Worst. Movie Game. EVER.
Most movie games are rushed projects that require developers to take an idea loosely based around the corresponding film, staple some play mechanics together, and hope it holds up enough to warrant even making the game at all. So, when I heard that a game based on The Expendables 2 was coming out just before the movie, I definitely didn’t think we’d be getting a masterpiece—but it’s been a while since I’ve seen a pile of slop this bad.
Understandably, the game took the twinstick-shooter route, since it’s easier to create a fully realized 3D world in a short amount of time in this genre (just look at all of the twinstick-shooter indie titles on XBLA). This also allows for 4-player drop-in, drop-out co-op, the one thing that actually works here. But on every other level, this game is a horrible waste of time. Oh, The Expendables 2 Videogame, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways…
The first—and most obvious—offense to your eyes comes with the graphics. The models lack any sort of detail whatsoever once you enter a story chapter, and the game only utilizes two colors, it seems: brown and gray. Not only does this have the effect of blending everything together so you can barely tell who or what is shooting at you, but it also means that most levels blend together as well.
And while we’re on the aesthetics, let’s get to the second point of hatred: the putrid voiceover work. I appreciate Dolph Lundgren and Terry Crews actually lending their voices to the game (not like they got a lot on their plate these days), but the Stallone impersonator is just awful, and the dialogue is horribly written. “What’s the plan, Barney?” “Same as always! Kill everything between us and the objective!” Are you kidding me?! I know elementary-school kids who have a better grasp of dialogue. At least the music’s somewhat enjoyable and gives the game an epic action-movie feel, even if nothing else about the game does.
And just think—I haven’t even gotten to my hatred of the actual gameplay yet! Twinstick shooters don’t usually allow for a lot of gameplay variety—you simply mow down the same two or three enemy types for however many levels the game entails—so I appreciate the fact that the game attempts to break up the monotony that can sometimes plague these titles with some on-rails shooter levels. But bizarrely, the one element the game insists on realism is the gun clips, which cause you to constantly reload and never let you get into any sort of pace when on foot, making you miss many targets during the on-rails levels.
Plus, making the player hold the right trigger in order to fire when on foot defeats the purpose of using both sticks for much of the combat. And since only the sniper character has a laser sight, unless you’re constantly firing—which you can’t, due to the clip sizes—you have no idea where your chosen character is aiming, making the combat feel choppy all around. Additionally, the glitchy hit mechanics mean that you don’t even get proper feedback half the time on whether or not your shot actually hit an enemy, leaving you guessing until they mercilessly fade away instantly after falling to the dirt.
Finally, I hate the story. The dialogue definitely doesn’t paint a vivid picture, but what’s worse is that the game offers no opening cinematic to explain anything and just throws you right to the wolves. This left me hating the experience even more, as your purpose is constantly and consistently murky.
And that sums up The Expendables 2 Videogame in a nutshell: This game has no purpose. It’s one of the worst wastes of time I’ve ever had to review. It has no direction, shoddy controls, an ugly look, and possibly the most absent plot in the modern console generation. It’s an embarrassment, even as movie games go. I implore you to steer clear of this title at all costs.
SUMMARY: Aside from the seamless drop-in, drop-out co-op, this is one of the worst videogames I’ve had the displeasure of playing in a long time. It looks awful, controls horribly, and the plot is nonexistent.
- THE GOOD: 4-player drop-in, drop-out co-op.
- THE BAD: Everything else.
- THE UGLY: The one-liners, the voice acting, the entire premise…
The Expendables 2 Videogame is available for XBLA, PSN, and PC. Primary version reviewed was on PSN.