Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction

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PlayStation 2
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During the last years of his reign, the North Korean president Choi Kim attempted a reconciliation with the country's southern neighbor, with the ultimate goal of reunification. However, his son, General Choi Song, and the military clique under his leadership, strongly disagreed with the old man's views. Eventually, Choi Song orchestrated his own father's assassination, took control of North Korea, and severed ties with the outside world.

Then the Australian Navy intercepts a North Korean freighter carrying nuclear weapons intended for sale to terrorist cells. In response, China, South Korea, the Allied Nations send troops into the troubled region to topple Song's regime. The Russian Mafia also bases itself in North Korea to take advantage of the situation. A bounty of a hundred million dollars for General Song was declared. This is where the mercenaries enter the playfield.

Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction is a free-roaming war action and driving game with open-ended gameplay in a large world. The player can choose to control any of the three mercenary protagonists, each with their own strengths: North American Chris Jacobs can sustain higher damage; Jennifer Mui from Hong-Kong is proficient in stealth; Mattias Nilsson from Sweden can run faster than the others. Each of the mercenary also speaks different languages, which makes him or her more or less suitable for work with particular factions.

Players have free reign of a massive landscape to take bounties on the "Deck of 52", a list of most wanted people in General Song's regime. Four factions have moved in to take advantage of the coup for personal gains; each faction will offer the player resources such as vehicles and supplies, as well as missions that the player can use to make money off of. If the player completes missions for a faction, they will offer intel on the locations of various bounties from the deck, although it is possible to track down the bounties without them.

Players have a vast array of resources available to them to get the job done. It is possible to commandeer tanks, choppers and and any other military hardware to blow up the game's destructible landscape across the North Korean countryside. Helping out various factions provides access to numerous vehicle drops, supply drops, and air strikes.


Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction PlayStation 2 ...and merrily jumping through the countryside
Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction Xbox Your PDA can give you info on cards you have to capture or kill.
Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction PlayStation 2 Title screen
Mercenaries: Playground of Destruction Xbox The start screen.

Alternate Titles

  • "Mercs" -- Slang

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

The title says it all PlayStation 2 Cor 13 (174247)
A playground of destruction! PlayStation 2 Matt Neuteboom (941)
I’m a Mercenary and I love my job Xbox Classic Nigel (150)
If only my school playground was this much fun. PlayStation 2 havoc of smeg (15656)

Critic Reviews

GameSpy Xbox Jan 11, 2005 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Adventure Lantern PlayStation 2 Apr, 2006 95 out of 100 95
games xtreme PlayStation 2 Mar 04, 2005 9 out of 10 90
PlayDevil Xbox Apr 26, 2005 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
GameSpot PlayStation 2 Jan 12, 2005 8.8 out of 10 88
Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) PlayStation 2 Jan 07, 2005 8.5 out of 10 85
JustPressPlay PlayStation 2 Apr 04, 2005 8.5 out of 10 85 (UK) Xbox Feb 24, 2005 8 out of 10 80
Factornews PlayStation 2 Mar 04, 2005 7 out of 10 70
Diehard GameFan Xbox Jan 19, 2005 6 out of 10 60


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Mercenaries originally started life as a new game in Electronic Arts' Strike series. That contract didn't go through, however, and after a year of development it was cancelled. Pandemic used some of the gameplay ideas from that project and adapted them into a new game they could call their own. The magnetic pulley on the final game's helicopters is a small relic from this past, instantly recognizable by veterans of previous Strike games.

Rating systems

The original Japanese PS2 game came with a CERO rating of 15+ with a violence descriptor. It was later re-released with a rating of C with a violence descriptor.


Han Solo and Indiana Jones are unlockable characters.

South Korea

The game was originally banned in South Korea after government officials feared the game, which depicts a war with North Korea with South Korea as a participant, would further strain an already delicate situation between the two countries. However, the Korean Game Board announced that the ban would be lifted by the year 2007.


  • GameSpy
    • 2005 – #8 Xbox Game of the Year
Information also contributed by Big John WV and Robert Gunnarsson

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Contributed to by monolith022 (239) and MegaMegaMan (2260)