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Just Cause 2
Just Cause 2

PC | PlayStation 3 | Xbox 360
Genre: Action Players: 1
Developer: Avalanche Official Site: http://www.justcause.com/
Publisher: Eidos Classification: MA15+
Release Date:
April 2010
Just Cause 2 Review
Review By @ 05:57pm 30/03/10
XBOX360
So, here I am free-falling from some 5000 metres after jumping out of a cargo chopper I stole from the Panau army; the chopper has since spun out of control past me and the world below is quickly building texture. From here I have a pretty good choice of where to land. I could invade a radio installation, sneak into an air-base, drop in on an unsuspecting colonel hanging out at his villa, or maybe just head toward that area that doesn't quite look like it should. The further I fall, the more intriguing this patch of land is; resting on the back of a mountain range, surrounded by tree-filled stretches of Pacifican beauty, it is dotted with small white-ish patches of what can only be some sort of vegetation. when I hit around 1000 metres from the mark, I can see a single tower erect in the dead centre of this hidden wonderland. There's no need for the parachute, it's fun to get around in, but my trusty grappling hook can pull me to a safe landing, even from this intense drop.

So, now here I am standing in a field with a single, solitary bell-tower. It's raining but the sun is still shining, adding to the picturesque vision around me. The field is unique because it's not filled with green, but rather a pinkish white, thanks to the cherry blossom-esque trees scattered about the place. Wasting no time, I grapple up to the bell-tower and discover, much to my amusement, a new toy. Literally. Sitting neatly on a small rise in the bell-tower floor is a bubble gun toy, which is perfectly equippable and does exactly as you'd expect - blow bubbles. Planting some remote explosives, I jump off the tower with my new purple weapon holstered on my thigh, land and detonate, sending the top of the tower into the air in pieces as it explodes in glorious fury. Where to next?

This is but one example of the sort of ridiculously awesome goodness to be found in Just Cause 2. It's by no means the greatest game ever made, and it's campaign component lacks a serious punch, but as a tool for the exploration of all things hidden and fun, it can't be beat. The game-world is absolutely enormous, and beyond being enormous, it's gloriously realised in visual form; standing as one of the most impressive-looking videogame environments I've ever seen.



As a mass of islands, Panau is no slouch in diversity. Everything from snow-capped mountain peaks to dry, sun-baked deserts is on exploratory option. There's jungle, bushland, marshland, lakes, rivers, beaches, towns, cities and mystery - lots of mystery. Missions will generally take you through most of these, but missions are also powered by necessity rather than compulsion - they're an arbitrary distraction to the playground that is Panau and everything it has to offer, but needed in order really get the most out of the game.

There are really no accolades to offer in the writing, either. It's almost a pinch of salt to add to the wound that is mission necessity, grains of which embody scripting, voice-acting, bad characters, repetitive structure and drawn out, unnecessary arcs - it really is background noise, but as I've stated, has to be there in order to push the game forward.

That said, you're only locked into the first three missions really. And it's almost as if Avalanche Studios is completely aware their campaign component is totally lame; practically forcing you to abandon it and explore the lush world they've crafted. Unlike GTA or other open-world sandbox titles, the entirety of Panau is yours for the exploring from the outset, just finish the first three missions and you can pretty much do whatever you want. The caveat for having to apply yourself to missions though, comes in the form of expanding your health and strengthening your cash-flow (used to call in vehicles, weapons and equipment and be extracted to locations if you can't be arsed nicking a vehicle to get their yourself). And these are actually needed to thoroughly enjoy the game at large, though that being said, it's fun to romp around for hours on-end, playing with physics, AI and stunts, but after a while, some direction is definitely required.



So herein lies the rub: the game's campaign/story stuff is lacklustre, at best, but needed in order to become stronger (and offer more to do in the form of unlockable side-quests). It's also needed to, kind of ironically, break the freeplay options, which while fun for hours and hours on-end, can't be the only driving force, which leaves the game in realms of awesomeness and crapola - two forces we really shouldn't have to deal with mixing together (now, awesomeness and awesomeness is where it's at).

However. And that's an engaging "however", the missions also help expand the tool-set with educational options for the creatively-challenged out there. What this means is while most on offer are devoid of compelling gameplay, a few key missions make the game's mechanics stand-out, and empower players to expand upon any interactive examples they took part in, in the open-world portion of the game. Missions can range from hijacking, escort and demolition (for a broad range) to helping militant revolutionaries spread their message across the airwaves by repositioning four major satellite relays. But it's never consistent, which is one part of what drags the mission structure down, and the time it takes to play through boring, arbitrary missions to find that diamond in the rough is just too much.

Beyond my clear dislike for the mission structure and overall writing, Just Cause 2 also has some serious issues in the AI/NPC department. Ragdoll physics look out of place against solid vehicle physics, great destructibility, and the general *strength* of the game engine (in that everything is functional and looks realistic). Moreover, they are retarded in their reactionary process, while enemy AI is pretty lacking overall, and for some reason they're all excellent shots from really far away with a shotgun. Go figure.



