A mercenary’s life is a bountiful life. It’s a life fraught constant danger, but with a big payoff and bigger reward. Mercenaries aren’t looked upon fondly, as they can be seen as classless agents with no honor. However, while they want the title of being Dogs of War, they are not bound by rules and conventions. Instead, they will find resources and ways to get the job done.
This is the world of Mercenary Games, a side-scroller action shmup from Canadian-based Tribute Games. Originally released in 2015, Mercenary Kings has made a triumphant return as Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition, a free update that features a bevy of enhancements and improvements to the original game. There are, of course, plenty of other games with shooting, action, and nostalgic graphics, but Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition, is proof that there can only be one king.
The evil forces of C.L.A.W have arisen with their nefarious purposes of world domination. This evil organization is building mechanical soldiers and experimental genetic serums to enhance their soldiers. The Mercenary Kings are sent to dispatch C.L.A.W, but the mission goes terribly wrong. You and member of your team are cut down and brutally mutilated. Somehow, your helicopter pilot medevacs you back to base, and the experimental serum is injected into you and the slain members of your team. You are revived, but the fight has only begun. With an entire team behind you, it’s time to go out there and kick C.L.A.W.
Mercenary Kings puts players in the role of a mercenary, attached to a team of fellow mercenaries and support staff. Players have access to a completely customizable arsenal, along with a shop for special items, a weapon Smith for knives, a chef for nutrition, a scientist for special modifications, and intelligence officers bringing data from the battlefield. From the beginning, players will have access to a basic handgun and knife as they slowly introduce themselves to the nature of the game. The first few missions will require securing times, eliminating targets, and hostage rescue. After a few missions, Mercenary Kings begins to open up into an experience that is hard to put down.
At the completion of each mission, players are sent back to base, reaping the rewards of acquiring new materials and cold hard cash. Using fund, players can buy various gun parts to form the ultimate defensive weapon. At this point, you’ll toss the water-pistol of a handgun in favor of a laser-guided Tommy Gun that fires acid bullets. The customization options are nearly limitless.
Whether players wish to fight in close range, long range, or medium, the gun customizations are entirely up to the players’ imagination. The same can said with choosing knives. While the knives are more present, the assortment of knives, ranging from drills to electric clubs, is also impressive. Players can also use their funds to buy modifications. As they have been subjected to an experiment, you can wield a few extra abilities that other soldiers cannot. These range from faster reload to enchanting item collection.
From here on out, Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition becomes a matter of accomplishing missions to afford that next big update. In some games, this is a chore, but in Mercenary Kings, it’s a great good time! With the prospect of dozens upon dozens of missions, MercenaryvKinfs: Reloaded Edition will definitely keep you going for quite some time.
When in missions players will have to engage the enemy, balancing out reload times whiles avoiding obstacles. Additionally, each level contains secret objectives and optional targets. As mentioned before gathering resources is important and players should be on the lookout for that as well.
Being to slay waves of soldiers with an assault rifle that is half animal and half toilet is a silly but rewarding feat. The enemy, though, will put up a bitter fight. C.L.A.W has access to mechanized infantry, which includes robots and combat mechs. These bad guys will inflict massive damage to you and can be troublesome to defeat. Fortunately, you can use your radio to call in first aid drops, shock bombs, extraction, or gather intelligence. MercenaryvKings: Reloaded Edition is a challenging but not unfair game.
New to the Reloaded Edition is online gameplay, cross-save support, and better balancing. When I played the original game, I was out off by the games sheer difficulty for single players. Fortunately, that difficulty, especially for beginners, has been adjusted to better take in other players, making for a much more accessible experience. The reloaded Edition features online game with up to three additional players as well. If you can play online you are in for an absolutely spectacular time with Mercenary Kings.
Finally, for those fortunate enough to have a PSVITA, the game has cross-save support, meaning your save progress is automatically uploaded online and can continue on your device. When everything comes together, Mercenary Kings becomes an absolutely amazing action experience, both on the go and at home. Shooting, jumping and defeating the enemy all feel right and the visual presentation, which is inspired by Metal Slug, is captivating to look at. MercenaryvKings: Reloaded Edition is great, whether for short bursts or long bursts.
In terms of any setbacks for Mercenary Kings, it would probably just be the lack of support options when in combat. Players can call in support but you only have so much battery power to use before you run out. There was no option for airstrikes or screen-clearing special power either. These aren’t deal-breaking issues by any means, but they probably would have given single players a better chance when fighting the games’ more difficult enemies.
Mercenary Kings: Reloaded Edition is one of the Hallmark action titles of 2018. It’s newly enhanced improvements and accessibility, coupled with the same great gameplay and presentation, along with the ability to take it on the go, make for an incredibly fun action and shooting experience. Whether alone or with a friend Mercenary Kings will have you feeling like a king.