That said, one thing that pales in comparison to GTA are the vehicles. The usually robust chassis of a humvee feels featherweight and if you drive into a stack of wooden boxes, the car jumps into the air as if a grenade has been planted under it.
Also, a majority of the cars are slow, and the fast ones (a pseudo-Dodge Viper), can't be accessed until later on in the game. It slowly becomes a bit of a grind having to crawl along everywhere, though eventually you'll get access to the better motors.
As for the tanks, even though they're capable of levelling a small country, they're really tricky to drive.
Unlike the cars, which use X and Square to accelerate/decelerate, when you're tanking it up, all the controls switch to the left stick. That's accelerating, braking and steering, all with the left stick. It's so fiddly it just feels wrong.
Another vehicular problem lies within the cockpit of the choppers. Initially, piloting one of these whirly-birds seems fine, as you switch between rockets and chain gun on the fly.
But when you start to steer them, they veer in the opposite direction to that which they're turning. Weirdly, this only applies to some of the 'copters. Others turn the way they should. It's all a bit strange, really.
On a whole, Mercenaries offers more entertainment than 90% of games on PS2. Look past the minor imperfections, and you're staring at a game that'll keep you coming back for more.
But the ability to see between the game's cracks to the contrived structure below hampers what could have been a truly immersive experience.
Fact is, it has more than it's fair share of GTA rip-offs but it still feels fresh, fun and deliciously violent to play. If you can't beat them join them.
Mercenaries is fighting for territory in stores now for PS2 and Xbox