Reviews: Just Cause

Just Cause 2: Something for nearly every man

Which isnít to say that women wouldnít like it, but Just Cause 2 has elements that would appeal to males more often than females. Regardless, there appears to be something that many people can find appealing in the game.

The story is pretty simple, and because of this, I would not recommend this game to people who just want a serious, in depth story, you are not going to find it in this game at all. The plot of this game boils down to: bad dictator is in power on a tropical island, do everything you can to mess up his rein and overthrow him. Luckily, this isnít trying to be topical about current wars or dictators, or at the very least itís subtle about it.

But what you really play Just Cause 2 for is the gameplay, and this is where most of the different appeal comes from; a little something for everyone if you will. There are cool cars and optional races for these cars, for those interested in racing and cars. There is a large island that can be explored, with easter eggs for those willing/like to explore. To go with the large island you have many a ďcool XĒ to go around it, be it boat, car, or plane/helicopter. There is also a grappling hook, to either get around with, which it exceeds very well at, and to use and different ways to attack enemies. There is also a lot of destruction going on in the game, with lots of explosions and gunfights to be had, so this will really appeal to people who love action games. The game even has a tough talking lead, though he isnít too machismo, in the sense that he isnít overly gung-ho or militirstic, which I really enjoyed, considering the abundance of gung-ho type of characters in action games. As a final note on the appeal, there are also strange and quirky missions you can get during the game and even towards the end of the story line which are fun to go through.

There may be issues that may bug some players, one being the sheer size of the island, which is very large and makes it difficult to systematically search the island to see what your missing for those who feel compelled to get 100% in games. Another issue may be that there is a bit too much sameness in small villages and military bases; although I know that it is a problem, for me I never found it ruining the game for me.

Overall, Just Cause 2 is a fun game that has many gameplay aspects that different types of people can enjoy.

Action Movie: The Video Game

AI: They have their stupid moments like all video game enemies, but the first time you notice a soldier taking cover or leaping away from a grenade feels awesome, even if that makes them harder to kill.

The Action: Rico is your typical get shot in the face like it's nothing, grows back limbs by hiding behind cover, no negotiating, Badass video game Action Hero who can hold hundreds of rounds of ammunition in his pockets...somehow, but with two key differences: First, he has a grappling hook, which effectively turns him into Spider-Man with a gun. Second, it appears he has no blood relation to the Wicked Witch of the West, unlike other video game characters. It's really great to see how the guy who can take a 10 story fall no problem also doesn't die upon contact with water. Expect pretty explosions, cinematic gun battles, awesome set-piece missions, and even helicopter dogfights all the way while playing as him.

Heartwarming: The first and every subsequent time you save a group of civilians by killing the soldiers standing over them, you just feel happy inside.

The Game World: Large and beautiful, Panau features mountains, jungles, a city, and a desert all within the same island archipelago. Military bases and villages dot the landscape, and the graphics are stunning.

The Controls: Ground movement is simple, as is the handlng of the grappling hook. Vehicles have a tendency to overturn, but you are still in control and merely need to compensate. Helicopters are awkward at first, and the fixed Wong aircraft have no yaw (steering left or right) capability.

Plot: It has one which is kind of interesting, but is poorly developed. The setup is that the American-friendly leader of Panau has been killed and replaced by his son, a tyrannical despot whose soldiers regularly oppress and massacre their own people. A government agent (who just happens to be your former mentor) on the island goes "dark" at the same time. Can Rico fnd out what happened to his mentor and oust one really big meanie? Just Cause 2 has a great premise, but it fails to deliver.

Just Cause 2 - Think of a Michael Bay movie, but actually fun to watch (and play).

From the moment I first saw the trailer for it about a year before this review was made, I've always had an interest in Just Cause 2. Fun gameplay centered around shit going boom? Beautiful graphics?

I was nearly sold, but I held off on it for a while until December of 2012, when I finally got it, and this I can say - it is one of the best games I have played in 2012.

  • Pros:
    • Absolutely stunning to look at.
    • Vast wealth of collectables will have you coming back for at least a 40 - 50+ hour playthrough.
    • Fun, intense gameplay.
    • Transportation and weapons can be purchased at any time from the Black Market - once you unlock all of them of course, which, thankfully, doesn't take as long as you think.
    • So unbelievably over the top.

  • Cons:
    • Storyline isn't really there. Core game can be finished around 7 - 8 hours (although as mentioned before, post game can push 50).
    • Audio clipping. Often. Although this can be nitpicking.
    • Noticable frame drops.

