Mercenaries 2 Co-Op Hands-On

We get our first look at what destroying Venezuela is like in a multiplayer setting.

Mercenaries 2 is a game that has received plenty of coverage over its rather lengthy development cycle, but thus far little of that coverage has dealt with the highly anticipated cooperative multiplayer. We have heard that it will be a seamless experience in which the joining player simply drops in and out of the host player's session. The players will run around Venezuela blowing up everything they would in a normal single-player mode, but with the added benefit of being able to revel in all that destruction alongside a friend. We're pleased to say we finally had the opportunity to experience Mercs 2's co-op mode at yesterday's EA Showcase event in Redwood Shores. But we're even more pleased that this feature is every bit as simple and fun as we expected.

Blowing stuff up is always more fun with a friend.

The process of getting into another person's game is a simple and painless one. You simply accept an invitation if it's a private session or jump right in if it's an open session, and then you're automatically teleported from whichever part of the expansive Venezuelan setting you were causing a ruckus in all the way to where your buddy is. For example, if he's in a helicopter shooting missiles at an oil refinery when you join his game, you'll automatically be put in the gunner's seat of that helicopter. Right from the get-go, you'll be able to engage in acts of wanton destruction as soon as you join his session.

You're given a lot of freedom in co-op mode. None of the missions change from single-player to co-op; you and a friend can progress through the entire story as a pair. On the flip side, there are no co-op-specific missions. That puts a lot of pressure on Pandemic to make sure each and every mission in the game is fun to play with either one person or two, since none are geared toward one or the other. Thankfully, the mission structure in the game is so open-ended that we can't imagine the "Do what you want!" approach to co-op will be much of an issue. If anything, the sheer variety of ways you can go about achieving a goal should be an asset to the co-op experience.

That's not to say there aren't any limitations on the Mercs 2 co-op experience. The one that will probably become the biggest hurdle is the tether system. On the map in the corner of the screen you'll notice a circle with a red boundary. That circle is the only area you can go to while in co-op mode. It adapts to the movements of both players, not just the host. Once you've reached the outside area, you'll see your screen go gray with static, which is Pandemic's cheeky way of saying that the camera signal is going bad. However, at half a kilometer in size, the tether is a pretty huge area. In our hands-on session, we spent a long time cruising around in anaconda helicopters, plowing through buildings in tanks, and tossing nuclear bunker busters like they were baseballs before the boundary become an issue.

Achievement fanatics will be pleased to hear that Mercs 2 will be offering a few co-op-specific achievements, including a viral one that begins once someone plays against a member of the Pandemic team and that spreads like wildfire from then on. Unfortunately, it doesn't look as though PlayStation 3 trophies will be supported as of yet. However, the co-op experience in Mercs 2 is a blast with or without the incentive to rack up rewards. Mercenaries has always seemed like the type of game that would be exponentially more fun in multiplayer, and now our suspicions have been confirmed. You can expect to see Mercenaries 2 arrive in a matter of days. Its release date is currently pegged at August 31.

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226 comments
Kokuya
Kokuya

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Kokuya
Kokuya

The Co-op is live only, however I'm not sure whether system link is supported (I think it might not be). Sparticus: You cannot play between the live and the PC servers unfortunately. Not that it affects me in truth, I'm buying it on friday regardless.

Fayt1986
Fayt1986

yeah whats up with the co-op is it only doable by live or does it have split screen wasnt a very good preview to leave this important part out not every1 has live

SSBFan12
SSBFan12

So can you use do Co-op with out Xbox Live?

Sparticus1013
Sparticus1013

This is a fairly noobish question, as I've never been a big fan of multi-player games. But, if I had the 360 version, and a friend of mine has the PC version, can we co-op together? Regardless of the answer, I can't wait to drop some nukes.

clintbrew
clintbrew

Cannot wait 4 this hoping to Get it Friday (UK)

PUREPL7YA
PUREPL7YA

Just come OUT already!!! Beside MGS4 and GTA4, this is the one game I have been waiting for all year (not including GOW2)!

