries hasn't.

It's set in Venezuela, apparently a hotbed of political strife, and the storyline is split between greed and revenge. There's oil in them thar hills, you see, and while we're all aware of just how important that commodity is, it's dealt with in such a glib context that it serves to underline the ridiculousness of the game in general perfectly. The reason for a majority of the missions and narrative has been brought about by the fact that you got shot in the ass. The first chap you hire, a helicopter pilot, is a ridiculous Irish stereotype who loves boozing, women and gambling. 'Earning' airstrikes can be as easy as simply finding them lying around at the side of the road. But that doesn't matter. Mercenaries 2 was never likely to be any kind of serious comment on the state of either the oil industry or Venezuelan Private Military Contractors. In fact, the breezy fashion that everything is dealt with comes as a refreshing change when you consider how serious many of its contemporaries want to be.''

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