Mercenary Kings (PC) Review

By SirLink 06.08.2014

Review for Mercenary Kings on PC

Mercenary Kings was funded by Kickstarter and developed by Tribute Games, formed from the team that previously worked on the well-received Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game. It's available on both PC and PlayStation 4, with a cross-buy enabled PlayStation Vita version to follow at an unspecified date. How does the side-scrolling shoot 'em up fare, though? Read on to find out…

Taking control of either a male or female mercenary, the goal of the game is to free an island of the forces of CLAW by completing a plethora of missions that award money and materials to craft more gun parts and other things with. The character can shoot, jump, stab and roll to dodge enemy attacks, which all controls very well. Not being able to aim diagonally can be a nuisance, though, especially against flying opponents that approach from said angles. Ammo is unlimited, but weapons do have to be reloaded through an active reload system, similar to the Gears of War series.

The main issue of the game is the bad pacing caused by the mission structure and level design. The quest-based design works for a franchise such as Monster Hunter, because it's really just a way to pick which monsters to hunt. Here, however, they are full of tedious tasks that require searching the entire map, whether it's killing a specific amount of enemies, gathering materials or rescuing a number of hostages. Objectives are only rarely marked on the map, so it's necessary to search every corner just in case something that's required is hidden there. The levels also aren't particularly fun to navigate, which is made worse by the fact that there are several jobs like this per stage.

Screenshot for Mercenary Kings on PC

Boss fights are a lot more entertaining to do, but even they can needlessly drag on if the boss suddenly decides to leave the combat zone and instantly moves to a different location. Chasing it down is made even more annoying by foes that respawn as soon as they are off-screen - something that's also an issue during general exploring. It's good for those who may want to farm them for extra materials, but during regular play, having to deal with ones that were only recently dispatched simply hinders the flow of missions.

It's a real shame, because other elements of the game are executed far better. Characters can be customised with up to two Bionic mods at a time, and several different gun parts such as barrel, magazine or sight can be put together to create weapons that suit one's tastes. In addition to the facilities used to improve the character or weapons, the base camp also houses an item store to stock up on health items or explosives, a database that can be used to verify which enemies drop which materials, and a kitchen where it's possible to eat a meal to gain a temporary health boost and one of various food skills for the next quest.

Screenshot for Mercenary Kings on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Mercenary Kings has a fairly solid foundation for a 2D action game and a lot of options for gun setups, but its general structure really hurts the flow of the game. Many missions require searching the entire area for objectives like enemies to kill, materials to collect or hostages to rescue, which is made even more tedious by foes that respawn as soon as they're off-screen. This means that a lot of time is spent navigating a set of levels in hope to find what's demanded, which becomes repetitive very quickly. It's a shame, too, because the game does have its moments, particularly during some boss fights. If it had much more of that fast-paced action instead of a plethora of tiresome fetch quests, it could have been a great and addictive title, but as it is, it simply falls flat and fails to realise its full potential.

Developer

Tribute Games

Publisher

Tribute Games

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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