Electronic Arts was displaying Mercenaries 2 at their booth located in the Barker Hangar during the show, and while the build was still pretty early, you can clearly see the amount of potential Merc 2 has. For starters, it's an open-ended sandbox game with an emphasis on destruction. But everything in the game revolves around money, so you have to manage your gameplay properly. For instance, killing innocent civilians will cost you money, as will destroying objects. You'll be able to hire an attorney, of sorts, who will have the ability to lessen the financial impact of each criminal act you commit in the game.

Everything in the game is absolutely destructible. See a building? Blow it up. See a forest? Light it on fire, burn it to ashes and watch the mayhem spread. The engine still exhibits tell-tale signs of being early, as pop-up and draw-in reared their ugly heads everywhere, but reps from Pandemic Studios assured me by the time the final build rolls around, none of those issues will be apparent. 'The game is changing and improving with every passing day', according to the game's developers.

You can get inside or hijack any form of transportation that you see, and that includes helicopters, big rig oil-tankers, tanks, cars, and so forth. One of the funniest features I was shown was the use of a grappling hook. The player can use the grappling hook to lunge himself atop a nearby helicopter in the sky, climb up the hook and hijack the chopper. If the operator of a machine puts up a fight, the hijacking process becomes a bit of a mini-game. It'll require a few timed presses of the displayed buttons to stun the operator, which will prompt your character to slam the door of the chopper against your opponent's head, and then throw him out of the heli down to his death. Violent? Sure. Extremely funny? Yeah.

The grappling hook can then be attached to the chopper and used when you're flying. I was able to latch it onto a huge oil-rig tanker, throw-it up in the air and then shoot it down, watching the explosion unfold before it reaches the surface. Mercenaries 2 still has some time in development, so I hope Pandemic stays true to their word and fixes up all of the aesthetic quirks with the current build.

Related Game(s): Mercenaries 2: World in Flames

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