From the union of the legendary Lucas Arts and Pandemic Studios, emerged a title which remains unique to this day.
As many of you have not lived it or you will not remember it, but the early 2000s it was a time when all games tried to emulate the success of Grand Theft Auto. Some of these “copiers” were actually very good games that included elements that we haven’t seen in the Rockstar saga. Some offered high octane stock, like True Crime: Streets of LA (The number of hours I spent playing this game in my teenage years isn’t even half normal). Others, like Mafia, were superior in the story section, but they “squeaked” us a bit as a pure sandbox experience. But a game, thrown in 2005 on the first Xbox, stands out from the crowd. And yes, it is none other than Mercenaries: the art of destruction.
Many games of the time, including those already mentioned, offered vast environments and settings ready to be explored. However, games like Mercenariesfocused on spectacle and destruction, they were rare. If to this we add quite an interesting argument backed up by a spectacular soundtrack because we have one of those great games that is sometimes so hard to see today.
To begin, Mercenaries: playground of destruction offered a selection of three different characters. And different not only because of their nationalities. On the one hand, we have Chris, a fairly typical amateur soldier. Jennifer, a mercenary of Chinese and British descent, is the opposite. And finally we have Mattias and it’s, well… it’s Matti as. A rude Swede who loses the pot every two-by-three, not to mention his odd penchant for explosions.
The dubbing, although it is in English, there were actors who at that time were very fashionable in Hollywood, giving the title a very “movie” tone. Now, it’s more common for someone like Keanu Reeves to appear in a video game. But in 2005, there weren’t a lot of games that could boast of having a cast of actors. so good. Not even the Grand Theft Auto games. Granted, this was all likely due to the publisher’s prominent status, the mythical and revived Lucas Arts, within the industry. And it also gave the game that hit tone that has been distilled from all sides.
The plot revolves around the removal of the ruthless General Song, son of the fictitious leader of North Korea. Song overthrew his father’s government and now threatens the rest of the world with nuclear war. Here we have a surprisingly good story which follows the tried-and-true model of the ’90s action movies. It won’t leave you with a “crooked ass” with intricate twists, but it will keep us more than addicted.
Beyond the visual theme, each of the main characters offered a unique gameplay bonus. Chris, for example, I was much healthier; Jennifer was superior to stealth tactics Yes Mattias he was an expert in blow things up. Each of them also mastered a particular secondary language, which made certain segments understandable for one character, but left the others completely unaware of the same conversation.
Chris was fluent in Korean and could interpret conversations between members of the South Korean faction. Be chinese origin, Jennifer he could interpret conversations in his mother tongue. And the mad Swedish, Mattias? Well, for some reason he understands russian, so the local crowd could not hide its secrets from him. The characters also had different lines and jokes that made the story. it was very replayable just for the dialogue.
Whichever character you choose, our goal was simple: locate and capture the leader of the North Korean army, General Song, also known as the Ace of Spades. One of the strengths of these mercenaries was undoubtedly its military commanders and generals. Each of them was assigned a card, the most elite being the aces of each suit. Throughout history, while performing tasks for various political and military factions, we have learned about their whereabouts. Then we could go on to capture or kill them.
However, living targets gave us twice as much money as dead people. Of course, you could call an airstrike on a particularly well guarded target, but lose a lot of advantages. And the perk directly affected your ability to acquire new tools to wreak havoc. And is that the mercenaries had an impressive amount of weapons, vehicles and special tools.
Since the typical assault rifles even the huge rocket launchers; here we could really feel what it is like to be an elite soldier. Available to be taken by force or to be bought on the black market, the vehicles available composed of humbees, armored trucks, helicopters and even huge tanks. And with such a range of destructible vehicles and environments, there was a plethora of options to accomplish any task.
Mercenaries: The Art of Destruction combined a destructible sandbox environment unmatched with satisfactory progression. With a rather satirical take on warfare and a host of additional content such as blueprints, hidden cash deposits, and unlockable character skins, This title will keep you hooked for hours and hours.
Unfortunately, Pandemic studios, the studio responsible for the development of this game, its sequel and the spectacular early Star Wars: Battlefront games, closed in 2009. Also, the sequel hasn’t been as well received as the original, so it’s highly unlikely there will be a third installment at this point. However, two years ago Microsoft wanted to give us one of the best news possible: Mercenaries: The Art of Destruction is available on the Xbox Store via backward compatibility. A few years ago they also gave it away with Xbox LIVE Gold, so it’s possible that many of you already have it on your consoles and haven’t even touched it. With graphic improvements, like 4K support on the Xbox One X, it is by far the best option to relive teenage memories or experience this explosive masterpiece for the first time.