Mercenaries First Impressions
From the moment I powered up my X-Box with Mercenaries in the tray, I had a feeling I was going to like my experience as a paid solider of fortune. After watching and listening to the introduction to the story, I watched as the character I had chosen to play through on my first run through bashed his new PDA against a wall to make sure it was sturdy enough. Then after finding myself on the ground via a stunt right out of a 007 movie, it was off to the races, or Allied Forces Headquarters in this case. Along the way you are thrown right into the fire as your pleasant drive through the war torn countryside is interrupted by a firefight ahead of you. The place is a disaster area for the Allies, and only your timely intervention will save the day.
As far as gameplay goes, expect a lot of similarities to Grand Theft Auto. You are in a free roaming world, ala GTA, you can hijack just about anything that moves, and that which you can’t hijack you can blow to little bitty pieces at your leisure. In fact, during my first few hours of gameplay, I discovered that there is more to the similarity between the games than just killing people and blowing stuff up. There are taxi missions in the game, as well as races (which are more like racing against the clock, but still, races in a war zone?).
I managed to get about one quarter of the way through the 52 cards, or regime elements, that you are supposed to either capture or kill along the way to eliminating General Song, the crackpot dictator of North Korea who has threatened to launch his arsenal of Nuclear weapons against the world. The cards aren’t the actual missions, they are the end result more often. You work with 4 separate factions in the game, and each one will give you pieces of information about the various cards after you complete missions, some of them against other factions.
At the minute I can say that I like this game quite a bit, but because the game came out so similar to GTA I have to compare the two, and while Pandemic seems to have gone for a more realistic chaos, there are still things that GTA does better than Mercenaries. Things like flying a helicopter, or driving a tank, feel far more natural to me in GTA than they do in Mercenaries. I also don’t like the fact that any vehicle you take over will be fired upon by opposing factions. So say you are working for the Allies, and you carjack a North Korean jeep, the Allies will fire on you. I’m not saying it isn’t realistic, but thats what radios were invented for. Also, when the fastest car you can drive in the game is a Hummer, you are going to have issues when compared to GTA and all it’s various speed demons.
So far so good. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an Ace of Clubs to hunt down and capture.