Still, despite a host of shortcomings, the game itself is still a must-buy. The game-world is incredibly engaging, riddled with secrets and fun tools to keep you playing and sandboxing for a long, long time and it just looks so damn good. Varying weather conditions and effects keep it constantly in a state of visual flux and means - overall - you're always in for a new, unique visual treat. If you're the sort of player who's happy to sit back and marry mechanics with your own creativity, there's no end to how much you'll get out of Just Cause 2, while story junkies might do well to be warned: this stuff is pretty loose in delivery - don't expect GTA-quality story-telling, but definitely expect a lot of fun.
What we liked
  • Absolute freedom - Sandbox gaming at its best
  • Looks incredible
  • Amazing, solid game-engine
  • Heaps to explore and play with - many, many hidden goodies
What we didn't like
  • Story, characters, scripting and voice-acting is sub-par
  • Missions and mission-structure is severely lacking
  • AI for enemies and NPCs is a bit of a joke
More
We gave it:
8.5
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
Dazhel
Posted 06:24pm 30/3/10
There's no need for the parachute, it's fun to get around in, but my trusty grappling hook can pull me to a safe landing, even from this intense drop.


lol, leave Newtonian explanations at the door, only JustCausian physics can explain how jumping out of a plane and then *pulling* on the ground can slow your fall.
Nice review Steve, very much looking forward to firing up this game.
pARODY
Posted 07:03pm 30/3/10
There are these Jets on the island that are awesome. Some of the in game distance can take over 10mins to get around. Find the nearest airfield and steal a plane!

There is a futuristic fighter jet at one of the fields that pwns. Combat gets fairly repetitive but using the grappling hook to attach some enemy to a passing car is fun.
Bah
Posted 07:06pm 30/3/10
I pity anyone with ocd that plays this game.

It's pretty fun and runs well on my old pos pc.
AI is pretty lacking overall, and for some reason they're all excellent shots from really far away with a shotgun
The poor ai doesnt bother me, and you have plenty of health so them being good shots isnt that bad.. what is annoying though is them spawning all around you.. which seems really lazy because at points they airdrop in from choppers, drive in from cars etc.

Grappling a car to the ground is always good fro a laugh too, or hook some guy onto your boat and tow him from behind while he screams.

last edited by Bah at 19:06:10 30/Mar/10
Trauma
Posted 09:02pm 30/3/10
Got my copy today, loving it, grappled a cops bike to the side of a bridge, the bike flew off the bridge and he face planted, I lol'd.
Thundercracker
Posted 09:40pm 30/3/10
This game is full of wacky funtimes. I get far too sidetracked :P
Mantorok
Posted 09:44pm 30/3/10
Make sure you grab BOLOPatch, allows multiple ropes and improves their strength.
parabol
Posted 09:47pm 30/3/10
From the steam store:
Just Cause 2 only supports Windows Vista or Windows 7 and requires a video card that supports DirectX 10 or higher. Windows XP and DirectX 9 are not supported.

Interesting! Is there a chance this may actually strain my graphics card? Might buy it sometime ...
Mantorok
Posted 09:53pm 30/3/10
So you missed this?
Bah
Posted 10:32pm 30/3/10
Is there a chance this may actually strain my graphics card?
Runs fine on my ati3850, so i don't think it really strains graphics cards, although as the vid above says it does have extra features you can turn on.
weedy
Posted 11:37pm 30/3/10
DL the PC demo now, i wont make the same mistake in buying a badly PC ported game again after my horrid experience with BFBC2.

Ive already tried the PS3 demo and seems like a cool game
Spook
Posted 06:38am 31/3/10
the demo put me off this game :(
Thundercracker
Posted 08:01am 31/3/10
I'm not sure if I would recommend it. It's fun in a sandbox kind of fashion. Once you get used to the grapple you can do some wacky stuff.

The FOV when using aircraft gives me motion sickness though :/
bulldog
Posted 09:52am 31/3/10
+1 for the Bolopatch.

Unbreakable multi ropes = double the awesomeness
mrmatt
Posted 10:09am 31/3/10
I too was turned off by the demo and i loved the first one.
E.T.
Posted 10:45am 31/3/10
the demo put me off this game :(


Spooky explain!

It looks like a lot of fun. Anyone know what game engine it is?
Spook
Posted 11:23am 31/3/10
i just found teh demo s***:

game didnt engage me, animations were clunky, shooting guns didnt feel cool;

i was able to run down a ridiculously steep hill with no issue

vehicles werent fun to drive, grappling hook didnt do it for me (i prefer the q2ctf grappling hook)

pretty much everything i was looking forward to, disappointed me

i had a run around for 30 minutes or however long the demo lasts and havent touched it since
ctd
Posted 12:25pm 31/3/10
I actually liked the demo, wouldn't pay 100 bucks for this game but ordering it online is worth it.

Eorl
Posted 12:45pm 31/3/10
I can't play it. the controls are just horrid. It's to laggy with the mouse input feel. The sensitivty is fine, just the camera swaying makes it feel really laggy.
Lynx
Posted 04:26pm 31/3/10
Turn off vsync, and if you really want it, force it in the gfx cards drivers.
The game seems to do this time slowing thing to aid the vsync, but all it does is f*** up all your timing.

Surfed a roadster tied to a 4x4 tied to a jumbo, into a mountain.

Eorl
Posted 04:30pm 31/3/10
Ah ta man, i'll give it a try
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