Mercenary Kings PS4 review
- Posted April 14th, 2014 at 08:04 EDT by Garri Bagdasarov
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Despite the repetition, Mercenary Kings offers an addictive customization system and a good all-round shoot 'em up experience.
- Great pixel art and animation
- Local and Online Co-op up to four players
- Addictive gun customization
- Repetitive missions
- Earning less money in co-op
The meat of the game comes from its weapon customization. Players are able to craft guns in six different categories. If you want to have an assault rifle with a sub-machine gun magazine and a sniper scope, for example, you can; each category changes the stats of your weapons from the ammunition clip, to the damage and the range that players can shoot before bullets start to scatter. Players can even change their ammunition type adding elemental stats and making their bullets bounce off walls. But it isn't just simple gun customization options.
Tribute Games went out of its way to create some interesting combinations. As players progress they will discover that some unusual gun parts start to appear, from toilets to the bodies of cats and dragon skulls. At one point, we had a dragon skull for a muzzle and a toilet flusher for the scope, while carrying out fire and ice damage simultaneously. Suffice to say nobody, will have the same set of weapons.
In order to unlock more parts and customize their guns, players will have to collect loot that is dropped by enemies and found in cargo chests. When the required amount of components is found players will then need the money necessary to buy the parts to build their ultimate gun. Money is earned from completing missions, and each quest provides a set amount of money for completion, though players who accomplish the secondary objectives and secret objectives can earn extra loot and cash. After a while, old loot becomes less important as stronger weapon upgrades require rare loot. It would have been nice to be able to exchange our loot for other loot or even for money, but instead you’re forced to replay some missions to get the loot you want.
After each mission, players return to their camp. The camp itself is populated with a gunsmith that upgrades your guns, and a shop, where players are able to buy ration packs and grenades. The camp is populated with more personalities that allow you to customize your living quarters and change the color scheme of your character along with your character’s name. There’s also the opportunity to check out the game’s bestiary and enemy weaknesses.
The game supports both local and online co-op up to four players, so friends can loot and customize together, but playing in co-op is a double-edged sword; when loot is picked up all players will receive it, but it is important to know that each of the three lives players have per-mission is shared between players and the money collected at the end of the mission is split between players, thus making it harder to upgrade weapons and buy items.
Overall, Mercenary Kings does a great job of recreating the arcade feel of classic shoot 'em ups while mixing in modern-day mechanics to give a fresh feel. With phenomenal sprite animations, witty humor and addictive customization options over hundreds of levels, not to mention the addition of local and online co-op, it’s a no brainier for fans of shoot ‘em ups.
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