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Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction - PlayStation 2

Platform : PlayStation2
Rated: Teen
4.5 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews
Metascore: 84 / 100

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  • Flexible, action-packed missions as you go after everyone on the Most Wanted list
  • Explosive combat as you draw from a huge arsenal - you have the firepower to bring down almost anything you face
  • Highly detailed and massive open environments that are completely interactive - If you can see it, you can use it, steal it, drive it, fly it or blow it up
  • Choose which missions you'll accept - You can work for the UN, South Koreans, the Chinese government or the Russian Mafia. Make sure you pick clients carefully - they can go from friend to foe in an instant
  • Use the cash you earn from different contracts to buy more advanced weapons, vehicles, even air strikes -- or sell your vehicles and weapons on the black market
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Product Description

Maybe you've heard this one before: as a battle-hardened badass, it is your job to explore an expansive free roaming Menvironment by stealing vehicles and using overpowered assault weapons to clear your path. Of course, the landscape is also peppered with various characters eager to assign you missions and reward your efforts. Sound like a tune you've been dancing to for a while? Though you may not find Mercenaries incredibly original or compelling, it gets a ton of mileage out of the fact that it is always fun to watch things explode. Always.

Set in a politically unstable North Korea (with several foreign powers vying for supremacy), Mercenaries puts you in the shoes of one of three elite soldiers-for-hire. Though each character technically has particular strengths, the effect they have on actual gameplay is negligible – any character can use any weapon and drive any vehicle. Fortunately, there is a ton of each to experiment with, leading to some truly hilarious carnage. I especially loved flying around in a helicopter, lowering a winch to grab a passing civilian car, and then slinging it into enemy fortifications. Then again, it's hard to beat that warm feeling you get after brutalizing an international criminal and leaving him lying handcuffed and prone next to some C4.

Though I certainly enjoyed dinking around like this for a while, Mercenaries banks on the appeal of wholesale destruction rather than genuinely engaging gameplay. Though it is to be commended for trying to expand the standard "cruise around doing missions" experience, the things it adds don't really contribute much. For instance, though the concept of warring factions and fluctuating loyalties is cool, it is painfully weak in execution. If you work with the Chinese, you cheese off the Russian Mafia. However, if you bribe them, then everything is fine again. In other words, who you work for and who you blow up doesn't have any real repercussions; if you've got cash, you've got friends.

Much like the impressive and abundant explosions the game contains, whatever spark of interest Mercenaries may ignite quickly fizzles out due to lackluster mission objectives, flat story and characters (though Matthias, the Swedish merc, has some funny moments), and a generally derivative feel. Like the boring guy the girl always dumps in romantic comedies for the dynamic and spontaneous "Mr. Right," Mercenaries can temporarily fill a void in your life, but you won't want to hang on to it forever.

Run and gun while pledging your allegiance to whoever has the deepest pockets

Apart from some really pretty particle effects, nothing stands out visually

The game's high point. The mayhem is accompanied by a rousing and majestic score

Great job giving each vehicle a unique feel, but none of them are particularly fast or fun to drive

Your enjoyment directly depends on how long you can stand the "go here and kill these people" formula


Rated: 7.5 out of 10
Editor: Joe Juba
Issue: February 2005

2nd Opinion:
If developer Pandemic's Full Spectrum Warrior restricted players to the confining box of military tactics, then Mercenaries takes the blinders off and lets gamers step out into a wider world. Full Spectrum Warrior was a game of robotic toy soldiers, and Mercenaries also lacks a soul as it plays the part of rebel without a cause. I had fun running and gunning with each double and triple cross, but at the end of the day, the title remained a flittering butterfly (albeit one packed with anti-tank missiles), with no one aspect really grabbing my imagination or lifting Mercenaries above being a collection of generic action missions. I will say this: Kudos to Pandemic for allowing enough wiggle room in the title's design to give you the freedom to complete jobs for all the competing sides without breaking the game. After all, you are a professional with a job to do, and Mercenaries makes it a fun day at the office.

Rated: 7.75 out of 10
Editor: Matthew Kato

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Product Details

  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B00020BV2E
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches ; 5.4 ounces
  • Media: Video Game
  • Release Date: June 15, 2006
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (149 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,751 in Video Games (See Top 100 in Video Games)
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Discontinued by manufacturer: Yes

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Every so often a game will come along that will take you completely by surprise. Last year it was Freedom Fighters. This year the honor goes to the game Mercenaries. It may only be January but this is probably going to be one of the top games of 2005.

Mercenaries takes place in North Korea. War has broken out and the Allied Command has enlisted the help of a freelance military contractor named ExOps. As one of three operatives, you are enlisted to help out the different factions in the combat zone. All for, of course, a price.

