Home
Twitter
RSS
Newsletter
Denny Markovic
15 Apr, 2010

Just Cause 2 Review

PC Review | Blowing everything up for a Just Cause.
So what exactly constitutes value in games anymore? Is it the flashy, high detailed visuals? The epic and over the top narratives? Or is it the gameplay? We’re kind of thinking the gameplay here, because after all, that’s what games are made for right? Unfortunately even with this in mind, so many games out there opt for amazing visual clarity coupled with a short lived, decent gameplay experience. It kind of sucks, especially when it’s usually all over in 8 hours, and that was all that the $110 price tag gave you. Some are far better than others and are worthy of multiple playthrough’s, but the average game is usually played once and only once. Thankfully this isn’t the case with a game like Just Cause 2 however, which makes us remember what games and value is all about.

Just Cause 2 follows the story of super agent Rico Rodriguez, who is sent on a mission to kill a renegade friend and fellow agent residing in Panau, a massive tropical resort armed to the teeth by military, gangs and organised crime. From there you...we forgot. Just Cause 2 is much like its predecessor, Just Cause in that the story is incredibly forgettable and fairly uninteresting. But while the original was wasted potential and really only had the story to stand on, Just Cause 2 uses the story and missions as more an excuse to do utterly ridiculous stunts and cause as much chaos as humanly possible.

The game is structured in that in order to progress further and unlock the story missions, you need to do missions for one of three gang factions, or just go around destroying everything you see in fancy ways. This gives you chaos points, which eventually unlock more story missions, faction missions and items to buy in the black market (and money is unsurprisingly earned by destroying things too). 90% of the time, we went with just doing whatever we wanted and explored, as the chaos that can be caused is simply spectacular amounts of fun, but we’ll give the faction missions some props in that it can really help bolster extra chaos, currency, and dare we say it, some sense of proper progression.

...as you do.

...as you do.
Close
But alas, regardless of the plethora of options you have, most of the time in Just Cause 2 is spent playing around in the world and going ballistic, and you’re outfitted extremely well for this. Rico is the kind of guy that can hijack a plane in mid air just because he can, and parachute out of a car just before it collides with another and land completely unscathed. Realism is thrown out the window in favour of total exaggeration, but considering how much amazing fun can be had with it, we’re certainly not complaining.

This is also further enhanced by what we consider to be one of the most awesome additions to an arsenal in any game ever: the grappling hook. While its basic function allows you to grapple onto walls, cars and helicopters from a long distance and hijack them, the best part about it lies in its ability to tether things together, which seems to have near limitless possibilities. Tether a soldier to a tank of compressed air, then fire upon the tank; watch him fly off into the stratosphere screaming. Tether a car to a large helicopter and use it as a wrecking ball. Tether a human to a jet and fly away, with him in the background swinging about, probably scared beyond measure. It’s ridiculous and completely unrealistic; but it never gets old or ceases to be fun.

And that is ultimately the kicker for Just Cause 2. While the story missions and such are usual point-A-to-point-B structures and can be fairly uninventive in their scripting, it’s the feeling of total freedom and ability to do some insane stunts that makes it very much bearable. This can also be done without ever following the story in your life, so you never feel obligated to follow a linear pathway; a true expression of freedom in the game. Panau is absolutely enormous as well, with hundreds of things to collect, destroy and find, so it’ll take a very long time before the random exploration and destruction starts to feel a little dull.

Yankin' yer chains.

Yankin' yer chains.
Close
The crazy action and stunts of the game are also complimented very well by the game’s engine, which is both technically impressive and very beautiful to look at. Colour is everywhere and gives the world a vibrant feel, and the scale and draw distance is breathtaking at times. Textures are quite nice and very diverse as well, so things never feel quite as copy paste as you’d imagine something of this scale would be. The world has a very nice lighting engine behind it too, with full global illumination and dynamic lighting all over the place, constantly changing depending on time of day. It’s just a very well rounded and pleasant game to look at, with both the 360 and PS3 versions running smoothly with little difference in between, and the PC version blasting ahead with extra visual effects such as Ambient Occlusion and much higher texture detail. It’s also quite well optimised, with our high end setup sporting a Q6600, 4GB DDR2 RAM and Radeon 5850 smoothly running the game maxed out at a panoramic resolution of 5040x1050, so PC gamers and in particular the enthusiasts are in for a very nice and smooth visual treat when they load the game up on their setups, as it’s the definitive version if you can have it running.

