Metascore
84

Generally favorable reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 44
  2. Negative: 0 out of 44
  1. 100
    The replay value of this game is huge, with hundreds of things to find, do and complete. Since all the contracts can be beaten in dozens of different ways, the fun factor in replaying the game just goes up and up, plus there are more than three different characters to do it with.
  2. Combining hardcore action gaming with a grand environment and an intense feeling throughout... A crucial title that needs to be experienced to be truly believed.
  3. The new added tag line of Playground of Destruction fits perfectly. It's just a huge area to destroy; yet it offers the gamer so much more. With a great story, decent characters and several mini-missions this one has it all.
  4. 91
    A wild ride of pure action and destruction. It's a long, deep game that continues to deliver on its promise (it's marketed with the tagline "playground of destruction") with an unending amount of military might, muscle, and variation.
  5. The sandbox nature and tight, polished gameplay make this one of the first games in 2005 you should play.
  6. Enjoy all the fun of free-roaming warfare. And get paid for it! [Jan 2007, p.106]
  7. A rare gem that surpasses expectations and stands as an extremely fun and engaging action game.
  8. Gameplay aside, Mercenaries is loaded with tons of unlockables such as the ability to play as Indiana Jones, as well as opening up new vehicles and weapons (like the portable airstrike). Now how cool is that?
  9. 90
    I can't remember the last time I played a game in which I wondered whether something could be done, and nine times out of ten it actually could be, whether it's calling in an airstrike on a lone soldier or jacking a helicopter from the sky. Blowing stuff has never been this fun, or this satisfying.
  10. 90
    Pandemic's packed the game full of well-coded smoke and explosion effects, and seeing a bomb sortie work its way across an enemy compound is almost a thing of majesty. Bring a tear to your eye, it will. It's this unwavering feeling of exhilaration that separates Mercenaries from the other "free-roaming" ripoffs.
  11. The game oozes atmosphere, from the Russian propaganda blaring out of the loudspeakers to the eerily empty war-torn streets. [PSW]
  12. 90
    Running missions for the factions is compelling enough, but the real fun comes from hunting down the Deck of 52—the 52 baddest guys in the game. The first handful totally roll over with their Christmas hams in the air, but the latter guys will leave you begging for sweet, sweet mercy.
  13. One of the most impressive aspects is despite the numerous simultaneous explosions, the frame rate doesn't skip a beat, which is a rarity in the genre.
  14. PS2 fans: I imagine you’re just about done with "San Andreas" these days. If there’s not already enough blood on your hands, it’s time to head to North Korea. They have air strikes there.
  15. The biggest, pervasive plus of Mercenaries is the raw, gleeful destruction options open to you. This is exactly the kind of stuff your parents don't like about video games.
  16. I'm sure its stunning presentation and ambitious structure will surprise you. I hope they do a sequel. [Feb 2005, p.78]
  17. While it's not quite as epic as "GTA:SA," the combat within Mercenaries is more focused and polished, thanks to tight controls, amazing graphics and clever physics.
  18. A fun and truly enormous action game based around that most perfect of gaming goals: blowing up anything that so much as thinks at you funny.
  19. Creativity can be one of the deadliest weapons in your arsenal in this free-form third-person shooter. Playing with toy soldiers was never this fun.
  20. Dense with explosive content that satisfies on a fundamental level. Of the games that have tried to borrow the Grand Theft Auto style of play, Mercenaries is one of the most successful.
  21. It has lived up to the hype and that's no mean feat when you consider that it's been billed as GTA War. Only the lack of total freedom and iffy handling hold it back. [PSM2]
  22. Although not necessarily its core mechanic, few things are more satisfying in Mercenaries than blowing crap up, and the enormous variety of methods with which you can do that makes it an absolute joy to play... The first truly great game of 2005. [Feb 2005, p.101]
  23. One of the few games that has a lot of flaws but still manages to be a blast to play. There are numerous glitches and bugs, and the game’s pacing can be a bit slow (driving from area to area), but once you get in a big ol’ firefight, those things become distant memories.
  24. Amazing visuals. [March 2005, p.59]
  25. With extremely solid graphics, sound and non-linear, fleshed out gameplay with some nasty A.I., this game is definitely one of the best titles for the PS2 so far in 2005, and should remain that way for months to come.
  26. 85
    What is impressive about the game is the massive amount of replayability available to you.
