Tempting the fates is yet another videogame: movie marriage. Throw caution to the wind with Sly and friends.

On a surface level, Expendables 2 should kick ass to the nth degree. A movie sequel starring legendary action heroes…re-enacted in a top-down shooter…where the entire purpose is to, well, kick ass. Four fighters to choose from, oodles of destruction, quips galore, and enough bad guys to light up like New Year’s in Times Square. Did I mention Van Damme?!

Multiplayer? You’ve got it. Signature kills? Check. Actual voice-overs from some of the film’s stars? Whiz-bam. This had campy cool stamped all over it.

My, oh my; something went terribly awry. Having slept on it, I’m left wondering whether I’ve played the worst movie-to-game adaptation of all time. On a grander scale, where does this abysmal gaming experience rate amongst some of the sorriest of all titles, period?

To begin our journey into sad places, Expendables 2 is a visual mess. Graphics are blurry, arguably borderline incomprehensible. It’s very difficult to determine friend from foe, as characters are miniscule, non-descript, and backgrounds not even the slightest bit interactive. Cut scenes are PS2 (at best) quality, ugly drawings hodge-podged together to resemble some aspect of its movie namesake.

The terrible graphics are bedfellows to abysmal gameplay. As it’s near-impossible to determine who the hell you are and/or what you’re firing at, Expendables 2 quickly devolves into a brain dead, button masher to nowhere. Wave after wave of enemy appears seemingly out of the aether itself. Your buddies will die…a lot… with it near-impossible to pick them out in the chaotic crowd of mini blurry people. Thankfully, Expendables 2 features an intuitive d-pad switch to another team member, making revives and/or recoveries a snap. At least they got that right.

Environments, extending that above, are nonsensical. Some will enable cover, others not. The only logic behind this discrepancy are occasional on-screen cues to press L2 to embrace Mr. or Mrs. Shelter. See, in the Land of Expendables 2, a couple of wooden planks - aided by button instruction - makes for better cover than a giant friggin’ house. Your blurry buddies certainly don’t help the cause. AI morons, they’d rather do the bullet lambada than protect their hides. Said comrades also possess an uncanny ability to lag too far behind to force stage advancement. I literally had to – via manual switching – pull teammates forward. Dammit, Dolph: work WITH me.

Also, the game’s cooler features – aforementioned signature kills, for instance – almost never happen as they should, even with those beloved on-screen cues to get the party started. In concert, a terrible aiming system places a premium on simple melee attacks, a moronic but effective tactic when surrounded by literally dozens of bad guys firing semi-automatic rounds. On the flipside, the same aiming system enables ultra-precise take-outs of guys perched on towers and the like. Sigh.

Audio…wow. Voice-overs so bad, you’d have to hear it to believe it. Sound effects are non-descriptive, making it a chore to identify weapon location and/or type.

Online co-op fared equally bad. The poor chap partnered with me likewise struggled with pushing AI teammates forward, also the cornucopia of gameplay foibles all around us. I salute you, random other guy/gal brave enough to join me on this quest toward the gaming abyss. To think Expendables 2 even has the cajones to try and sell upgraded character skills via the PSN store. You clever bastards.

The worst part of Expendables 2 is that it didn’t have to, well, suck. The concept is there…potential for execution staring at the man in the mirror. Four unique characters, tons of bad guys, lots of explosions, cheesiness factor longing to be unlocked. A nice multiplayer component where colleagues can – through levelled up Expendable of choice – partner up toward even more Armageddon. My DualShock cried with me for this gaming travesty.

Expendables 2 is a good idea gone horribly awry. What could’ve been a clever top down shooter instead fails on nearly every gaming account. [2]

  • Play as four of the film's famed heroes
  • Intuitive character switching
  • Street cred for enduring a simply awful game
  • Last generation graphics
  • Blurry people and environments
  • Buyer's remorse requiring significant therapy to overcome
Quote: "Expendables 2 is a good idea gone horribly awry. What could’ve been a clever top down shooter instead fails on nearly every gaming account."
Reviewed by Paul Stuart - 08.10.12 - Platform Reviewed: Playstation 3


Expendables 2




US Release
August '12



Players 1-4
Trophy Support
Price $14.99