The preview of Just Cause managed to really impress us. An hour or two checking out that colossal world, doing stunts and pushing adrenaline levels to unknown heights made us think this would be an unequalled top game. We were wrong!
As you know, Just Cause is a GTA-like title but with an even bigger world, a hero that reminds of a combination of James Bond and Antonio Banderas, and unseen possibilities to go from one vehicle to the other.
With the stunt button you can crawl on the roof of a passing car, jump like like a locust, open your parachute, find a new target, grapple it with your hook, get inside and drive on with that car! Even better: you can do the same from and to helicopters, boats, jeeps, mountain tops, bikes, tractors, dirtbikes, bridges, trucks, mini’s and airplanes. You don’t only feel like a superhero with super powers but it’s also ideal to go from one place to the other, something that will be necessary in this immense virtual world.
A virtual world that looks very nice, with beautiful surroundings, colorful woods, hills, mountains, streets and villages. Sunbeams shine through the tops of the trees, dropping shadows on the grassen, waves calmly arrive on the beach, water reflects as never before and you believe you’re on an exotic island, just like with Test Drive Unlimited. Downpoints are also present, like the disappointing models, animations that don’t always convince and some pop-ups we can forgive due to the vastness of your field of sight.
We’re also forgiving towards the story that you’ll have forgotten after three minutes, with main character Rico Rodriguez who comes over pretty sympathetic and does his job to make the over-the-top gameplay believeable. You’ll mostly be busy fighting a dictator, freeing all kinds of villages, hunting corrups cops in particular and kicking ass in the banana republic in general. Missions are divided between the larger ones that progress the story, and the smaller ones you can do as side-quests. Unfortunately there’s little variation and conquering a village (kill everyone, destroy the barricades, capture the flag) will quickly result in a feeling of déjà-vu, especially since it’s easy to constantly use the same strategy (combat choppers are just a bit too powerful).
There are also a couple of other negative points: the game is too easy, the areas are large but due to that sometimes also quite empty or poorly filled with exciting objects, variation and surprises, the gameplay is too repetitive and the balance of weapons and vehicles could be a bit better as well.
In the end it all comes down to creating chaos and having fun. As we said this is a true action game with constant chases, continuous gun fights, stunts added with explosions, bullet rains and the discovery of new locations.
Just Cause is without a doubt an original and quite unique game where everyone that’s looking for some unpretentious action will find his or her portion of fun. Those looking for a more subtle title, deeper gameplay or something different from the equivalent of an American action movie filled with stunts, explosions and a cheesy story may better want to get something else. Certainly worth a try!