The Expendables 2 is set to hit theaters this week and Ubisoft has developed a video game to accompany the film. Rather than producing a full-fledged game, The Expendables 2 Video Game went the digital route. The downloadable title will be available for PC, Xbox Live Arcade, and PlayStation Network.
Much like classic arcade games, the game features four player drop-in/drop-out co-op play. It can also be played solo although co-op is greatly encouraged. When playing alone, gamers have the ability to switch characters with the simple press of the D-pad. This is necessary at times as different characters have unique abilities.
Four characters from the film franchise are playable in the game. Unfortunately, not a single one of these characters is Chuck Norris. The characters portrayed by Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Terry Crews, and Dolph Lundgren are all digitally recreated for use in the game. Each wields a different weapon. Stallone has a pistol, Li an SMG, Crews carries his infamous shotgun and Lundgren has a sniper rifle. Each character also has a signature kill, an extra-violent, close-up kill.
While mowing down enemies, players earn XP. After completing a round, XP can be used to upgrade moves and abilities.
The Expendables movie is not known for having a deep, engaging plot. It is a fun flick that features a lot of people dying in many different ways but it does not try to be too serious. The Expendables 2 movie has yet to release but the video game takes the same tone.
Players will be forced to fight waves of enemies that heavily outnumber the playable four-man crew. The game has objectives that need to be completed but those mostly consist of just blowing away everything that appears on the screen.
There is generally no sense of strategy involved in completing this task. Enemies come out in hordes and they are quickly blown away. Weapons run out of ammo very quickly and reloads take too much time. On casual difficulty, it is easier just to melee attack enemies frantically.
A cover system is featured in the game and it is necessary to use for the game’s hardcore mode. However, it is difficult to master and really does not work in this type of game. Players will take too much damage from the opposition and this gets extremely frustrating.
Using the twin-stick controls can be cumbersome and unruly. The left stick is used to move the player while the right stick is used to aim. Aiming is not very accurate however, making tasks like taking down enemies on top of guard towers a chore.
Even the in-game menus are confusing and completely unoriginal.
Character models recreated in the game are not very detailed. This is not made very obvious however, as cutscenes are kept short and reveal little to no plot details. Crews and Lundgren voice their video game counterparts. Regrettably, Stallone does not. He is instead replaced by a horrible sound alike. Of course, anything Stallone says is difficult to understand anyways so the game may be better off without him.
Using a stand-in Sly might have been for the better if he had any meaningful lines in the game. He spits corny one-liners and barks objectives at the crew. The dialogue is dissatisfying and borderline annoying. Hearing a fake Stallone shout simple orders adds nothing to the game.
Four chapters of gameplay are included. Levels are mostly bland and repetitive. The only good quality is the action movie-like soundtrack that plays throughout the stages. Enemies all look exactly the same in the three-quarters top-down view.
Video games based on movies are usually not very good and are more of a simple cash grab for movie studios. Unfortunately, The Expendables 2 Video Game is just another in a long line of bad games based on a movie. While the game effectively captures the spirit of the film, the gameplay is not up to par with modern games. In a way, the top-down co-op shooter fits The Expendables perfectly because it is as outdated as the film’s stars. The game would have been better served as a mobile title but it just does not work on consoles, no matter how many asses get kicked.
The Expendables 2 Video Game is available now on PlayStation Network and will explode onto Xbox Live Arcade and PC on August 17.