To describe Just Cause 2 briefly; we’d call it the ultimate value for cheesy entertainment. It never seems to try hard in taking itself seriously, with over the top stunts, so-bad-it’s-good dialogue and over-exaggerated (but strangely fitting) voice acting. It makes you feel like you’re in some kind of B-grade action flick, but you’re the stunt co-ordinator and stunt man at the same time, and you’re never inclined to turn the telly off because it’s just too much fun. We harked on about what exactly constitutes value at the beginning of this review, and if we were to name one game so far this year that will definitely give you much more than your money’s worth, it’s Just Cause 2. A highly recommended purchase and a game that lets you finally surf jets.
The Score
Just Cause 2 reminds us why we play games in the first place: to have an utterly ridiculous amount of fun, and to surf jets because it's possible.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Just Cause 2 Content

Double DLC on the way for Just Cause 2
24 Apr, 2010 Rico gets some new toys.
Just Cause 2 to include YouTube
23 Jan, 2010 PS3 users able to record their zany stunts and post them to YouTube.
New Just Cause 2 trailer
21 Dec, 2009 Rico wrecking Panau.
13 Comments
4 years ago
"It's also quite well optimised, with our high end setup sporting a Q6600, 4GB DDR2 RAM and Radeon 5850 smoothly running the game maxed out at a panoramic resolution of 5040x1050..."

Show-off lol. Nice review.
4 years ago
Looks good. I'd probably pick this up now if I didn't already have 4 or 5 other games to play through. Might pick this up at some point in the future.
4 years ago
Add a whole point and you have my score for the game.
4 years ago
Sweet, was wondering how it ran on PC, I've also got the Q6600 so it should be pretty similar on mine too. Certainly sounds like an improvement from the last game.
4 years ago
Gamesta wrote
Add a whole point and you have my score for the game.
Really? I'm nearly 5 hours into the game now, and my score would be leaning towards a 7 at best.

Aside from being a nice playground to muck around in with some fun tools and such, the game around it is pretty poor - AI is nearly non-existant, and the devs clearly fell back on that old chestnut 'who needs AI when we can make their bullets hit harder and yours barely at all?'. That really bugs me, as you're set up with all the tools to create some fun skill-kills, but when half an army spawns next to you every time you turn around, and despite your best efforts they'll soak up half a clip each (forget going for headshots, these guns are about as accurate as a sideways drunk having a vom), you just don't get that luxury.

Then there's the sheer vastness of the game. Impressive, to say the least! But where the fuck is the incentive to play through it? Sure, I could collect all 300 hidden trinkets... but why? There's no real reward for it. I could hunt out each and every last sabotage item and 'splode them... but again, why? It really is obscene. There's the perfect opportunity to give playes incentive to do all these things, with unlockable rewards and similar, but there just doesn't seem to be any of that.

Again, I've only scratched the surface of this title, but it really does look like there isn't much underneath. All those weapons I can unlock? I can find them within the game. Those vehicles? Same deal. There's no incentive in earning things that you can wander out and grab for free.

Please, please tell me that there's stuff in there that makes it all worthwhile? I mean, don't get me wrong (I know this sounds harsh) - I really dig the wacky shit that this game lets me do... I just fear that after a few more hours I'll grow tired of 'just fucking around' and want to actually play through the game... only to find out that there's no reason to, and that I've paid a premium for only a few hours gameplay.
4 years ago
While i'm really digging the game Karai, I agree with what you are saying.

There needs to be a reward for doing stuff.

Collecting all the skulls for example. They claim that there are 'magical' powers within, yet you get nothing for collecting them all. It would be good if you got some sort of item or power for collecting them all.

There are simply too many items too collect for nothing but a achievement/trophy.

