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Just Cause 2 Review
Review Score:

Pulling men has never felt so good…until now

If your idea of blowing the hell out of everything is your idea of fun or perhaps cavorting in a massive sandbox landscape then there is one game in 2010 that is going to tick all the boxes. Avalanche Studios has brought the sequel to the ever impressive Just Cause, the original game was somewhat buggy but had plenty of promise and we are happy to tell you that Just Cause 2 delivers in many areas but completely lacking in others. I grapple hook is ready our parachute is packed our adventure to Panau Island begins. As I write this, James Bond: Die Another Day is on the television, and the similarities between the action packed adventures and outright thrill of everything to do with Bond and Just Case 2 are astounding. As you plough through the various areas of Panau, the feeling of being in a Bond movie will be there, be it the over the top explosions, the awesome stunt jumping and grappling between vehicles or the fact that almost EVERYTHING can be base jumped from.

Blow the shit out of everything

It is worth mentioning at this point the sheer magnitude of the Just Cause 2 world. To really appreciate the size and scale of this sandbox game there is no better way than to enjoy it and take an aircraft into the skies and have your breath taken away by mountain vistas, luscious green jungles and the deep blue ocean.
Much like a favourite of Wedotech, Saints Row 2 the entire gameplay area is accessible from the start of the game, unlike Grand Theft Auto, this adds a whole new element of freedom to the game, as it means that as a player you aren’t required to play some boring story filler missons in order to explore and enjoy your environment fully. It’s also refreshing to find that very early on you can buy your own flying vehicle, though there is nowhere to house it so it’s best left to keep it in emergencies if you are in the remote sand dunes or just want to have some general fun. In Just Cause 2 you have access to a fly-by arms dealer whom can provide you with drop offs and vehicle deliveries also. ‘The Sloth Demon’ (who also can give you some missions) provides everything you need through a fairly easily acessible shopping menu system and through him, your weapons can also be upgraded with various parts that can be found across Panau.His prices aren’t cheap though, so watch your wallet.
One of the most satisfying elements in Just Cause 2 is the grappling hook, this handy in human can be used both to track enemies toward you and to access buildings that you never thought possible and of course to propel you across the landscape as a form of transport. The grappling hook is incredibly easy to use and after just minutes of play using it becomes second nature. You grappling hook also has a second feature in that you have the ability to attach one end of it to another object. For instance, you can attach it to your car to take down statues in stronghold missions. For those that love hilarity and comedy you can also attach gas canisters to enemies and see them fly hundreds of feet into the air. The fact that the game provides endless possibilities is one of the main reasons Just Cause 2 is such a fun game to play.

Explosions never felt so good!

If it’s not your grappling hook that you will be playing with it will be your guns. Just Cause 2 delivers adequate shooting mechanics, nothing that will blow you away but adequate nonetheless. One of the biggest drawbacks of the actual game is picking up other weapons. The graphical user interface provided by Avalanche was not the smartest move. You’re often wondering whether you are about to pick up a weapon with more ammo or with more punch and sometimes the weapon you go to pick up doesn’t pick up at all. This can become extremely frustrating when you’re under a high-pressure situation and it’s an annoying element of the game that could have been so simply resolved with common sense. To take away our pain we like to grapple ourselves to a gas canister and let Rico fall to his death in a spectacularly over the top fashion. So much is the freedom in Just Cause 2 that you can even hijack commercial airliners and steer them into offshore oil rigs whilst giggling with an evil glee. Unfortunately not all of Just Cause 2′s buildings are entirely destruictable, and if they had Avalanche had perhaps taken the route of the Mercenaries or Red Faction games, Just Cause 2‘s freedom levels could have been expanded upon massively.
Throughout the game you’ll be working for several different factions. Your job is to help ascertain key infrastructure points for each of your gangs to gain influence in Panau. There is a slight problem, despite working from multiple factions all of the nations feel very much the same. In fact, there are very few missions in the game that provide a real wow factor. This isn’t helped by the artificial intelligence the game is built around. Your enemies are not the smartest and whilst the AI isn’t exactly stupid, once you learn how they react it can be incredibly easy to complete a lot of missions. The missions that do provide a real challenge are the ones that are set against the clock. For example, some missions have you diffusing bombs whilst all without the aid of a timer of when they are due to explode. Just Cause 2 will also not win any awards for the storyline, not only is some of the voice acting in the game slightly dubious but you can be forgiven for thinking you are watching an Ewe Boll movie at times. However as we know good storylines are not essential to making a fun game and in some respects Avalanche Studios are very much treading the line similar to THQ and their effort with Saints Row 2.

Parachute is a great form of transport

Graphically, Just Cause 2 doesn’t quite stand up to the likes of Final Fantasy XIII or Uncharted 2, however, the idea of fun is more driven, with an incredibly short amount of loading time, and barely any notciable pop-in, however, this doesn’t mean to say that the game is dire, as what is needed looks great, explosions, gun blasts, and most of the character models are nicely made and look the part. One other thing in the game definitely worth mentioning is just how well the vehicles handle, flying is a visceral experience and the game world will allow you to pull off death defying stunts, close shaves to the ground and the general sense of speed. Avalanche knew this by adding in side missions to the game that feature races both on the ground and in the skies of Panau. These races range from vertical base jumps to rather leisurely boat races down a river, these all add a nice bit of variety to the gameplay. For those that love achievement points Just Cause 2 has some of the most exciting ones to offer, we don’t want to ruin it for you but if you do decide to purchase this game take a look in your dashboard or cross media bar to get a sample of what is on offer.
What you will get with Just Cause 2 is fun and frolics. Ultimately it is a much richer game than its original release and all of the bugs that hampered Just Cause bar the ammo pickup mechanic have been ironed out. The massive sense of freedom the over the top feeling of liberty and revolution will certainly inspire many to purchase this game, in fact we recommend that you do purchase this game but what Just Cause 2 isn’t, is a triple AAA title. With more work on storyline, a little airbrushing on the graphics and more variety in missions, Avalanche could well be setting the world alight in their third interation of this title. If you are looking for a game to tide you over between the next big hitting release we can think of no better game to give you real value for money and some jawdropping moments. We’re off to the mile high club, will see you later.
Joint review by James Joell-Ireland & Dean Case
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Just Cause 2 Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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