I'm sick of people slagging this game off for stupid reasons. To the previous reviewer: You can't go everywhere on the map TO BEGIN WITH, if you lose signal you either leave that area or destroy the nearby radar jammer, then you are free to explore. Simple. Mercenaries on the XBox was the best game I played and the most innovative, and it was highly regarded as a groundbreaking game. Rest assured if you were a fan of the first, this will not dissapoint, the graphics are sweet as hell, not the best on the PS3 admittedly but this is because it was a "semi" multiplatform title to come out on the PS2 also, the physics engine on the PS2 is from the first game however, so whilst graphics may not be insanely sexy, the physics are definately next-gen.
Here is the biggest difference, Mercs1 had the deck of cards system, this one doesn't, the focus is more on factional warfare and you managing your contracts, the game is still big with plenty of missions andeven more side missions, people have a habit of skipping these however and only doing the mandatory missions, finishing the game too early and moaning it was fast. The side missions are not just padding though, they are fun, in some cases they are more challenging than main missions... bottom line is that deck of cards was fun, but unrealistic, you are a merc, not a superhero, you do contracts for money from certain factions, the UN won't hire one man to solve all the world's problems, Mercs2 is more plausible on a whole in that respect.
- Vehicles, there are waaaay more here, helis, tanks, boats, bikes, cars, trucks, and lots of each, it simply puts GTA4 to SHAME, the vehicles are awesome with gadgets and weapons and they look sweet, wait till you see the Panzercycle (tank-bike), worth buying the game for this alone.
- Allies, you get a base at the start and recruit a team to assist you to an extent, a heli pilot, a mechanic and an engineer all of whom will offer you challenges with wagers to make you more money, and also get you more items and contacts. Overall it makes the game more involving and these minigames are a very fun way of unlocking items or making money, not like boring chores some sandbox games offer.
-Map, the map here is far larger that it's predecessor, not as large as GTA San Andreas, however, I believe it is larger than GTA4, don't take my word on this though, but it certainly seems that way.
-damage, physics is awesome here, you can destroy anything, incindiary explosions will fan out and burn any trees nearby and the fire spreads. There are lots of airstrikes, and yes a nuke too. (Well, pretty much something that looks exactly like one, you'll see).
-hijacking, this is a little more challenging than in the previous title, when you try to jack a tank or chopper it will initiate a minigame with button sequences, it makes it more challenging and the animation of these mini battles look fun, you also use a grapple hook to jack copters which means no more luring them in and running to high ground to get them so you can expect to pilot these alot more.
Online- nuff said
In short, this is the game GTA4 should have been, it is a sandbox game with alot to do, and it is fun even after completion. Lots of innovative side quests, costume and item unlocks, future downloadable content, and online adds to playability. It is unrealistic enough to offer silly entertainment and has a light-hearted violent humour whereas the gritty story and sterile realism of GTA4 made it simply boring. If you like free-roaming games with open-ended gameplay and GTA4 didn't satisfy you, this here is your baby, buy it and indulge in mayhem. Plus, one more thing... yes, Peter Stormare still voices Mattias. Cool.