Review: Blowing stuff up... simple, yet effective.
Much of the effectiveness of Mercenaries' gameplay comes from its visual package. While not staggering by any means, the graphics do have a reasonably smooth and polished look for such a big game world, and many of the structures and character models share similarities to Full Spectrum Warrior. The three mercenaries all have different outfits and look unique, and the various faction soldiers and officers do the job. It should be said that Grand Theft Auto did do a better job with populating its huge game world, as many areas in Mercenaries are quite vacuous and empty. This isn't always the case, but the countryside can appear drab and uninhabited. Still, the detail is good enough to get you into the world of Mercenaries, and the explosions, as said above, are quite well done.
The audio is also uniformly solid, with the musical score being the standout performer. You have some dramatic sweeping themes and fanfares throughout (the title theme is quite memorable), and there is some subtle music integration in certain action sequences. Sound effects are used quite heavily in Mercenaries, and each car, weapon, explosion, crash and bang all create a believable experience. Voice acting is solid, but none of the actors really go out of their way to bring this area to another level; granted, the script and general lack of cutscenes are mainly responsible for this. I was glad to see Carl Weathers in there as the Allied Nations officer? I mean, really, you can't go wrong with Action Jackson.
There is no multiplayer component to Mercenaries, but it isn't really necessary as the solo campaign is so large and involved. It would have been nice to see some co-op play over Xbox Live (ala Full Spectrum Warrior), but the technical challenges of that are obvious so hopefully they take a crack at it if there is a sequel.
Mercenaries is a very fun game which does almost everything right and leaves very little to be desired. You've got a large game that will give you a lot of different missions, challenges and tasks to undertake, all the while granting you access to a great array of weapons, explosives and vehicles. On these merits, it is very easy to recommend Mercenaries to anyone who is looking for a new action game to add to their Xbox library.