Video Game Mercenary Kings (PC) (2014)

Overview: A 2D run 'n' gun that has a crafting system for building guns, knives, armor, and skills.

20171010: AM Hours in Texas
My coworkers and I were looking to play a game and I decided to try Mercenary Kings.

Parachuting into the level.

Setup: Split-screen. I cloned my desktop display on a larger 32-inch monitor, because I played with the laptop keyboard while looking at the laptop monitor. The other players used an X-Box controller (Avi), a Steam controller (Ayin), and a Logitech F-510 (Michelle).

Initial Impressions - Multiplayer:
The initial experience was overwhelming and the game consisted of too many game play mechanics whose instructions were contained in a help file system instead of streamlined into the game itself. Imagine if all the help boxes in Super Mario World were instead presented to you, the player, when you first load up the game; I assure it would not be a good first impression. In any case, we tried to simplify the experience by playing the same mission several times and ignoring the crafting system.

Ziplining

While we improved and progressed further each time, we were a little baffled with the life and respawn system. Specifically, if respawning posed a risk to completing the mission, then we would choose not to respawn. According to the prompt on the screen, holding a button down should prevent the player from respawning. This, however, did not seem to be the case.

With that being said, the game provided an adequate challenge and had the potential to deliver the player(s) with variety and depth with respect to weapons, items, and gameplay. Although I have not played enough to experience this, I intend to try this game again on my own at a later time. In hindsight, this would have been the best way to experience the game: have a player familiarize him/herself with all that Mercenary Kings has to offer and then allow him/her to expose that knowledge to his/her friends to create a more streamlined game experience (almost like having an expert dungeon master for an RPG session).

Stand in an infirmary to slowly heal over time.

Steam Game Time: 46 minutes

20171013:
Today I decided to play single player and happily found a smoother experience.

Tip: Standing in the infirmary will slowly replenish health.

Follow-Up Impressions - Single Player:
In short, the problems I encountered while playing multiplayer were remedied by playing as a single player, where the game presented to me with the game mechanics incrementally.

Yay! Mission complete!

On a different note, I was looking into gun builds online, but I soon learned that finding my own style of play was both easier and more applicable since most builds submitted online require late game materials. In general, I favored dealing more damage in less shots.

Steam Game Time: 55 minutes

20171014:
Today I played much more of the game and concluded that it was a lot of fun.

Steam Game Time: 4.4 hours

Thoughts:
Pros:
+ Split-screen co-op multiplayer (either couch or online)
+ Depth

Crafting a gun is one of the many crafting options.

+ Fun after getting the hang of it

Neutral:
~ Can involve some farming to craft items.
~ Missions will intentionally reuse various maps in different ways.

Summary:
My experience started with multiplayer and had some complaints, but I later tried the single player where the game provided a smoother, more instructive experience. As such, I would highly recommend that anybody looking to play this game with his/her friends first play the game by him/herself.

Four-player co-op via split-screen.

I could see how this game would be a hit or miss, but if you own the game then I would recommend you try playing it for at least an hour to see if you like it or not.

Mercenary Kings (PC) (2014)

Relevant Links:
Mercenary Kings Website
Mercenary Kings (Wikipedia.org)
Mercenary Kings (Steam Store Page)

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