Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction - Xbox

Also known as: Mercenaries

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Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (Xbox)
Also for: PS2
Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Combat Game
Media: DVD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Pandemic Soft. Co.: Pandemic
Publishers: LucasArts (GB)
Released: 18 Feb 2005 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 16+, ESRB Rating Pending
Accessories: Memory Unit


Ahhh. Death, destruction and extreme violence: how better than to spend a cold winter's evening. In fact, it's a great way to spend any evening. Blowing stuff up generally appeals to our inner warrior, and the more spectacular the explosion, the more compelling this psychopathic indulgence becomes. Hence, Pandemic's latest blow 'em up, Mercenaries, has us cackling incessantly in a blood-curdlingly menacing fashion. It's a free-roaming stomp around a pseudo-fictional Korean war zone and it boasts a propensity for violence even greater than those kids who hang around launching fireworks at stray cats.

As much as Mercenaries is its own game, if you were to envisage a cross between GTA, Hitman and an actual war, you'd be picturing a similar sort of thing. However, it is more than just a mosaic of proven successes and the idea as a whole does actually feel like something new and innovative. After a seemingly endless procession of sequel releases and shamelessly plagiarised concepts, that is a truly satisfying thing. Although the content of the game itself isn't revolutionary, the richness and immersiveness of the tense atmosphere marks this down as something quite special.

All-in-all, we’re extremely impressed with Mercenaries. The graphics are excellent, and although there is a lot of fog and smoke, it can certainly be construed as atmospheric in this particular instance. Technically, it’s comfortably ensconced on the top tier of Xbox releases. At its core, the action is relentless, and thanks to the sheer scale and ferocity of the continuous explosions, it’s all extremely satisfying for those with a penchant for large-scale destruction. All this is packed into a chaotic, destructible world that is fundamentally fear-inducing; and that works for us… on many levels.