Back to a forgotten gem.
It has been a while since I thought about Mercenary Kings. It was free on PS4 with PlayStation Plus and for a nice couple of weeks, I actually got into it with a friend for a short time. We ran into some pretty big roadblocks in the game and eventually fell off of it, never finishing the game. Well, after numerous years, Mercenary Kings is back with the Reloaded Edition with a few upgrades and this time on the Xbox One, Vita, and Switch as well.
For those that don’t know, Mercenary Kings is a side scrolling shooter that feels a big like Metal Slug or Contra, but is more loot and stat driven than those games. It requires more strategy in both equipment and in execution than a standard shoot ‘em up, but still feels like a shooting platformer at the same time. The big difference here is that players can create and upgrade their characters much like an RPG. During missions, players will obtain materials like metals and wood that can then be used at the base to switch out gun parts and upgrade armor and other stats. I’m going to go ahead and say it. It’s kinda like Monster Hunter in that regard.
Platforms: XB1, PC, PS4, Switch, Vita
Price I’d pay: $19.99
Back at base, players can choose missions to go on that revolve around search and rescue, elimination of enemies, and destroying enemy equipment. The bigger missions revolve around boss fights. This was where my friend and I fell off. Originally, every mission was timed. If time ran out, the mission was a failure. This included boss fights. The issue was bosses wouldn’t stay in the same area for long so we would end up losing the fight because it took so long getting to the boss, fighting it, finding it again, only for it to run away yet again with time running out. In the new Reloaded Edition, the fight timer doesn’t begin until we finally spot the boss. This is a huge change that actually made fighting bosses manageable. Granted, this is still a difficult game.
The Reloaded Edition comes with a few extra things as well. There are two other characters the player can choose to play as, all of which is cosmetic for the most part. What’s not cosmetic are the new weapons and upgrades available. Granted, most of them are bigger upgrades most players won’t see for a while, but they are there and look pretty snazzy, plus they kill bad guys in fast and fun ways.
Anyone who already owns Mercenary Kings gets the Reloaded Edition for free with an update. Players on the Xbox One, Vita, and Switch automatically get the new edition. Even if players didn’t get it for free with PlayStation Plus, this is still a fun game to pick up and play both solo and multiplayer. All of which can be played either online or local. Although, I still don’t agree or like how they did the local multiplayer. It uses split screen because players can go off to different areas of the mission. I understand why they did it, but I still don’t like it.
The art style is fantastic. It reminds me of both Metal Slug and Scott Pilgrim and the original soundtrack is superb with 8-bit sounds mixed in with a refined and catchy set up that even after all these years still has me whistling the tunes. The presentation is top notch here and really gives off that old school SNES feel.
This is actually a pretty easy game to talk about. Many people got it for free on PS4 and get the new and improved update for free as well. Even if you didn’t, this is still a great game to get into for a pretty cheap price on Switch, Xbox One, and Vita. I highly suggest picking it up.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.