To all intents and purposes Mercenaries is GTA, set not within the climbing cities of '80s America, but across war-torn North Korea. And, as the title suggests, you're not there to keep the peace but to make a big fat stack of stinkin' cash.
Clients include the UN, the Chinese People's Army and the Russian Mafia, all vying for control of the crumbling Communist state. The trouble is, the more you work for one side, the more you may piss off the other.
Forget San Andreas
As you can expect, a whole slew of vehicles is planned - all of which you can climb aboard to control. They range from jeeps and trucks all the way up to tanks and assault helicopters, and as was the case with GTA, all are simple to control. You can even signal for allied troops to climb aboard and man the weapons whilst you drive. Or of course you can just roam around on foot, with up to a dozen weapons strapped across your back instead.
Until you see the game running with your own two eyes, you would be hard pushed to believe Mercenaries is designed for the likes of a common console. So complex and dynamic are the graphical effects that it looks like a high-end PC game. Ironically it looks like PC players are the ones who will miss out - initially at least - on what isn't just one of the most graphically stunning console games in development, but in terms of gameplay one of the most ambitious.
It lacks the dark humour of GTA and is unlikely to be as open-ended, but with many styles of play, Mercenaries is clearly going to be a superior military action game.