Mercenarie's standout features is it's gameplay. It combines shooting, driving and lots of what you'd call "free roaming". Players choose one of three characters, each with a speciality ranging from stealth to heavy weapons. In the game there is a "Deck of 52".Each card is a target with a bounty. When a bounty is collected it unlocks different features, such as air strikes and support options. You can also take contracts from different factions (Allies, South Koreans, Chinese, and the Russian Mafia) and time attack challenges. Each contract will affect your standing with a different faction. Anger a faction by killing it's troops and your standing will fall from "friendly" to "hostile". Even though this may seem very complicated, Mercenaries is a VERY easy game to pick up and play. There is little fumbling for the right controls for different actions. Hijacking vehicles is extremely simple. There is quite literally no learning curve.

The graphics on this game are very good. Using what looks like the Star Wars: Battlefront engine, the game does a great job at depicting a war zone. As you drive down the roads you will come across different factions duking it out.
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Comment 36 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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I'll be the first to admit, modern games tend to be far too frustrating for me. My reflexes probably aren't up to younger players of today, and I have far less patience for replaying a mission 20 times -- I tend to drop the ball.

To be perfectly fair to Mercenaries, I haven't been as glued to a single game since Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, and Syphon Filter had a natural edge anyway because I'm a veteran of the first games in the series for the PlayStation. Mercenaries was impressive to me because it seduced me enough to make me learn a whole new control scheme, get acquainted with the background and routines, and get past that initial awkward stage when you're just feeling things out. This one definitely did the trick. There are times, though, when I still feel like the game is unnecessarily hard. Again, how many times are we supposed to play one mission until we get it? I always feel like designers create these enormously difficult missions just to make us into game zombies, and Mercenaries definitely gives me that feeling.

Good points:

- Great comedic detail. The sense of humour in this game, as well as the one-man-army setup, reminds me of the first Medal of Honor game (the orchestral score by Michael Giacchino, Medal of Honor's resident composer, doesn't hurt), which was a favourite of mine.
- Very smooth driving engine. I hate driving games, but this one was instantly accessible.
- The game's background immerses you. Driving through cities, with civilians and fighting personnel around you, it's a great simulation of what this kind of guerilla warfare is like. Almost makes me feel like I'm living the John Woo film Bullet in the Head.
- This game has the single most responsive camera control of any I've ever played.
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1 Comment 79 of 92 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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From the moment i started this game, i've had trouble putting it down. This is as close to a perfect third person shooter as you're going to get. Of course the biggest plus in the game is the freedom, you choose what contracts (missions) you go on, who you ally yourself with, and so on. The more contracts you complete, the more money you have, and you'll want to spend it on anything from supply drops to vehicle shipments to awsome air strikes and artillary attacks. The only thing missing from the game is the ability to command your freindy troops like in Freedom Fighters, because there is a lot of running around by yourself, but that's the biggest down part, and that's not too bad. I'd recommend this game to anyone who enjoyed GTA, Hitman, or even games like shellshock nam because the game has a strong war feeling to it as well.
Comment 22 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Mercenaries takes place during the North Korean and Allied Nations war. North Korea is controlling nuclear missiles in hopes of being the most dominant country. Allied Nations, including South Korea, China, the US, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and Russian Mafia, are focused on destroying the leader of the North Koreans, General Choi Song. Trying to help the fight, ExOps, a professional mercenary service, sends one mercenary to take out Song and any nuclear weapons.

You get the choice to play as either Chris Jacobs, Jennifer Mui, or Mattias Nilsson. Each mercenary has a unique talent, such as additional Speed. Fiona Taylor provides you with information, sending many e-mails. The Allied Nations have set up the Deck of 52. This includes the 52 most dangerous North Koreans. Fiona tells you the possible location of them. Capture them and get tons of money. Use money to purchase vehicles, air strikes, and supplies. Drive to more than 10 provinces, each controlled by different factions and in some cases, civilians.

In Mercenaries, you get to work for the Allies, the Chinese, the South Koreans, and the Russian Mafia. Accept contracts from them to try to improve your relationship with their faction. Control over 30 different vehicles, including cargos, tanks, scouts, anti-air, and artillery. Have your allies join you in the vehicle. Fly in 14 helicopters. Or just hijack civilian vehicles. Control turrets, artillery, and much more. But cross a restricted zone and you're toast.

Use stealth to complete missions given to you from the factions. Stun enemies, knock them out, or just go on a rampage. It's your choice as you hunt down the evil Song, in an attempt to save the lives of millions. This game is definitly worth buying. One of the best shooting games ever made.
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