Mercenary Kings Review
Oh god, not another bloody indie game…
…is what the internet seems to be whining about these days.
Yeah, there are very few PS4 or Xbox One games at the moment; but honestly, what did you expect? These are brand new consoles.
When did our industry begin to snub games simply because of who made them, how they look or because it isn’t deemed a ‘proper’ game?
So ignoring all that, Mercenary Kings is actually really good, and you should play it.
What Is Mercenary Kings?
Very basically, Mercenary Kings is Metal Slug meets Monster Hunter. It’s a 2D side-scrolling shooter with collectable materials – which can then be used to craft new weapons, attachments or upgrades.
It helps that its 2D sprites look gorgeous – coming from the same guy who did the art for Scott Pilgrim The Movie: The Game, you’d expect it to – but really it’s the gameplay that really shines.
It’s so simple, at its core, but completely compulsive, too.
Each mission will task you with fairly simple objectives, whether that’s collecting certain resources, rescuing a particular number of hostages or defeating/capturing a specified enemy.
It all ties into an underlying RPG system not unlike Borderlands, too. The type of gun, the various attachments and even the ammo you’re using all affect the amount of damage you’ll do.
But also how fast you can fire, how quickly you reload, the spread of your bullets, their range or other effects such as elemental damage or unique attack types.
All of this, hand-chosen by yourself in the weapon customisation screen.
Customisation In Mercenary Kings
The beauty of the system is that the weapon you use really does affect the way you play – and that might totally differ to another player’s choice.
Some may prefer long-range snipers, fast-firing but weaker assault rifles or close-range shotties.
Or maybe you’re like us, opting for that one super-powerful handgun with minimal bullets in a clip. Hit ‘em hard, hit ‘em fast.
There are additional items available for crafting, too, such as mods that enhance your gameplay in certain ways – better speed, item drop rate and all that – or even the knife you have equipped.
There’s some peripheral stuff you can craft too, but that’s only really important if you want that platinum Trophy (and who doesn’t?!)
It’s that constant feedback, however, that keeps you coming back for more.
Knowing you can build a certain attachment if you collect a little more of a certain rarer material will send you into particular stages hunting the baddies that might drop it.
Knowing a boss will drop the one piece of equipment you need to craft an overpowered bullet type will get you replaying his mission.
Knowing you can unlock a few extra weapons if you complete that chapter’s final mission will send you in early, perhaps before you’re even ready. Because it can be a pretty tough game at times, too.
Mercenary Kings Review
The level of quality here is outstanding. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Metal Slug game – or at least a game like it – then you’ll automatically be on board.
The detail in the animation is superb, and really is a treat to witness in action. The gameplay is tightly refined, allowing for precision – and challenge – should you need it.
There’s a great level of personality to everything, too. Though the story is hardly going to be important here, the wacky – that’s right, we used the word wacky – characters you’ll meet hold everything together.
It’s solid gold proof that Kickstarter works, and Tribute Games should be proud of the result. Hell, you should be proud if you were one of the backers that helped make this happen.
Version tested: PS4