- Publisher: Ubisoft
- Developer: Ubisoft
- ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
- Genre: Action
- Pros: Low Price, Non-Stop Action
- Cons: Repetition, Aiming Issues, Difficulty Spikes, Pathetic A.I.
Available exclusively (for now) on the PlayStation Network for $14.99 (cheaper if you're a PlayStation Plus member -- $11.99), "The Expendables 2" focuses on co-op play as you and three online friends take on the roles of Barney Ross (Stallone), Gunnar Jensen (Lundgren), Hale Caesar (Crews), and Yin Yang (Li). Each character starts with different weapons and boasts different skill sets but they're largely interchangeable, not unlike the four characters in an old-fashioned action-arcade co-cop like "Gauntlet." They have different skills but they're really just there to destroy the enemy as quickly as possible. Pick one and head out on the path of destruction.
Gameplay in "The Expendables 2" is about as simple as it gets and that's one of the main problems. When you randomly kill your 1,000th stupid enemy, there's really not much thrill left in the action. I say "randomly" because the rapid fire approach of "The Expendables 2" is a quantity over quality dynamic. The enemy is that way -- fire in that direction. Don't bother to aim. Hit the melee button if you need to. Throw your grenades. But, mostly, constantly, just fire your weapons. You'll unload thousands, maybe millions, of shells by the time "The Expendables 2" ends and it gets numbing after just a short period of time much less over the entire experience.
To be fair, there is a bit of variation to the combat -- you start with standard weapons but can pick up others like rocket launchers in-level and some characters are required to plant explosives or fulfill other level-specific needs -- but not enough to alleviate the repetition. It doesn't help that the enemies you face have the lowest threshold of A.I. in any game in a long time. They run right into your gunfire in wave after wave without a single ounce of strategy. It's understandable that one shouldn't expect "Call of Duty"-level flanking abilities in a downloadable title based on "The Expendables 2" but there's a lot of room between that and this frustrating experience. You shoot. They shoot. Again and again and again.
As the game progresses through four chapters with multiple levels, you do earn XP that allows for upgrades to make it a little more customizable. However, even these elements feel poorly developed. Almost every element of the game has that stink of a title that wasn't even on the drawing board until a month or two ago. "Wait! We need an Expendables game! Somebody get on that!" It's upsetting to play a game that feels like it has about as much creativity and passion behind it as a McDonald's Happy Meal toy.