Friday, April 20, 2012

Game Plus+: Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction – Xbox

I remember playing a demo of the original Mercenaries for Xbox years ago in college. It came with another game or movie or something like that. I didn’t know anything about it at the time but I was aware of Pandemic’s work on Star Wars: Battlefront, one of the best games in the franchise. After completing the first mission I was hooked on the formula, and jumped right into the full game the day it was released. Eventually a sequel followed three years later, which was a mixed blessing depending on what one’s expectations were. Regardless, the series deliver unapologetic mayhem without taking its plot too seriously. While any future games are highly unlikely given the demise of Pandemic, I found myself replaying the first entry these past few weeks. And I gotta say this game was way more awesome than I remember.

First of all the voice actors are phenomenal. Phil LaMarr and Jennifer Hale are both very accomplished actors in numerous roles, but the real achievement is Peter Stormare. Whoever selected the psychotic actor for the role of Mattias is an absolute genius. I mean come on, Stormare even looks like a crazy Swedish mercenary on his day off.

 Has he ever not played crazy?

My first time through the game I never realized Stormare played the role; now that I’m back blowing up buildings with Mattias I picture the actor running around with an RPG. Good times.

And that’s just the tip of the actor iceberg. Carl “Chubbs” Weathers stars a UN Colonel, and Nickelodeon GUTS’ own Moira Quirk pops in as reporter Adriana Livingston. It’s a veritable who’s who of 1990’s pop culture.

"Let's go to the leaderboards, Mo!"

The celebrities appearance didn’t stop there either. Being published by Lucasarts, Pandemic was able to slip in a couple of hidden character skins. I’ll give you a hint: both are played by an actor who sounds like Garrison Bored.

“Uh, everything's under control. Situation normal.”

For an original IP that’s pushing 7 years old, Mercenaries holds up fairly well. The open world feels a little empty at times, and draw distances aren’t anything fantastic. But compare this to other sandbox titles of the generation and Mercenaries had a significant amount of game to offer. If you find a copy toss it into your PS2 or better yet Xbox 360 (which offers backwards compatibility, minus the occasional bug or two). It's a surprisingly fun game that knows how to mix up the monotony that plagues the genre. Give it a chance.

Image Credits:

Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction (Xbox)

Mattias Nilsson/Peter Stormare (it is a place)

Adriana Livingston

Han Solo

1 comment:

  1. Yes! Love this game -- especially when the main character does his Arnold impersonation and says something to the effect of, "Look at me, I'm the Governator!" Oh, and I love getting a bright orange Hummer delivered via chopper in the middle of a war zone...