Robborboy
Robborboy

I think you people are failing to realize that allowing split screen effectively doubles the amount of strain the game puts on the system. That is why on games that have split screen IE Halo3, the details and draw distance. Also why would developers want to put split screen when i has clearly been proven that even if they don't add it it will be purchased. It would just be wasteful development time. On top of all of that the majority of games hav access to online play rather you want to listen to the facts or not. Both WoWcrack and Xbox Live prove this.

tehomie
tehomie

this is going to be a really awesome game. i cant wait to play it in co-op

STUDLOFF
STUDLOFF

Does the game come out Saturday at 8:00 p.m. or does it come out at 12:00 a.m. on sunday? because IGN's countdown timer says Saturday.

RaiderNic99
RaiderNic99

YES! The whole time I was playing the first game on the original Xbox I was like, " This would be awesome with more than 1 person." And well now it is! But unfortunately for some people I don't believe that their will be split-screen. Which I know is disappointing to some but oh well that the reality of many games today!

f35acepilot
f35acepilot

Is there splitscreen? I really hope that there is because my friend is really excited about this game although he doesn't have a ps3 or 360, so he was going to come over and play co-op.

chad_giac
chad_giac

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

delatgamer12345
delatgamer12345

i like the multiplayer online part, i have a ps3 so i hope that they make the trophies available soon , hate the fact that the game isn't split screen but online co-op will have to do.

HoodRichGangsta
HoodRichGangsta

Is this game gonna be Co-Op only online or will there be Split-Screen too? That's the only question I'm really worried about cuz I don't have X-Box Live Yet.

B-Boy009
B-Boy009

To bad this game comes out one day before the Socom Beta comes out, sorry this will not be on my game list. It looks fun though.

Gedz16
Gedz16

this game looks amzing

twistedkid77
twistedkid77

Yeah, basically I want to know what everyone else is saying. Is it splitscreenable? I would love to know :/

crisvok
crisvok

the guy who said that this game can be propaganda is just paranoid ..... why dont they make more freaking slit-screen games damn!!!!!!!!!!please let this game be slitscreen!

division_9
division_9

It should have splitscreen since the majority of the world doesnt play as much online gaming as those developers do.

crisvok
crisvok

lol propaganda u guys are funny its just a damn game botton line most people like games in our time they dont like past or future games like me then who the hell we gonna shoot at almost all war games are based in conflicts that already happen or something similar since chavez is a bit frisky then the game is based on that

Scarcrow27
Scarcrow27

Jer 1 go to your local library and look at the FICTION isle and see if there is anything on the us government brainwashing people with videogame (thats such a stupid idea like area 51) there probably will be

joey101010
joey101010

Since it is a freeroam game with a large open world, you can pretty much say no to splitscreen right off the bat.

Plasma-Dog
Plasma-Dog

So is it splitscreen or not. Please message me.

sevenrains
sevenrains

It sounds like multiplayer is online only but it doesnt really say. Why arent we ever told if games are split-screen anymore?

sevenrains
sevenrains

It sounds like multiplayer is online only but it doesnt really say. Why arent we ever told if games are split-screen anymore?

Koal_Jadian
Koal_Jadian

what the hell? This article doesn't even say How you friggin play it. Is it only online? Is there slitscreen. How can you possibly have an article about co-op and now explain who its co-operative?

hiroyukiwu
hiroyukiwu

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

payback_56
payback_56

I think it was funny, the 1st game was not real hyped, and it turned out amazing, hope this game is just as good, if not better...

Kno2morrow
Kno2morrow

KrzyJoe. You are crazy. I will sell you a tinfoil hat cheap! You are subject only to what you hold in mind. I am trying to get your non-existent punctuation out of mine. If this is propaganda then bring me a spoon. Imagine the political fallout if they had set it in North Korea again. Imagine the the economic fallout if they had done that. Disaster! No one would buy the same game twice! Not even if they were crazy... Crazy.

xSnoZx
xSnoZx

I'm wondering... Is there any co-op to play in the same computer? I mean, can I play with a friend or my girlfriend in my computer with a gamepad or using both gamepads or the first player mouse/keyboard and the second the gamepad? Cause some web's said so but others don't say anything about that.