Saying that, i'm digging the game still, mindless fun but the third one could truely be amazing if they fixed these issues and added more to the game.
4 years ago
Karai Pantsu wrote
Gamesta wrote
Add a whole point and you have my score for the game.
Really? I'm nearly 5 hours into the game now, and my score would be leaning towards a 7 at best.

Aside from being a nice playground to muck around in with some fun tools and such, the game around it is pretty poor - AI is nearly non-existant, and the devs clearly fell back on that old chestnut 'who needs AI when we can make their bullets hit harder and yours barely at all?'. That really bugs me, as you're set up with all the tools to create some fun skill-kills, but when half an army spawns next to you every time you turn around, and despite your best efforts they'll soak up half a clip each (forget going for headshots, these guns are about as accurate as a sideways drunk having a vom), you just don't get that luxury.
You are actually the first person from forums to play the game I have heard who has said the game is worth any less than 9.Well apart from the review anyway.


But you are the second person to say that shooting is hard/crap.I find the shooting some of the easiest shooting ever.I can pull of headshots left right and center.I only have probably 45% headshots but I could easily make that percentage much higher if I wanted to.This game ranges from easy to bloody hell this game is too easy with the occasional holy hell they annihilated me.
I'm guessing you don't use aim (can't think of the right term) because that's how you pull off loads of headshots.



element465 wrote
While i'm really digging the game Karai, I agree with what you are saying.

There needs to be a reward for doing stuff.

Collecting all the skulls for example. They claim that there are 'magical' powers within, yet you get nothing for collecting them all. It would be good if you got some sort of item or power for collecting them all.

There are simply too many items too collect for nothing but a achievement/trophy.

Saying that, i'm digging the game still, mindless fun but the third one could truely be amazing if they fixed these issues and added more to the game.
The rewards are upgrading weapons, vehicles and health.You spend vehicle and weapon parts to upgrade speed, armour, ammo count, rate of fire etc. The shields automatically upgrade your health every 5 shields and It looks like you end up getting 2 health bars.
4 years ago
That's not rewarding - that's just using the upgrade system, which is a core element of the game. Hell, you can barely look around you without tripping and falling into a handful of those pickups.

Yes, I use the 'zoom' function - but for the most part I find it fairly pointless. In the time you spend bringing it up and focusing on their head area, you could have just pointed your gun at them while running, emptied bullets into their torso, and been shot less in the process.

I find that I have to spend most of my time finding ways to avoid bullets, rather than focusing on dispatching enemies - and with their turbocharged spawning system, usually it's better to run and hide with the aim of finding a vehicle, rather than staying on foot and trying to kill your way out.

I'm playing on Experienced, for the record, and while I'm not going to claim to be a supergamer, I'm certainly no slouch.

Anyway, I am enjoying my time with the game - it just irritates me to no end the amount of wasted potential in it, not to mention the sheer laziness of a lot of it.

Edit: Also, 9? Seriously? That's a joke. I think 8 and a half is overly generous. 7 1/2 is a realistic score, I think. Seriously, this is on par with Mercs 2 in terms of quality (although I think the shootery was better in that), and that sits happily on 72 when looking at Metacritic.
4 years ago
I give it 9.5/10 because I find the game rediculously fun and mostly just as easy.I find the action insane and much more fun and less of a hassle than you seem to find it and I'm playing the game on Hardcore.Strangely I'm nearly alwasy the one sitting back and thining every game I play is much harder than everyone else is finding it.This game is awesome to me because I find it easy to kill 30 enemies on foot, maybe get on a car and blast enemies from on top or pop out the left or right side to blast people on bikes or grapple my way up to a heli, shoot out the passenger, hijack the heli have a heli fight, hijack another heli or drop back to the ground where I put another 20 bullets into enemies heads.Maybe you're playing it too much like a standard 3rd person shooter, I don't know but I don't find the game nearly as bad as you seem to.


Honestly the only time I really had to play like you say for too long an amount of time was when I went for the 50 perfect kills of which I ended with 106 even with abandoning the hide and recover method after the first 50 as I had got th etrophy and no longer required to go for perfect kills but I still ended up with far more perfect kills than I expected.Aiming, rolling, grappling and sometimes running makes this game almost too easy I would say at least 50% of the time.