  • Neither Pros nor Cons:
    • Vehicle physics. Cars are twitchy; even the slightest touch on the left analog stick might send a car careening into a wall, although this can be intentional.
    • Terrible voice acting that reaches the point of hilarity.
    • The game is difficult, you will die often. This can be frustrating to players new to TPSes or Wide Open Sandbox games, or can provide an added sense of challenge to getting 100% (or rather, 99.5%) completion.
    • Little ammo to be gotten from downed enemies. Again, can add a sense of challenge.
    • Quick time events. Let's just leave it at that.

Should you buy Just Cause 2? Stop reading and buy it now, it's pros vastly outweigh it's cons. 9 out of 10.

Over The Top, and Proud of It

Just Cause 2 is a game that knows what it wants to be, angles everything towards being that, and blows up the target. Panau is huge, the action is awesome, graphics are crisp, and the controls are surprisingly easy to understand. The only way it could be more over-the-top is if you could Leap And Fire in Bullet Time or the game enabled free-climbing all over any vehicle.

There are a massive range of locations over Panau, and many seem to be tailored to an action movie sensibility. The first base you enter is mounted on a cliffside, with cable cars, bridges, and big buildings. One island base has a main road running through it and explosive silos on either side; it's basically begging you to drop a tank at one end and drive to the other, blowing up everything you can on the way. Not every place is as memorable, but they largely avoid feeling repetitive.

The acrobatics in the game are perfectly designed to enable planesurfing without you falling off or the controls being too obtuse. At the touch of a button, you can jump onto a passing car, and not fall off until it slams into a wall or you hijack it. Some vehicles even enable you to hang from the front or back of them. Surprisingly, this is handled in a kinda-sorta-semi-realistic fashion: military vehicles have ridges or bars that would be easy to hold on to, while civilian vehicles are much smoother, offering no handholds.

Missions are nicely varied, and cover just about every part of the spectrum you can think of, from escorting a boat through a series of military floodgates to hijacking a traitor's plane to rescuing a hostage from a convoy to stealing an armored car to storming fortresses. They vary in length from less than ten minutes to over half an hour, and a select few have their own partially-developed mini-story. However, some of the story missions skimp on checkpoints, particularly when you need to destroy several things in a row; there can be ten minutes between checkpoints.

If you somehow get bored of all the action, optional races provide an easy diversion, whether they're skydiving, flying, or driving. Even these come sometimes get crazy, such as driving at high speeds inside a massive satellite dish or weaving between supports and departing planes at an airport in a sports car.

Just Cause 2 might be cheesy, but it's some of the best cheese I've tasted.

Just Cause 1 — Lovely wrapping paper, little present.

Rico Rodriguez, star insurgent, glares at the air mattress that defeated him. His trusty machine gun slaughtered a drug cartel, but it cannot even mark this rubbery nemesis blocking the ladder. He cannot pick it up. Jumping, he bounces off the ladder. As they warned him in spy school, ladders only work at the bottom. He shall never reach the helicopter above.

All around me are lush visuals, from the voluptuously toned beaches to the misty mountains in the far, far draw distance. At my feet lies a trivial, but broken and niggly thing ruining my sense of immersion.

I drive to a story mission. Sheldon and Maria are waiting on a beach by their mobile command post. It may be mobile but they aren't. They stand rigidly still — a life-sized Ken and Front Heavy Barbie. Rico is reasonably realistic. Maria is roughly human above the neckline. Sheldon's mum appears to have had an affair with Mr Potato Head.

In the driving section the bad guys can shoot me, but I cannot shoot back. If I stop to kill them on foot, more will respawn. On foot, fights happen inside a nebulous cloud of respawning baddies. There is no logic to their materialisation, hence cover can cease to have meaning in an instant. They respawn behind me when I employ even rudimentary tactics.

The baddies die quickly, being as dumb as concussed ducks. I can soak up their bullets, but die from the gentlest tap by a car, often driven by my own side. I just run for the objective: I'll take a few hits either way. These baddies look unnervingly like Raoul Duke from Doonesbury.

Earlier I turned off the looping music and blinding bloom. Then the sound, because of the endless irritiating drone of inexplicably Ricophilic helicopters and sourceless voice spam: "Halt, Citizen!" over and over. Now I'm ignoring some bad guys as being unavoidable, unthreatening, unending and unrewarding.

I find a plane that isn't locked away by an air mattress. Airborne, the world looks luscious. I move my view to admire a river dotted with sandbars and small islands. The game jealously snatches the camera back.

There is fun to be had. Rico has some neat grappling gun and parachute tricks, and makes some things go boom. But exploration yields duplicated and brain-dead sidequests. Go get a car. Go kill Raoul Duke again.

They made a much better sequel. Play that.