Mercenaries 2 purports to give you all sorts of freedom when it comes to how you exact your revenge, but in reality, your choices are few. Yes, there are different factions and groups spread out across the map, but typically, only one of them has a contract that will help advance the storyline. Most of the contracts are limited to annoying escort missions, fetch quests, or a combination of the two. You can also earn cash by capturing or killing and then photographing high-value targets. This is interesting the first few times, but the money you make for bagging someone isn't worth the hassle. Factions get mad when you take out their people, and friendly soldiers will often kill the guy you're trying to extract alive.
The game can be mildly amusing for a short time, but the fun quickly grinds to a halt as the game's bevy of bugs and problems make themselves apparent. Enemy AI is horrific. If you're injured, you can just run behind a building and hide--soldiers won't make much of an effort to find you. They won't even go to great lengths to shoot you if you're right next to them, often standing there oblivious while you pepper them with bullets. When you have to destroy a object, sometimes the easiest thing to do is get inside of it and let the bad guys blow up the very thing they're supposed to be protecting. The problems just keep on coming. Rescue helicopters can land on your head and crash (if they show up at all); vehicles can get stuck on tree trunks; people you're supposed to escort can't keep up with you; hitting a stop sign or many other seemingly innocuous objects will stop a vehicle in its tracks, which is a big problem if you're trying to make a quick escape. Combat falls flat because shooting guys takes longer and is more difficult than simply running up to them and punching them. Enemy soldiers can shoot through walls and often appear out of thin air, too. Civilians will run right in front of you when you drive, costing you money each time you hit them. You might even be unlucky enough to have the game crash during a load screen or even lose progress due to a save game failing. The list of bugs and problems really is staggering.
U-G-L-Y you ain't got no alibi, you ugly.
Mercenaries 2's visuals are terrible. The draw distance is so pitiful that steering boats is difficult because islands will pop up in your path so fast that you'll run aground. The game's bread and butter--its explosions--are generally disappointing. There aren't many different buildings to destroy, either, so you end up seeing the same explosions again and again. You won't see the buildings fall, though. A cloud of smoke hides the structure, and when the smoke clears, the building is gone. Clipping, low-quality cutscenes, repetitive buildings, enemies that all look alike (right down to the same terrible animation when they get shot), a horrific camera, a drab color palette, and no widescreen or progressive scan support round out the package.
Mercenaries 2 is filled with bugs and glitches that are unacceptable in a retail release. Even if it were possible to overlook the broken elements, you're still left with abysmal AI, repetitive mission structure, awful graphics, touchy controls, and a huge world without much to do. Mindless, random destruction provides some thrills, but there are so many better open-world action games out there that there's no reason to spend your time and money on this clearly unfinished game.