It's rare when a game comes along with a title that says exactly what it's about -- and in only one word.
From the company that brought you the mouthful of a title Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, comes Mercenaries, a game about mercenaries. You could even shorten it to Mercs. I don't mind.
I'll admit, I'd heard nothing about this game before it reached my desk. Even worse, I've become so conditioned to pre-release buzz that I took it as a bad sign that I'd heard nothing about it. And in the first half-hour or so of playing, I was so unimpressed that I started to realize why I'd heard nothing about it.
But here's the lesson for my attention-span-challenged brethren: It's important to stick with things for longer than 30 minutes. I did, and, surprisingly, the game got a lot better. I began to wonder why I hadn't heard anything about it.
In Mercenaries, you're given the choice to play as one of three soldiers-for-hire, members of a fictional paramilitary group called Executive Operations. After the North Korean president begins negotiations for a peaceful reunion with South Korea, his militant son stages a successful coup, supplants his father, closes off the country to the outside and begins a nuclear-weapons program that threatens the rest of the world. That's where the mercenaries come in.
The goal of the game is to collect information on the "Deck of 52," similar to the real one of Iraq's most wanted. Your duty is to capture each member of the deck until you get to the North Korean leader. In order to do so, you perform missions for the "Allied Nations," China, South Korea and the Russian Mafia.
After a few missions, you'll have access to the "Merchant of Menace," an inventory of black market goods, one of the more enjoyable parts of the game. Stuck in a remote area with no vehicle? Just place an order, mark your spot with a flare and a helicopter drops one off for you. Other options give you access to laser-guided missiles or allow you to order air strikes, good for razing a building housing guys who kept taking out my tank.
Bottom line: Despite some issues with the game's camera system, Mercenaries is a great way to ride out the winter.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.