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Thread: Ntruder's Just Cause 2 review

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    Recreational Alcohol User Ntruder's Avatar
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    Default Ntruder's Just Cause 2 review

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    Just Cause 2



    Xbox 360, PS3, PC

    Sandbox Action/Adventure


    Driving? That was soooo 90's. This is 2010, and in 2010 sandbox shooters, we fly. Just Cause 2 is the sequel to one of my favorite under the radar games. The original Just Cause introduced us to a GTA style sandbox action/shooter set in a tropical environment. Locomotion was key in Just Cause. Where GTA players are used to searching for the fastest car so they can drive around in it; Just Cause players take the fastest car and drive it full speed off a cliff, so they can jump out and use their parachute. The parachute is central to the locomotion in Just Cause and Just Cause 2, as is the grappling hook. The combination of the two make for a super agent with limitless levels of vertical and horizontal mobility. Just Cause introduced this concept of locomotion in a stunning fashion, but was crippled with bugs and repetitive content outside the main story. Just Cause 2 dramatically expands this concept, and does so without the problems that kept its predecessor from being a top tier title.

    In the world of Just Cause, Rico Rodriguez, your super agent, has the infinite parachute cheat turned on (up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start) which allows you to literally pull your chute, cut it, pull your chute, cut it, and so on, without any issues. You never run out of parachutes. I know, its not realistic; don't start. Then you have a grappling hook. In the original Just Cause, you could hook onto pretty much any vehicle, which allowed you to steal choppers right out of the sky, and be pulled along with your chute out by moving cars, and so on. Well Just Cause 2 introduces a modified grappling hook that can attach to ANYTHING. Any object, wall, person, vehicle, etc in the game that is made of solid matter can be hooked on to, and your grappling hook with pull Rico towards it; fast! Pull your chute when you are grappling towards an object, and you shoot in the sky sailing along on your parachute. This makes for the best non-superhero means of locomotion of any sandbox game yet. Grapple the ground, parachute, grapple the ground again, and slingshot yourself forward, picking up speed. This means that you never have to run around looking for a vehicle; you are the vehicle.

    The combination grappling hook/parachute sets the stage for an amazing action game; so long as the content is all there.


    STORY & PRESENTATION

    Rico Rodriguez specializes in regime change. This time, its the fictional island of Panau, somewhere in the Asia Pacific region. Basically your goal is to get in bed with the 3 rebel factions on the island, cause a bunch of chaos, and eventually knock off the tyrant president.

    That's basically it. After some introductory missions, you pick a faction, take over a stronghold, then you get a bunch of faction missions. x3 factions. Everything runs off chaos. Destroy government shit = chaos. Destroy enough government shit, unlock new missions/strongholds/agency missions. The Agency missions progress the main story. This means that you can't just zip through the Agency missions one after another like you could in Just Cause 1 and finish the game without doing anything else. This is a good thing, because it forces you to get out and enjoy the island. While I enjoy games like Fallout 3 that allow for lots and lots of exploring, I also like it when the game holds your hand and forces you to see lots of different places; just so you don't miss too much stuff.

    Oh, this is why that is important; Panau is HUGE. Think GTA San Andreas map times 30. I'm not shitting you. It takes 5 minutes to fly across the map in a FIGHTER JET. Walking across the entire map would take most of the day. Here's a to-scale map comparison: http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/8...comparison.png Not only is it wide, its TALL. I took a helicopter straight up above the clouds, ascending straight up for several minutes, until I was convinced that I couldn't get any higher (you can't really tell when you're up that high if you're still ascending, because sadly there's no altimeter), then I jumped out, and clocked a three minute free fall to the surface. Three minutes of falling at terminal velocity. Terminal velocity of a human is roughly 125mph. That's over 6 miles of vertical height in this game. That's fuckin high.

    Anyway, back to the story. The story is a joke. The characters are pretty pathetic, the voice acting kinda sucks, the cutscenes are lame, the mission intro scenes are all virtually the same... Its almost as if it is intentionally crappy; sort of an inside joke. Like they know the game is over the top and ridiculous, and they're just laughing about it instead of trying to make the game all serious. After all, you have infinite parachutes. Its almost as if the developer Avalanche is saying "lets get this story nonsense out of the way so the player can go blow some shit up." Would the game be better with a deep story? Maybe, but it might make the non-serious aspects look silly. Either way, Just Cause 2 works as a complete package. The story feels pretty lame, and the last mission is pretty bad (especially compared to JC1's last mission), but the story is tertiary to the Just Cause 2 experience. Primary is movement, stunts, and the environment, and secondary is combat.

    GAMEPLAY & MECHANICS

    I'm not sure I'll be able to go back to the regular means of movement after playing Just Cause 2. Steal a car and drive across a city? Are you kidding me? Take cover to avoid gunfire? What is cover? In JC2, your grappling hook is key. If you are taking fire, you can look up and shoot your hook on a wall across the room and get away from the enemies. You can grapple enemies and pull them towards you, off of sniper perches, etc.

    One press of the RB shoots your hook and pulls you towards it. Hold RB and it fires the tether; let go of RB while aiming at something else, and now those two items are connected. This means you can connect any two physical objects to one another in Just Cause 2. You can tether soldiers to moving vehicles, exploding canisters, etc. You can tether helicopters to buildings, causing them to crash.

