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The Expendables 2 Videogame, Reviewed

An all-out bummer of a movie tie-in game.

Im a sucker for a good action movie, even more so when its filled with my favorite stars. Thats why I enjoyed the first Expendables film more than I probably should have. I let it off easy with well, its supposed to be over the top, as if that somehow excuses it from needing substance. Despite all that, I still pass it off as something that I enjoy. I will do no such thing with The Expendables 2 game for PlayStation 3.Its not that theres anything terribly wrong with the games core mechanics; it is just filled with small things that build up into a spiraling tornado of annoyances that ruin the experience of play. Its got so much going for it, too; a brilliant movie tie-in for the ultimate action film, a four-player online drop-in drop-out dual-joystick shooter that pits you as your favorite action stars fending off hundreds of enemies. That sounds like a great idea, but things go horribly wrong in the first few missions and never improve. As you navigate your elite group of commandos on a seemingly easy in-and-out job, youll quickly learn which of the four characters youll be sticking with for the rest of the game. I found myself sticking with Terry Crews character, though Jet Lis was also a favorite, as they had weapons that fit all situations. In contrast, the Dolph Lundgren and Sylvester Stallone characters carry weapons which felt out of place and totally useless in most scenarios.It isnt too big of an issue when playing solo because you can quickly switch between players if you think one might be more useful than the other, but I cant imagine what it would be like to be stuck as Lundgrens character for the entire game. He uses primarily a sniper rifle, despite most of the combat taking place in close range, making it nearly impossible to aim the already difficult controls. Of course, perhaps the most Expendables part of The Expendables 2 is the up-close signature moves that you can perform after filling a bonus bar. When activated, the camera pulls in close on the character and shows them pulling an execution move on an enemy. These are extremely cool and show just what the Expendables is about: over the top violence thats ridiculous rather than repetitive. In terms of action, The Expendables 2 is as action-packed as any dual-joystick downloadable title, but with a few dozen more explosions. Guns sound as they should, though youll hardly ever hear them over the screams and explosions ringing out every second. Unfortunately, youll find yourself experiencing the same action time and time again, as The Expendables 2 is one of the most repetitive games Ive ever played. Sure, I get that its a straightforward shooter and it's hard to improve on that formula very much, but even the otherwise silly on-rails sequences were a nice break from the constant, repetitive waves of oncoming soldiers. When your character takes too much damage, theyll be downed and need to be revived by one of the other characters. This isnt too much of an issue when youre playing by yourself and can switch between characters easily, but when youve got a full party, it can take a while for someone to get free to come help you up. When they do, theyre exposed to gunfire and will often go down as well, resulting in a delicate balance of shooting and reviving that doesnt play out as it should. Even with the cutscenes scattered throughout each of the four episodes, I found the whole things a bit hard to follow. It didnt really fit the gameplay either. I know that evil warlords have private armies, but it was just discussed that the place is a small town, yet thousands of soldiers went unnoticed? The plot of The Expendables 2 just isnt very well thought out. There arent many people that Id recommend The Expendables 2 to, and even then, itd be a faint recommendation. This game isn't terrible, but theres plenty of better options available that you should spend your money on first. I only hope that this game doesn't end up souring the movie experience for players, considering that the film has the chance to be the best action film in years.

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