Poll: Generic Amateur Previews: Just Cause 2 (Or, How I Learned to Stop Thinking and Love the Explosion)

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Hoo boy. For future reference, this preview is based almost entirely off the demo (available now at all good download services). Just Cause 2 is a strange case where it was sort of happening, almost in the background, then it exploded (quite literally) onto my radar with all of it's recent trailer shenanigans. The demo is fun, quite so, and makes me think: Can this game get any more awesome?

Maybe. What I mean by this is that while the demo is certainly kickass, I'm expecting the game to explode (quite literally) into a huge, neverending series of explosions, leaping from jet fighter to jet fighter and riding a giant robot octopus over tank battalions. With laser cannons and such like. The game goes completely for an unrealistic style and I commend it for going against the current norm of hyper realistic games taking place in a parallel universe where everything is either brown, dark green (for colour) and black.

Oh, look at me, I have hardly talked about the game yet! Just Cause 2 is, rather predictably, a sequel to 2006's Just Cause, a game which I understand is not very good. It embraces silliness in a way I have rarely seen before in games and a way that I truly enjoy. It's sheer (quite literally) explosive attitude and embrace of the ridiculous action film is commendable in a way that encourages experimentation with the many tools available. Experimentation that often involves explosions and lots of dead soldiers.

A typical scene in Just Cause 2.

One of your main tools, and a source of much glee, is the player character Rico Rodriguez's (Seriously, that's his name, awesome!) implausible and physics-defying, arm-mounted grappling hook. Whether it's rocketing you through the air and onto a jet fighter nearby or tying a helpless pilot to his own helicopter which then promptly explodes, the grappling hook is the source of endless enjoyment. Playing around is Just Cause 2's main draw for me and is implemented in such an intuitive way that I want to keep playing, and am giddy with excitement at how the grappling hook can later be worked into combat and the interaction with the environment you get. Just playing around, for example, I found that the grappling hook can be used to throw enemies off ledges from almost any angle, something that saves ammo, and is hilarious.

Which segues me elegantly to the next point I wish to talk about: the car chases. It may sound like a frivolous thing to talk about, but the car chases are a major source of entertainment and are in no short supply. In the one measly mission included in the demo, the car chase was easily the highlight. Grappling in from a helicopter to a convoy of three jeeps, there are so many way to tackle it that it's worth replaying over and over again. Do you stay on the helicopter, making the jeeps explode before the helicopter inevitably crashes (and explodes)? Do you grapple onto the jeep and hijack each one in quick succession (resulting in the least explosions)? Or, do you grapple on the jeeps, plant C4 on the roof and parachute up, at which point you make them explode? The game gives you a great sense of freedom with the tools provided, including a reusable and versatile stunt parachute which makes getting around a breeze.

Another typical scene from Just Cause 2.

Wandering around the game world, which even in the demo seems huge, there are plenty of options and ways to cause "Chaos", the game's unlock system. Causing a certain amount of Chaos will grant you access to new missions and equipment to buy from the black market. The most common of these is the military bases strewn throughout the land because hey, who needs hospitals? These bases are large, varied and have a wide variety of the things to blow up and a a very unbalanced ratio of things blown up:things not blown up. Whether it be taking out cranes with a car tethered to a helicopter or diving into a fuel shaft and rigging it to explode making you rush back up before it does, these bases offer fun, explosions and lots of enemies to kill and lots of ways to do it.

Completing these bases (tracked by a handy percentage meter for each individual base) is key to advancing and upgrading. There are collectibles everywhere and at last, a reason to collect them. There are three types: Weapon parts, armour parts and vehicle parts. Each class upgrades it's given item. Upgrades take place on the black market and only affect ordered items, but it's a great incentive to go hunting.

My only real complaint is regarding the health system. It's incredibly eager to tell you that you're taking damage. Lose a third of your health, and your screen will already be coloured in red and the annoying heartbeat sound will play at about 8dB louder than everything else. It's distracting, and enemies are super accurate. That's another complaint, any getaway in a vehicle is all but trashed the monet you get in one, because the AI will suddenly perk up and shoot crazy accurately, popping both of you're back tyres (and it is always your back tyres) within seconds of the engine starting. On foot, the AI is a whole different sack of potatoes. Often missing from 4 feet away, it's not the best. They move intelligently though, avoiding explosions (like there's any hope) and taking cover smoothly. They aim like stormtroopers, but avoid bullets like rebels.

When all is said and done, Just Cause 2 is looking to be a fantastic game, even if in a very stupid kind of way. The explosions come fast and frequenntly and there is always something to do. Oh, and it also looks fantastic. I give it a hype-o-meter rating of: District 9.

This has been T-Bone, you're guide to the world of opinion.

(Man, I'm having a lot of fun with the Generic Amateur Reviews, I may make a series out of this!)

Anywho, I write sometimes. Here's some of my other reviews!
Mass Effect 2
Patapon 2

Y'know, feedback would be just awesome.

Explosions, silliness, car chases and a grappling hook. I'm going to have to check this out.

Nice review as well, a series might be quite a good idea.

Stranger of Sorts:
Explosions, silliness, car chases and a grappling hook. I'm going to have to check this out.

Nice review as well, a series might be quite a good idea.

I could try a series, but 60 views per review doesn't really warrant it.

T-Bone24:

Stranger of Sorts:
Explosions, silliness, car chases and a grappling hook. I'm going to have to check this out.

Nice review as well, a series might be quite a good idea.

I could try a series, but 60 views per review doesn't really warrant it.

Heh I think I'm getting less than that but I still carry on. The escapist isn't a very review friendly place.

Stranger of Sorts:

T-Bone24:

Stranger of Sorts:
Explosions, silliness, car chases and a grappling hook. I'm going to have to check this out.

Nice review as well, a series might be quite a good idea.

I could try a series, but 60 views per review doesn't really warrant it.

Heh I think I'm getting less than that but I still carry on. The escapist isn't a very review friendly place.

Yeah, I know, I'm desparate for feedback. PLEASE EVALUATE ME!

 

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