  27. Certainly a big game, but the gang at Pandemic has seen fit to provide even more in the form of unlockable goodies. More weapons, more vehicles and even a few more characters (this is a LucasArts game after all) are tied to the free-standing bounties, extending the game’s already long shelf life.
  28. 82
    Whilst not perfect in every sense, Mercenaries attempts to give more power to the player over the storyline and events surrounding the North Korean war, and it's with this 'gimmick' that Lucas Arts have made a merely good game, into a great game.
  29. When you're not blasting baddies, however, it can get pretty dull. Vehicles aren't much fun to drive and, other than a few little challenges, there's not a lot to do. Good thing blowing stuff up in your hijacked tank doesn't get old quickly. [Feb 2005, p.95]
  30. While most such games overlay this free-form world with rigidly structured missions, Mercenaries allows the player almost as much freedom in action as it does in travel.
  31. An unusual experience, an action title packed with clever touches, depth and plenty of variety.
  32. Unfortunately, there's very little in terms of storyline and characterization to fuel your motivation. [Feb 2005, p.72]
  33. 80
    The great sound effects from the booming explosions and roaring jet engines from above greatly add to the war-torn ambiance, too.
  34. Missions full of vehicles to wrangle and people to off feel like a cross between "Grand Theft Auto" and "Metal Gear Solid," with a dash of "Contra" thrown in for spice. Destroy everything and get paid; this is foreign policy at its finest.
  35. 80
    The game deserves special props for its amazingly executed setting; the whole world is so visibly at war that every mission in the game feels completely natural.
  36. The visuals are first rate. News footage sets the scene of the chaos, while short in-game cut-scenes intertwine seamlessly with the action.
  37. At it's best this is a fiery action adventure, at it's worst it relies too heavily on pootling around a map while the sense of combat is halved the moment you use any weapon that doesn't cause a massive explosion. It's also rather brown.
  38. On the other hand the mission variety is pathetic, the GTA-copied elements are poorly implemented and entirely unnecessary, the AI is mostly stupid, there are numerous bugs and glitches, and really the bulk of the game is repetitive to the extreme.
  39. 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..., and a generally derivative feel. [Feb 2005, p.110]
  40. An incredibly solid universe with barely a technical glitch to be found, but it’s soulless and almost bereft of plot or character. This is a sandbox game that’s begging for a purpose. [March 2005, p.80]
  41. Like an empty warehouse it may be huge and imposing, but once inside your options are limited - and disappointingly so.
  42. Explosions certain are fun, to a point, but when that point is all a game has to offer we just can’t help wanting something else. [March 2005, p.108]
  43. In the end, a pared-down multi-player extravaganza does not a great single-player experience make. This game has a lot of good things going for it, but they exist in departments that ultimately don’t matter.
  44. 58
    A mix of GTA, pretty fireballs, and generic music make Mercenaries a title that doesn’t embarrass the genre, but doesn’t further videogames either.
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 72 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 43 out of 46
  2. Negative: 1 out of 46
  1. kieranH
    Jul 6, 2008
    9
    A fantastic game and is a great alternative to gta, infact its better in my opinion. I spend half my time during the game just blowing up NK soldiers and cars with all sorts of weapons and t if u need help during the game use a airstrike to blow the crap out of it . Heaps of replay value. u can even hijack helicopters!!! Full Review »
  2. PjotrK.
    Dec 31, 2005
    10
    Huge game. Always nice to see a very playable and enjoyable game, especially when it gives lots of missions for the money. How many games are out there that give you the task to hunt down 52 baddies and on top of that give you another 32 missions? And if that isn't enough to entice you.... don't forget that you not only can drive anything, fly the helicopters but can destroy anything, vehicles, buildings, bridges. Anything, except trees. I've just tried "battlefield 2: modern combat" and although it is much younger it doesn't allow that and that really detracts from the realism and enjoyment. Are their games that are more realistic? Sure. Are there games that have better graphics? Sure. Is it silly that you're character can't stand water or that the trees are undistructable. Ofcourse. But you'll be hard pressed to find any game in it's genre that give you that much enjoyment for that much time. Full Review »
  3. Mar 14, 2014
    9
    I incredibly enjoyed Mercenaries due to the Open World experience only before seen in Grand Theft Auto. The thought that there are other things than the main story was mind-blowing when I first played it, having not played any Grand Theft Auto game at that time. The dynamic environment was what sealed the deal for me. The ability to blow up buildings, hijack helicopters and call in airstrikes? This game was amazing!

    The only reason this is a 9 and not 10 is because there were a few annoying Glitches I found in the game.
    Full Review »