Remember Watchmen: The End Is Nigh? A movie tie-in game that looked improbably good for a downloadable and then wound up playing like the most uninspired crap? That experience made me skeptical about the Expendables 2 video game.
Granted, other movie tie-in games—like the fun Scott Pilgrim beat-em-up—have showed up on PSN and Xbox Live and wound up being enjoyable. But I had a bad case of the shakes when I first heard about The Expendables 2.
However, Expendables 2 delivers a ridiculously high-octane killfest much like the movies it's based on. Up to four players can control characters played by Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li and Sylvester Stallone in the Expendables movies. Crews wields a shotgun, Lundgren a sniper rifle, Li thowing knives and a SMG and Stallone an assault rifle. It's built on a twin-stick shooter control scheme with pick-ups that let you switch weapons.
There's a surprising amount of variability in Expendables 2, with a rudimentary cover system and tons of on-screen enemies to frag in gory fashion. Solo players can switch the character they're playing by choosing a direction on the d-pad. Explosions happen just as often as you expect. And the more enemies you take out, the closer you get to pulling off a signature kill. Once the appropriate meter gets maxed out and you press the corresponding button, the camera pulls in close to let you watch one of the action stars terminate a bad guy in dramatic fashion.
Maybe it's because it's not trying to live up to anything lofty like the Watchmen game was, but the Ubisoft title felt in line with its cinematic counterparts. It seems like it will be a great way to while a too-hot summer weekend with a bunch of friends who all want to be an impossibly tough badass. Look for it to be downloadable in a couple of weeks.