Mercenaries 2 - hands-on

Mercenaries was a superb achievement on Xbox and PS2 when it was released in 2005. The destructible environments, go-anywhere and drive-anything gameplay was like GTA in a warzone. But the sandbox style of game has been done so many times now, its sequel is going to have to do a lot more than that if it's going to remain relevant. And after playing it at EA's Chertsey offices... we're not sure it's doing enough.

It's got the right attitude, that's for sure. Designed as a fun videogame rather than a war simulation, this is all about blowing things up as spectacularly as possible. And when every object in the game is interactive, that's certainly a tasty prospect. You can set trees on fire or knock them over altogether, level buildings or blow up bridges. At one point, we couldn't find our way out of a military compound... so we made a "Mercs door." In other words, we blew up the boundary with an airstrike. Yes!

The PS2 and PS3/360 versions are different games, but share the same colourful setting (Venezuela) and the same plot about fighting over oil and a double-crossing megalomaniac named Ramone Solano. This Bond villain wannabe is a nasty piece of work, who hires you to fulfil a contract (which you do) then tries to kill you when you return for your pay. The humiliation of being shot in the ass while you escape is your character's main motivation. You're not going to let him get away with that. Are you?