    During one of the early missions, I was riding on the hood of a car, protecting the driver, and being pursued by a bunch of military Humvees. At first, I was jumping from Humvee to Humvee, hanging on the bumpers, shooting the passengers, then hijacking the truck, and jumping to the next one. This wasn't working so great, as its not very fast, and leaves you exposed to gunfire from other Humvees. So I jumped back on the car I was protecting and had an idea.... I wonder if I can tether those humvees to the ground? So I shot my tether to the front bumper of one of the pursuing Humvees, then shot the other end to the ground right in front of the Humvee. Guess what? It does exactly what you'd think it would do; nosedives into the ground and flips it over. Awesome.

    The shooting mechanics are very basic and easy to get used to. Run around and spray the hoards of enemies. Your auto aim is very generous, but bullets and health aren't unlimited and bad guys are plentiful, so you have to stay on the move. Overall, this game is all about the gameplay, and it rules the sandbox shooters. There are lots of games that should be known for being a lot of fun to move around in. InFamous is one of those games. Spiderman 3 as well. Just Cause 2 is up at the top of this category for sure, due to its variety of vehicles and movement options. You can kill hours just messing around the island, exploring, blowing stuff up, etc.


    GRAPHICS

    Panau is a beautiful place, and Just Cause 2 seems to be a technological marvel. It really is a feat to get a game that looks so good to run so smoothy with such magnificent draw distances. It literally draws out miles ahead. JC2 absolutely puts all other open world sandbox games to shame in this category. Even 6 miles in the sky, (provided there are no clouds) you can see the details below. I've never seen a game with draw distances like this before.

    The weather system is another thing worth talking about. The island has dynamic weather, meaning that some parts of the island may have a storm system while other parts are clear. As I mentioned earlier, you can even fly above the storm systems. If there are black clouds and rain, you can literally fly above the clouds to where its clear and sunny. Its really something. The weather and sun schedule provide for just an astoundingly gorgeous game. Just like its predecessor, Just Cause 2 is an outstanding looking game.

    Character models are pretty impressive as well, with the exception of the cutscenes, which actually appear to have worse graphics than the actual game. Rico's character model is highly detailed, and changes based on the weather, water, etc. Enemies, vehicles, etc all have a good amount of polish. And the explosions (there are lots of them) look fantastic as well. You will be blowing up a lot of shit; probably a lot from a helicopter hovering safely above the ground, and they look damn good. There are some really great explosion effects that must be seen to be appreciated.


    SOUND

    Just Cause 1 had perhaps the best soundtrack of recent history; the latin flamenco style soundtrack came in at the perfect times. Just Cause 2's soundtrack is quite appealing as well, although disappointingly, it lacks that killer JC theme song from the original.

    Nonetheless, the sound effects are very good, explosions especially. The voice acting is pretty pathetic... I was upset that they changed the voice actor from your main CIA contact, Tom Sheldon. I always feel insulted when games suddenly change voice actors for characters in pivotal roles... I mean, seriously, you spend 3 years on a game, and the original guy couldn't find a few hours to come in and record some dialog? Also, Rico is a new voice actor I believe, and he sounds an awful lot like Al Pacino in Scarface.


    LONGEVITY

    20 hours to complete the main quest along with a bunch of faction missions (although I still have dozens remaining), and my completion level is at 27%. This game has hundreds of hours of content, should you feel so inclined. There are hundreds of little pickups, a whole slew of small faction missions, and probably a few hundred settlements that can be 100% completed (blow up all government stuff, collect all weapon/vehicle mod parts, etc)

    There is no multiplayer, but Just Cause 2 has more meat than any other game I can think of, short of maybe Elder Scrolls or possibly Fallout? Regardless, a 20 hour playthrough of just the main missions is long by today's standards


    OVERALL

    STORY & PRESENTATION

    9.2


    The story sucks, but its supposed to. The real deal is an over the top mind blowing action game that bangs on all cylinders from start to finish

    GAMEPLAY & MECHANICS

    9.5


    You a game is awesome when you can kill an entire night without doing any missions.

    GRAPHICS

    9.0


    The Avalanche engine 2.0 is really something. Just Cause 2 is beautiful and runs flawlessly, with draw distances never before seen.

    SOUND

    8.9


    Great sound effects, great music, pathetic voice acting.

    LONGEVITY

    9.6


    Boat loads of content, but I would have liked to see more main/story missions.

    OVERALL SCORE

    9.3


    Buy this game. Its not perfect, but its boat loads of fun.


    This image encompasses the Just Cause 2 experience: Grappling up to a helicopter so you can steal it in mid-air


    Oh the fun you will have with the tether!




    Panasonic 65" VT60

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Ntruder For This Useful Post:

    GLOW (05-03-2010), SOBAY310 (04-29-2010), War Eagle (04-29-2010)

  3. #2
    HDJ Platinum Club Member War Eagle's Avatar
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    Default

    Nice review! Looks like I'll be picking this up.

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    Recreational Alcohol User Ntruder's Avatar
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    Everyone here should at least be looking at downloading the demo. Its on PSN and Xbox Live
    Panasonic 65" VT60

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    Super Moderator mytime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ntruder View Post
    Everyone here should at least be looking at downloading the demo. Its on PSN and Xbox Live
    I'll check it out.
    L2W you will be missed.

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