It would be easy to dismiss Mercenaries 2 as an unfinished game. The graphics are of varying quality, from excellent explosions to bafflingly bad water effects and wooden animation. The AI is not too entertaining and the mostly impressive physics have lots of minor problems. Often it can be a mystery why someone is attacking you. I haven’t encountered very many bugs, but apparently there are many severe ones, including a common one that unlocks all of the game’s Achievements at once.
But playing the game, none of that really matters. Just looking up a target from the free-roaming map and getting to it is very satisfying. Most of the time you end up blowing up something big and stealing some resources (oil, cash, munitions). The difficulty is pretty much spot on. Usually you need to be cautious in your approach and plan your attack, since you don’t have enough air strikes to just bunker bomb everything. The ability to get a tank or an attack chopper airlifted to you is enormously satisfying. As an annoyance, I would prefer the enemies to be less keen-eyed – they often start shooting while I’m just observing.
A playground of destruction, as it were: full of fun stuff, but ultimately lacking in substance. When you’ve played around enough, there’s nothing to keep you coming back. The overall structure is just not engaging. It is the archetypal sandbox game, lacking the finely scripted narrative of titles like GTA IV, but making up for it with directionless, delicious fun.