|Game||Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction|
|Platform||Sony PlayStation 2|
|ESRB Descriptor||Mild Language, Violence|
|Number of Players||1|
|Game Special Features||
Mercenaries Playground of Destruction (PlayStation 2)
Adventuresome gamers aim to eliminate a maniacal dictator — for the good of humanity, as well as significant monetary compensation from the highest bidder. As its title suggests, Mercenaries puts players in the roles of soldiers for hire, who find ample opportunities for employment as an unexpected menace leads the nations of the world to the brink of disaster. In a quick and bloody coup, the prime minister of North Korea has been displaced by a power-hungry general called Sung, who now threatens the world with nuclear attack. In the role of an American, British, or Swedish soldier of fortune, players choose their patron and price, and then go to work at eliminating the 52 most wanted perpetrators of the new North Korean regime. Each target is assigned a different playing card, for easy reference.
Naturally, the threat of nuclear attack draws considerable international interest, and players may choose employment by such diverse entities as the United Nations, the U.S. Coalition, China, or the Russian Mafia, as they work to collect the 52 bounties which will complete the deck. While the employer may set the basic mission objectives, mercenaries decide for themselves how to get the job done once they’re on location. The game features over 30 weapons and more than 20 different vehicles, including cars and trucks, planes, helicopters, and tanks, allowing players to reach their goals using the tactics and equipment of their choosing. Mercenaries’ storyline features multiple possible endings, and the game’s conclusion will depend on moral decisions made by the player’s character throughout the various missions.
With the phenomenal success of Rockstar’s 128-bit generation Grand Theft Auto games, the notion of “emergent gameplay” created a buzz among some game developers and journalists. The general idea is to present an open-ended world that reacts naturally and appropriately, no matter what players try to do or when they try to do it. The gameplay “emerges” from the game world itself. This style is prominent in contemporary games such as Jak II and Beyond Good & Evil, and according to the publisher, it’s fundamental in the design of Mercenaries as well. Player characters are set loose in large “sandbox” levels, where they must choose how they’ll accomplish goals in terms of the game world’s overall dynamic, instead of by following a scripted series of events.
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