ESRB Rating: Mature
No, your eyes do not deceive you: The Expendables 2 has a video game tie-in with the release of the film. Available for download, The Expendables 2 Video Game looks to deliver the over-the-top action the movie franchise is known for. Will The Expendables 2 Video Game shake the bad reputation of bad movie/video game tie-ins, or will this plan backfire? Lock and load: it’s time for the review.
Who’s scream is better: Stallone’s or Schwarzenegger’s?
The Expendables 2 Video Game is a third-person, overhead shooter. The story takes place between the first and second films. The team, comprised of Barney Ross (Stallone), Gunnar Jensen (Dolph Lundgren), Yin Yang (Jet Li), and Hail Caesar (Terry Crews), are hired to extract someone who has been kidnapped, but must first find out where he has been taken. Other than that, there isn’t much substance to the story; the entire campaign is really about shooting and blowing stuff up.
During the course of the game, players earn experience points to be used in leveling up any of the characters’ skills or weapons. All four characters have the same upgradable skills in health, movement, and (melee) attacks; however, each character has two different weapons for either close, middle, or long-ranged combat. Each weapon can be upgraded to increase either the size of the ammunition clips, rate of fire, faster reload time, damage, or range. However, if a player doesn’t want to grind through the campaign, they can just purchase upgrades for all the characters via the DLC for a few extra bucks.
As mentioned, each character gets two guns, with each ranging in distance and overall damage. If the enemies are able to advance in very close, the player can utilize melee combat to take an enemy down. As the character stacks more kills, they can eventually use grenades and their signature kill. During the signature kills, action stops and the camera zooms in on the character as they slash or shoot down an enemy in graphic fashion, after which they are rewarded with a brief boost of invincibility.
Explosion! More Explosions!
The controls for The Expendables 2 Video Game are responsive and simple to learn. Just some slight mental adjustment from the player is needed to learn how to play. In the case of most third-person shooters, the right analog stick controls the camera; however, since the camera is fixed to a slightly overhead view, the right analog stick controls where the characters are aiming. This isn’t always precise, though, because Gunnar’s sniper rifle and RPG are the only weapons that have a laser pointing to where the player is aiming.
One nice thing going for The Expendables 2 Video Game is the fact that three of the four actors in the film have their likenesses used for the game, with Jet Li being the only exception (mostly because of the goatee). The graphics, on the other hand, are sub-par for current generation consoles. The major gripe is that while some of the cut scenes look about average, just about every level looks the same, and the game doesn’t do anything to really distinguish one level from another. Shoot hoards of enemies, take out a tank or helicopter with an RPG, then repeat.
The voice acting has it’s fair share of cheesy dialog and one-liners, which fits in with the feel of the game. However, only Lundgren and Crews have done their own voice work. Barney’s voice actor sounds like an average Stallone impersonator, but does sink to laughable at times. Yang’s voice actor doesn’t sound anything like Jet Li; instead, he has a heavy, east-Asian accent. Still, with the hail of gunfire and explosions going off, most of this will usually go unnoticed.
Sub-par graphics, cheesy dialog, and average voice acting aren’t the only things that take The Expendables 2 Video Game down a few pegs. The camera can be quite tricky at times, as well. Occasionally during the latter levels, the camera won’t keep the characters centered, but keeps trying to push the action to put all four in the middle of a swarm of enemies, rather than advancing from one cover position to another.
Where The Expendables 2 Video Game does shine is in it’s multiplayer. With a couple online friends or strangers, the game is mindless fun. As long as everyone is doing their part, the team works like a well-oiled killing machine. As a stand-alone, single-player game, the best thing the game has going for it is earning a lot more XP as opposed to multiplayer. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much replay value to the game, because for about three more dollars, all the upgrades for every character can be purchased.
At the end of the day, The Expendables 2 Video Game is very flawed. Almost too flawed for it’s $15 price point. Although most of the game still functions well enough, especially in it’s multiplayer functions, the game is more or less just mindless shooting and exploding, much like a summer action movie. So unless you want to spend the money on a four or five hour long campaign with a fun co-op mode, download this title; otherwise, it’s a pass.
Final Verdict: The Expendables 2 Video Game gets 5 over the hill action stars out of 10.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of The Expendables 2 Video Game by Ubisoft