Once again we have an ill-conceived game based upon a movie as The Expendables 2: Videogame is pretty much a complete time waster. It truly is difficult to find something good about the video game debut of The Expendables since everything is poorly designed, doesn’t feel that good to control, and looks utterly terrible most of the time. With none of the spark found in the actual film and a plot that doesn’t even match the events of the film its shares the title of, The Expendables 2: Videogame only serves as a guide as to how to make a bad video game.
+ The voice acting is so bad that it’s funny. Seriously, the voice of Jet Li’s character is near comical in how racist and stereotypical it sounds.
+ If you like shooting at enemies that look like different types of Army Men then you’ll love this game.
- Controls feel disconnected as there’s no sense of where the characters are aiming.
- None of the Expendables have the standout personalities like they do in the films.
- Plot is dumb, like Sunday afternoon TV D-grade action movie bad.
- Camera moves in some really awkward positions and pans out too far so at times it looks like ants are shooting at one another.
- Having a limited number of Expendables playable in the game is dumb.
- Missions end abruptly and basically have no variety to them.
Sometimes it’s fine for a video game to be simple. As much as I may shout to the heavens about video games being original and pushing the boundaries of their particular genre I’m perfectly fine with blowing stuff up every two seconds without having to look deep within myself for some type of emotional meaning. Being a child of the late 80s/90s I was reared watching the glory days of action icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Dolph Lundgren in action classics such as Commando, Blood Sport, and Rambo amongst others.
So in a way it’s in my DNA to enjoy the enjoyment that’s to be had through one-liners and chiseled warriors fighting legions of goons who are employed by a tyrannical dictator. With that said I couldn’t believe how bad The Expendables 2: Videogame is and not in a “Tango & Cash” it’s so bad it’s good sort of way as the game is the epitome of dull and repetitive game design at its worst.
The Expendables 2: Videogame could’ve been something great as it’s based on a movie franchise that many gamers and action movie enthusiasts hold dear to their hearts. I wouldn’t say that the first Expendables movie was perfect as it had issues and of course the verdict is still out on the sequel seeing as how it hasn’t been released yet. Even with that in mind, a lot of people just dig The Expendables franchise since it’s cool to see all these action movie icons from bygone eras return to kick ass once more in a film that pretty much feels like it was pulled out of a time capsule planted in 1985. So with that in mind I went into the very loose adaption of The Expendables 2 hoping for a decent arcade inspired romp only to be treated to a game whose very existence should be erased from our collective minds.
Opting to create a game that was fairly simple and could be enjoyed by multiple gamers, The Expendables 2 is an isometric twin-stick shooter which can support up to four gamers playing at once. I know that we as gamers have gone through the twin-stick phase ad nauseam this generation with the lows outweighing the highs, but I was still optimistic that playing a game based upon The Expendables would deliver some ounce of fun. But alas I was terribly wrong. It’s rare that I play a game and know within the first minute that it’s going to be terrible but such a thing was the case for The Expendables 2. Right from the start I was greeted with controls that felt rigid and to make matters worse are represented with animations which make the characters look like they’re running stick men holding automatic weapons instead of complete badass that never blink during battle.
Following the traditional outline set forth by other twin-stick shooting games, The Expendables 2 allowed me to move my character with the left analog stick, aim with the right stick, and shoot by pressing R2 button. There’s nothing out of the ordinary there, but here’s the kicker: it was nearly impossible to get a gauge of where I was shooting. Whether or not I was off to the right too much was anyone’s guess most of the time as I just ended up shooting blind and hoping for the best. With four player controlled characters on screen at once, explosions going off left and right, and swarms of enemies attacking at all times it can be annoying not knowing where I was shooting and whether or not I was actually connecting. Attacks within the members of the Expendables are distinguishable as each member wields a different gun and support item, but it was still a complete cluster f#ck as to what was going on most of the time as its utter mayhem – and not the good kind that makes us action movie aficionados all warm and tingly on the inside.
Beyond the control issues, The Expendables 2 actually suffers from having too much action. I know, it may sound odd to say that a video game based on an action movie set within an action video game genre is filled with too much action but that’s the sad truth. Facing off against a squad of enemies is fine, but in The Expendables 2 I faced off against what had to had been a mass clone army that had teleportation tech as countless enemies would literally appear on the battlefield out of nowhere or suddenly come out of small tents – almost in a comical sort of way.
The action can get overwhelming rather quickly and more specifically the game enters a tiresome lull by the third stage of the first chapter, of which there are four with five stages a piece. Blowing up a tank can be fun sometimes but doing it nonstop and killing 200 or more soldiers in a level does lose its appeal when the game in question feels as clunky as seeing a chubby Steven Segal still do his same action shtick ten years past his prime – it can be ok but you know things could be better.
To make matters worse, the game simply has no direction as an action game since it’s merely point here and shoot. That would be fun if the aiming controls weren’t as poorly implemented as they are and if the various guns in the game had defining characteristics. The various members of The Expendables feel different when compared to one another but it’s just a case of who shoots slower as each is sadly dumbed down in respect to their weapons. The game does boast an upgrade system in which I could purchase minor enhancement such as better health, bigger clip size, and faster movement but that in itself is rooted by aimless grinding as each upgrade comes with a hefty price tag.
The greatest crime The Expendables 2: Videogame commits is that it doesn’t feel like an Expendable experience. Defining such a thing may seem like it can be rather broad since putting together a decent amount of action, one-liners, and familiar faces may result in an experience that can be given the Expendables moniker. But in the case of the actual video game there’s absolutely no character or charm at all. Hell, even the story isn’t some over-the-top nonsensical mess as it’s a simple kidnapping plot involving a Chinese dude so there’s no real risk to anything. Even the Expendables feel neutered as characters not just because the actual actors don’t reprise their roles but because the story is so wafer thin there really aren’t any moments for any of them to stand out as there were in the movie.
Not having the Expendables stick out, at least in a good way as the voice acting is beyond humorous, really takes away from the game as does limiting the Expendable crew to only four. Why not include Lee Christmas (Jason Statham) or Toll Road (Randy Couture)? Part of the fun that’s derided from The Expendables lays in how it’s cheesy as hell and has a near earth-shattering amount of machismo and testosterone. Obviously you can’t get the same aura in a video game as seeing Sly Stallone engage in a live-action fist-fight with Jean-Claude Van Damme, but the Expendables 2: Videogame has absolutely no personality to it other than being cheesy in a terrible kind of way.
Instead of being entertained from start to finish in a game that feels like Robotron: Modern Warfare Edition, The Expendables 2: Videogame is a shoddily put together game that is just tiresome to play. As a twin-stick shooter The Expendables 2 could’ve work but when you factor in the repetitive game design, D-grade narrative, and visuals that are the epitome of budget the game simply isn’t that good and is definitely not worth your time. Even the multiplayer aspect isn’t worth checking out since the quality of the game is so bad that it would be shameful of you to try and sucker one of your friends into playing. In the end the only thing that’s expendable in The Expendables 2: Videogame is your time and enjoyment since there are better things to do than play this game.