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Just Cause 2 UK Review

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1 Just Cause 2 UK Review on Mon Mar 29, 2010 7:48 am

Blacksun

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UK, March 24, 2010 - Prepare to be mildly surprised, because we'll bet you a shiny pound that you won't find Just Cause 2 described thusly in any other gaming publication. We've put hours and hours into this desperately feisty third-person action game, and the best analogy we're going to make today is that it's the nearest thing to a brand new rhythm action game you're going to play this month.

Yes, we know it's an over-the-shoulder third-person shooter. Yes, we know it's set in an inordinately huge semi-tropical Asian island. Yes, we know there's not a colour-coded fretboard in sight. But when you strip away the gameplay, its essentials come down to the same thing – hit the gaming groove and it's all sweet music, gnarly solos nailed and Star Power lightning. Get your fingers and thumbs mixed up, and the house of cards comes tumbling down in a right old cacophonous mess.



There's no stunt too outrageous to attempt!
The instrument that delivers such delicious gaming delight is head game honcho Rico's arm-mounted grappling hook. Anyone with any interest in Just Cause 2 will have seen developer Avalanche wax compellingly lyrically about its capabilities and the gameplay options it opens out. Essentially it can sucker onto anything (hapless enemy goon, vehicle, gas canister, jump jet) and either pull you to it, or vice versa. It'll also stick something onto something else by holding down the shoulder button while you fire, and releasing it aimed at object "B". Which, once paired with an ever-available parachute, serves up a smorgasbord of gaming options.

Like? Grappling a pursuing henchman's Humvee-like with one end of the grappling hook and attaching the other to a bridge's stationary stanchion, letting physics do the rest. Or, grappling a passing helicopter and, after dunking the pilot, taking it into the wide blue yonder, stunt-jumping out, free-falling for a couple of thousand feet before opening your chute then latching onto a passing boat, speeding away and giving yourself a sly high five.


The island of Panau is a joy to explore.
Indeed, hit that magical groove and find the sweet spot of this grapple/gun/parachute combo and Just Cause 2 is practically Zen. You'll rampage through missions and stronghold sieges like a grapple-happy Yoda, whipping snipers out of camping points, dragging guards through the air toward you as you unload a clip into them then swooping in and out of range like a leather-clad Spider-man. Get into the zone and you'll navigate your grinny way through Just Cause 2 with more self-congratulatory aplomb than you'll find in a dozen other third-person actioners.

But equally, get your timing wrong and you'll be falling ignobly off buildings, sticking to walls like a leech as you get the stuffing shot out of you and, a personal favourite, holding enemy Humvees on fast-moving leashes as the aiming dynamic, best described as woolly, sees you miss stanchion after bridge stanchion as they whip past you.

It's no surprise then the grappling hook delivers the most fun to be had from the game, because comparatively there're few other big surprises to be had. That's not to say Just Cause 2 is in any quantifiable way a bad game: the graphics zing, in that current-gen, tech demo kind of way; the physics are solid and believable; the missions incredibly varied and impressive in their sheer number, but otherwise it's business as usual.

Story-wise, it's the usual been-there, done-that macho man game fayre. You're Rico Rodriguez – butch, leather-clad spook of indeterminate Latin-ness who's tasked to free-fall into the south-east Asian island of Panau to search out and destroy an ex-colleague who's gone rogue. While also sticking it to the "man" who this time happens to be Pandak "Baby" Panay – a Kim Jong-Il surrogate, more Team America than Bond villain. There are twists and turns to come, but nothing that doesn't have the slight whiff of lazy game-narrative familiarity.



Black market drops makes light work of getting around the island.
This being Just Cause, the mission tree sees you pitching three warring factions against each other while causing chaos and expanding your influence across the various regions of the island, as in the game. Which brings us to the best-realised and most complex character in Just Cause 2: the island of Panau. At around 400 square miles of gameplay area, with ecosystems from rain forest to snowy mountain, this is a sandbox like no other, and genuinely impressive in its scale and ambition. This truly is an island you'll want to explore and spend time in.

Such a large gameplay area inevitably leads to its own shortcomings. It's the exception rather than the rule but some missions are so rambling and poorly signposted that they're finished more by luck than judgement, leading to angry jettisoning. Best example being an enemy base we rained fire upon from our attack helicopter for a good ten minutes, destroying every square inch, and only ever getting a 97% destruction stat. Mission fail. Controller chewed.


Walk, drive, ride, fly... How you get around is up to you.
Similarly, fall off a cliff at the wrong point early in the game and the island's sheer size means you can spend five or ten tedious minutes swimming downriver or easing through tropical rain forest before you get you back on mission-tackling course. Eventually, of course, Black Market drops ease the pain but it's indicative of a certain lack of polish in an otherwise giddyingly enjoyable game, minor blemishes - such as puny ammo rations - that irk far more than they should by breaking up the practically transcendental flow of chaos and destruction.

Closing Comments
Make no mistake, Just Cause 2 is an extremely well-screwed together and entertaining game that desperately wants you to like it. And will keep any man happy for as many hours as he wants to commit to it, such is the vastness of the play area and variety of missions. True, some elements of the game are by the numbers but when you’re dangling, one-armed, off a helicopter, taking out chasing vehicles with a rocket launcher, you can’t help but forgive Just Cause 2 some of its shortcomings[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


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2 Re: Just Cause 2 UK Review on Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:00 am

Stardust


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great game

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3 Re: Just Cause 2 UK Review on Mon Mar 29, 2010 11:02 am

AWESOME

Its like GTA but with a better Map and more Action Big Grin

Great Game!


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4 Re: Just Cause 2 UK Review on Wed Mar 31, 2010 2:20 am

Mr_Waffle

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I played it on my PC, it looks stunning with everything on highest Big Grin

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5 Re: Just Cause 2 UK Review on Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:40 am

Mr_Waffle wrote:I played it on my PC, it looks stunning with everything on highest Big Grin

Cool :P

Is it better than GTA?


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6 Re: Just Cause 2 UK Review on Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:42 am

Mr_Waffle

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Battle Star wrote:
Mr_Waffle wrote:I played it on my PC, it looks stunning with everything on highest Big Grin

Cool :P

Is it better than GTA?
Not played it much yet.

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7 Re: Just Cause 2 UK Review on Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:17 pm

x_HaXeR_x

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The Game looks awesome Eek

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