Review: Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (2005)

imageReleased: 2005

Difficulty: Hard

Time Spent: 20 to 40 Hours

 

Headline: You'll Damn Love This!!!

North Korea's greatest army leader is already on his way towards taking down countries with a hell-of-a lot of nukes. You select one of three mercenaries: a sly British-Chinese female, a strong African-American male, or a fast, Macho driven Swedish fellow. You are dropped into the heart of North Korea with already settled armies; Chinese, South Korean, Russian, or American. All of you are out to stop the North Korean army; but in order to get there, you have to gather Intel so that you can go on the big takedown missions where especially important enemies are active.

Introduction Mission to Mercenaries

You can order air strikes and deliveries to get what you need to get the done job done. It may be blowing up every building in a designated area, aiding in a firefight, eliminating important people, retrieving something valuable, or perhaps something personal. Mercenaries has a lot of weapons and much more to use it on, 50 + vehicles, and many buildings, enemies, and landmarks. There is a great amount of choice to accompany the journey. It really has the freedom to carve your own path of a game to achieve the same ultimate goal (even going against factions). It is also quite easy to navigate with the exception of somewhat slippery vehicle control.

The game is filled with appropriate scenery and the frame rate always manages to keep up with the action even when it’s raining all sorts of bombs (which there are many unique kinds and they are great). The texture work is also solid; I just wish that the colour pallet wasn't as grayish. The vocals are definitely strong as everyone speaks their native accent and language though, the dialogue’s audio can sometimes completely miss it cue. The music drives home on a good set of Asian instruments but the weapons could give a bit more strength as they just feel standard.

image

Hey I’m not the target!

Mercenaries is a good 20 hour game that you could spend an extra 20 hours with all the additional challenges and exploration of the well captured world. The window is also open for replay as the missions could go a very different direction with another character. It all comes together so well that it seems like the whole 2 maps are big huge set pieces, ready to go to. This game always managed to find a special place in my heart because out there, it’s always wartime!

 

9.0/ 10 SUPERB (PS2)

+Freedom to conquer your way

+Lots of ways to ‘erase’ most anything

+Large amounts of content

+Looks like North Korea and fine acting

-Vehicle control is limited to being wild

 

TWiSTEDmerc

I pretty much agree with everything you said, and it is great to see someone else who loves this game! Mercenaries is, after all, probably my all time favourite game, and I still just like to sit down and play through it again every once and a while.

I basically share the same issues with you too; the controls are weird (o to jump?), driving can be a bit wonky (though it is hilarious to drive over a small rock in a jeep and watch the vehicle go flying through the air) and the weapons don't pack much punch (but that's what airstrikes are for, right?).

However, you didn't really touch on everything in the game like the faction system, core gameplay mechanics and other small details that I thought really added to the game (the deck of 52 profiles, collectibles, HQ interactions ect). The review could have been much longer and could have expanded on it.

ChupathingyX:
I pretty much agree with everything you said, and it is great to see someone else who loves this game! Mercenaries is, after all, probably my all time favourite game, and I still just like to sit down and play through it again every once and a while.

I basically share the same issues with you too; the controls are weird (o to jump?), driving can be a bit wonky (though it is hilarious to drive over a small rock in a jeep and watch the vehicle go flying through the air) and the weapons don't pack much punch (but that's what airstrikes are for, right?).

However, you didn't really touch on everything in the game like the faction system, core gameplay mechanics and other small details that I thought really added to the game (the deck of 52 profiles, collectibles, HQ interactions ect). The review could have been much longer and could have expanded on it.

Totally agree, Mercenaries is why I don't care whatsoever about the GTA franchise. I used to love playing GTA3 and Vice City, then I played Mercenaries and it blew my mind because it showed me how good a sandbox could be. Then I played San Andreas and found it rather boring.

My theory is that the missions and levels in Mercenaries were developed as stand alone linear missions and then they were scattered around to make a world map with roads connecting them all. Whereas the GTA games (and most sandbox games), the worlds are created first then the missions are developed afterward. The missions in Mercenaries are so well designed because there are several different methods to complete each and every mission. A great deal of care went into the level design and enemy placement to allow for different playstyles. I was actually able to find ways to do each mission without pissing off any of the factions. At first some missions seem impossible to do without the other faction getting mad at you, but there was always a way.

Phoenixmgs:
I was actually able to find ways to do each mission without pissing off any of the factions. At first some missions seem impossible to do without the other faction getting mad at you, but there was always a way.

Yeah that's something I always try to do; complete contracts without pissing off other factions. One mission that I like is the Mafia one where you have to assassinate members of the other factions and I love thinking of good sniper positions and laying down explosives where vehciles will drive.

Another mission is the humanitarian one where you have to sneak (or charge, guns blazing) into the Chinese base and deliver the medicine. It may seem simple to just go in with a helicopter but then you realise there are SAM and AA all over the place and you have to take a tactical approach. If you try go in with a tank or armoured vehicle, there are grenade MGs everywhere and all in all the game was damn hard.

Ahh, such a great game, so many good memories. I still remember the first time I ever used the bunker buster, that was awesome.

I absolutely love Mercenaries. Have it on PS2, but my PS2 died. It's too bad the game was never released on PC. I would still play it.

 

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