The Expendables 2 preview – Hands-on with the most obligatory movie tie-in ever

It was sort of shocking that there wasn’t some sort of game attached to the machismo-leaking Expendables. This mistake isn’t being repeated, as Ubisoft has announced a downloadable game to tie into the film’s sequel. At San Diego Comic Con, the publisher had the game on display, and we took time to check out a small taste of the testosterone-packed title.

Four characters were available, allowing us to jump into the shoes Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, and Terry Cruise (or whatever their names are in the movie), each of which had his own weapons and abilities in the two-stick shooter. Dolf, for instance, started with a sniper rifle that made him better for players looking to pluck off foes from afar, whereas Jet Li’s knife made him a melee mastermind.

Each character also had a unique melee takedown, which was activated after enough enemies had been killed, and access to grenades. Other instances called on different team members to preform specific tasks, creating some variety in the gameplay as we’d be asked to complete tasks beyond blowing up baddies. Sadly, while it was definitely action-packed, the level we played wasn’t very exciting. We thought that a game that had us blowing up hundreds of enemies with rockets would be more interesting, but we were surprised just how uninteresting it was. The waves of identical enemies weren’t visually interesting, and the lack of variety grew tiresome by the end of the level.

The voice acting was bothersome, too. Ubisoft opted to use sound-alikes instead of getting the actual actors for the movie, and while it’s not a deal-breaker, it’s a shame that the franchise, which is focused so completely on its stars, couldn’t even get the actors to mutter some dialog for the game. If we’re playing as Sly Stallone, we want to hear his slurring, signature voice! It’s why we’re here in the first place.

There’s still time before launch, and there are plenty of things that could save the Expendables 2 game before it comes out. There’s a chance that the level in question was an early one, which would explain the basic enemies and lackluster set pieces, and being able to play as the rest of the cast would make our action movie dreams come true, but we’re skeptical that this movie tie-in will rise above being… well, a movie tie-in, we guess.

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