Just Cause 2
The last two months Eidos and Square-Enix have been hard at work promoting their open world game Just Cause 2. Every few days a new trailer in which Rico Rodriguez did one crazy stunt after the other was released. My interest was naturally aroused and I couldn’t wait to check out this huge sandbox game.
For starters I want to compliment the developers of Just Cause 2 for what they’ve achieved with the Avalanche engine. Without any loading times or pop-ups we get a diverse world of no less than 32 square kilometers. From busy cities, dusty deserts and snowy mountains to sticky jungles and deep oceans. It may be clear, the team behind Just Cause 2 listened carefully to the complaints about the predecessor and decided to put as much content as possible in the sequel. Count about 400 villages, factories, army bases and cities you can visit. The beautiful island group of Panau is your playing field and you grappling hook and parachute are your tools.
Rico Rodriguez may officially be a secret agent with a license to kill, but maybe stuntman would have suited his CV better. No silencers or sneaking around, instead there’s big explosions, heavy gunnery and insane stunts! Add to that the grappling hook and parachute and even Cirque du Soleil doesn’t reach this level of acrobacy. The trailers already suggested it, Just Cause 2 is centered 100% around fun and doesn’t care one bit about the story.
You’ll quickly notice that Just Cause 2 has a lot of influences from Red Faction: Guerrilla and Crackdown. Just like in Red Faction you need to decrease government power by shutting down propaganda. Think of closing down army bases, blowing up fuel depots and taking down communications. By destroying these “objectives” you get Chaos points which are used as currency and lead to new missions, weapons, vehicles, “black market” goods and stronghold takeovers. The story, which exists of only seven missions, cannot be finished in one go as before you can do the last big mission, you’ll need a ton of Chaos Points in your wallet.
The reason Just Cause 2 reminds me of Crackdown is the freedom and structure of the missions. You’re not obliged to follow a fixed path which makes exploring extremely appealing. Together with the grappling hook and your parachute you go looking for new military bases that can deliver chaos points. But don’t worry about the missions as I already said there aren’t too many and instead try to just have fun. What you’ll mostly be doing is hijacking a helicopter and sending it into the stratosphere while a jet is chasing you. Then you jet-jack the jet and put a bit of C4 in the cockpit. All that’s left to do is make a 4km free fall with as target to balance your helicopter again and land safely. Lovely!
If you’ve had it with the parachute (which would surprise me) you can still get into one of the 104 different vehicles and have fun with them. Both two as well as four-wheeled vehicles are present but a super agent wouldn’t be an agent without a license for the controlling the “big boys” like speedboats, helicopters and jetfighters. Next to that you can also choose from about thirty weapons going from guns to rocket launchers.
Playstation3 users get a nice additional feature in Just Cause 2. Thanks to a video capture option you can record all your crazy stunts, glitches, races and so on and put them on Youtube or store them on your PS3. Why the feature is exclusive to the PS3 remains a mystery (Sony helped create it, ed.) but I did enjoy some funny vids that appeared on Youtube.
Graphically the game has two faces. The island of Panau looks really good and detailed. Thanks to the different areas you won’t grow tired of the landscape easily and the day- and night cycle adds that extra bit more. On the other side the cut-scenes are horrible and outdated while the characters look all but great. Luckily you can skip every scene and that’s really a good thing in this case.
Just Cause 2 is a sandbox game pur sang with an immensely large open world, lots of possibilities and an extensive list of vehicles. The story may suck monkeyballs, the game did deliver me hours of fun. Just Cause 2 is the game Bionic Commando should have been. Never thought that I could mess around in a game world for so long without progression. Just Cause 2 is exponentially better than its predecessor and definitely one to check out