Guljigit92
Guljigit92

Looks great but i've never liked Mercenaries (1) dispute what people say about the game

dan_gerous87
dan_gerous87

I'm new to the Mercenaries series but these games look like fun! Right now I don't know whether to get the first game first on PS2 before I get a PS3 & buy this. Wait this one's coming out for PS2 as well isn't it? Oh decisions, decisions...

KrzyJoe
KrzyJoe

of course thay say its fiction and it is actually fiction but not necessarily harmless all those games that suddenly came out about the Middle east,and those things they work on some peoples minds probably not you guys but somebody is being spoonfed some sort of military babyfood. These games are based on something and I think that just to make money they shouldnt exploit that, okay it's fiction and business but business has gotten this world screwed up the way it is.personally I'm not taking the venzuela thing too seriously but games like that just turn out to be crap anyways.

keno004
keno004

EA is trash I hope they didnt ruin this game. Like doing something along the line not including system link in games that need it.

btwillett2003
btwillett2003

Hey JER_1 : I am sure you didn't by GTA4 because it promoted violence in downtown New York either..?? Ever heard of the concept that video games are based on FICTION!! Or is there an Italian Plumber running around stomping on people's heads. These games are not politics to brainwash the people who play them. It is pure BUSINESS!!! It is called " I can make more money than you!" Gamers love games where they can do what every they want, (SANDBOX), where they can complete the objective many different ways. So with that useful piece of information, companies followed this idea. It is business, they don't make games to spare people's feelings. If they made the setting where mercs invaded Russia, Europe, Asia, or how about the United States? If it was based on invading the United States, I would not have a problem with the game because it was FICTION!! They can't please everybody when people make games, that is just the nature of it. There will always be somebody who will be offended but keep in mind that it was pure business.

typeRseries
typeRseries

mercenaries is all bout destroying buildings...gta4 is all bout destroying people with the improved ragdoll physics...they are both fun as hell

HuxleyHobbes
HuxleyHobbes

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

HuxleyHobbes
HuxleyHobbes

jer_1 I can't believe you are seriously buying into bizarre propaganda of the sort Chavez and Morales are spewing. This game is not a brainwashing project. It is a game. There are huge numbers of games set in America or American-friendly countries; they are not military-industrial complex works to prepare the populace for a Nazi/Soviet/Zombie/Alien/Robot invasion.

Janpieterzun
Janpieterzun

Jer_1 I respect your conviction my friend.

jer_1
jer_1

This game has some potential but for the sheer reason that they are trying to implant the idea that its fine and dandy to attack a nation like Venezuela with mercenaries, I will not be buying this game. Most people just do not seem to realize or care that a high number of games being released now are in fact backed by the U.S. military. They are backing these games because they all work as a perfect tool to desensitize people to seeing things like attacking people they would never normally attack. *shrug* Buy it if you will but I, for one, won't be supporting it.

Agreb91
Agreb91

Mercs 2 looks pretty good!

gameboy360
gameboy360

For everyone asking for splitscreen that would be almost impossible id imagine. If there is a tether for online gameplay then for splitscreen (if it was possible at all) the tether would prolly be 20 feet..idk something not far at all. Cant wait though! I pity those who say it looks like crap. looks like theyll just miss out on launching nukes on Venezuela with a friend

BrayneDrayne
BrayneDrayne

Anyone here play Mercenaries 1? That was butt-ugly and made by EA and it was still awesome in all kids of ways.

ScottishPrik
ScottishPrik

This game looks great. Too bad EA will probably find a way to screw it up.

Armalite1016
Armalite1016

Yeah Pandemic have never been the best with graphics, but hey, at least this doesn't look at bad as GTA4.