I have finished the main game so I have 5 alert levels but still find it easy to kill 50 enemies then lose the alert levels.


But really they aren't the only praises I have for the game.The water for one to me is so damn good that I jump into the ocean and I feel like not only my game avatar just ented the ocean but I myself jumped in the ocean as if I WAS Rico.The same with entering a huge forest and hearing the (invisible) wildlife.Plus the awesome lighting is part of that.


I played the demo of this 5 times which is almost unheard of these days.The demo made it an instant purchase for me.


Just wanna make sure you know I'm not trying to make it sound like I think you suck or that I'm great, I just find the game to be completely different to you.I'm not always the best wording things.
4 years ago
Yeah, I just had a session with the intention of proving you wrong (to myself) and realised what my problem was. Like you I played the demo over and over - but I guess it was set to easy, because you pretty much couldn't die unless you were doing something exceptionally stupid. So I got used to just fucking around in the middle of gunfights and not actually trying to kill people - a habit I seem to have taken over into my full playthrough.

After starting to pay attention to what's happening around me, and actually engaging in the gunplay, I'm finding it much more palatable.

I still find it lacklustre, but I'm swinging away from 'hard'.
4 years ago
It seems to be the people that play it a little too much like a normal TPS that seem to find it far less fun than others.


This seems to be a game that you have to be creative to make it fun.When I first started playing the full game I also thought it was far more boring than the demo.But that was because to start off with at least, you really have to play it too much like a standard TPS and as a standard TPS the game IS boring.


You need to use your imagination and take things out of the norm to really appreciate this game.
4 years ago
Karai Pantsu wrote
I'm playing on Experienced, for the record
Well, there's your problem. To me, at least, this isn't a game you play when you want a challenge; there are plenty of other games with much tighter combat systems. Just Cause 2 doesn't feel like a third person shooter to me, it feels like an 80s action movie simulator. It doesn't have a cover system because 80s action heroes never get hit when they stand out in the open, every enemy takes a dozen bullets to the chest because how often do people only get shot once in 80s action movies?

My only complaint with the game, if I had to come up with one, is that it doesn't take this idea far enough. Rico occasionally falls over and doesn't get up when he imbibes too much lead. And he does so quite often on the higher difficulty modes. This doesn't jive with my concept of Just Cause-y goodness. I unashamedly chose Casual when I started up the game, and I've never regretted it for a second. Every now and then I use BOLOpatch (unlimited health and ammo at the touch of a button), because I refuse to wrap my head around the concept that I can fail a mission due to being shot a few too many times. Not in my Just Cause, thankyousoverymuch.

Taking away the threat of dying and having to reload checkpoints allows the true brilliance of the game to shine. When you don't have to worry about standing in the open with a dozen duders killing you up your mind is free to contemplate all the crazy shenanigans that are well within your reach. I firmly believe the game should have shipped this way; not every game needs a Game Over screen.
4 years ago
Haha, I dig =)

The more that I play it, the more I find myself having cause to go 'Ha!' out loud and grinning - but I still can't help but envisage what it could have been.

Also - why in the hell couldn't they have tightened up the wheel based transport since the first? It feels slightly less like you're driving across black-ice constantly, but only by a small margin.

Still, finally realising that you can wrench a mounted chaingun off it's pivot and tank around with it has made me look past many of my gripes icon_razz.gif
Add Comment
Like this review?
Share it with this tiny url: http://palg.nu/3ZC

N4G : News for Gamers         Twitter This!

Digg!     Stumble This!

| More
  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  1/4/2010 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $79.95 AU
Publisher:
  Namco Bandai Partners (Atari)
Genre:
  Action Adventure
Year Made:
  2008

Read more...
Currently Popular on PALGN
Australian Gaming Bargains - 08/12/11
'Tis the season to be bargaining.
R18+ Legislation
R18+ Legislation
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations Preview
Hands on time with the game. Chat time with the CEO of CyberConnect 2.
PALGN's Most Anticipated Games of 2007
24 titles to keep an eye on during 2007.
PALGN's Most Anticipated Games of 2008
And you thought 2007 was populated.