Just Cause 2

Release Date: Out now
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Square Enix
Singleplayer: yes
Splitscreen: no
Multiplayer: no
PEGI: 15+

As I plunge toward the ground at high speed, angling down to gain more speed I spy my target, an unlucky helicopter, as I go past I take careful aim and fire my grappling hook allowing me to swing  round the chopper an dangle underneath it, a quick bit of agility see’s me swinging up into the front of the cockpit before grabbing my SMG and killing the passenger.
I then clamber round and hit the pilot a few times before throwing him to his doom.
Now I’m in control of this bad ass attack helicopter I go nuts on a military base, blowing up fuel dumps and trucks.   Dam, they’ve got SAM sites and I have to bail out at low altitude before jumping into a Jeep and speeding off down the runway and leaping off into the abyss, at the last second before I hit the ground I leap out and open my parachute as the Jeep explodes into a ball of fire behind me…….

I win!

This is Just Cause 2 and what I just described is gameplay, it sounds like a massive blockbuster action movie and thats pretty much what Just Cause 2 aims to be, a no holds barred thrill ride full of explosions, guns and insane stunts with all the plot and story line of Winnie the Pooh Goes Shopping.
You see, Just Cause 2 is a massive open world sanbox game, pretty much giving you a bunch of tools and a massive tropical island and telling you to get on with it and blow stuff up.
It’s blowing stuff up that is the main drive behind the game, as you destroy certain things it increase’s your Chaos meter which in turn unlocks the games main story missions, side missions and more.
It also unlocks new stuff for the games Black Market, this useful little thing allows you to quickly purchase vehicles and weaponary as well as extractions to discovered locations in the vast island of Panau, the playground of Just Cause 2.
Panau is the real star in the game, not only is a vast tropical paradise but it also has snow covered mountains and desert ranges but it’s the sheer beauty of the island that will make you blubber with joy, while up-close it can look a little ropey in places once you get into the air Panau is a thing of wonder, this beautiful, massive island is full of bright green foliage, huge mountain ranges and blue lagoons and it’s all there for you to play with.
From helicopters, jets, bikes, cars and boats the game certainly gives you alot to play with when it comes to vehicles.
It’s also a game for the creative, the grappling hook and parachute combination makes getting around fun, the grappling hook lets you zip across the map and the infinite parachute supply can be combined to pull yourself around while using the parachute.
It’s easy to learn and fun to do, and when you combine to to hijack helicopters in mid air and land on cars it becomes something fantastic.
How about attaching a car to a helicopter with your grapplink hook and then flying up high, letting go of the car and jumping out before trying to grapple back onto the car and surfing it down to the ground? well in Just Cause 2 your creativity is your friend.
You can also tap the B button to stunt jump, on a car this means you climb out and surf on top of it, on jets you clamber out and stand on top as you fly by and helicopters let you dangle from the bottom.
It’s fun to do and leads to some exciting chases as you leap from car to car while doing a 100MPH and firing assault rifles.

this hi-jacking is just getting stupid now.

While Just Cause 2 does over the top action well it’s more of a pick ‘n’ mix when it comes to mission design, you have a usual mix of race type missions which are fine though the car handling in the game is very slidy at points.
Along with that though you have Faction missions, there are 3 factions on Just Cause 2 who you will be working with, completing these and causing Chaos opens up the Agency missions which advance the storyline.
There are some solid missions in there, with 1 mission involving Uzi wielding Ninja’s and being fired upon by an Atomic Submarine and many other missions are fun, but they’re almost all let down but terrible checkpoint placement often forcing you trudge back through piles of enemies again and again, along with this the spawning enemies grow frsutrating as they often spawn behind you in area’s you’ve just cleaned out leading to some irritating fights.
Combat is done in 3rd person with no cover system, effectively making a run ‘n’ gun but thankfully all the weapons feel very chunky and sound great so you get a nice kick from using them, combine that with amazing explosions both in terms of graphics and sound and combat is a fun experiance, though it’s crying out for a cover system.
Strongmissions are also frustrating, as you progress with the 3 different factions you go on Stronghold Takeover missions, these places are used for you to respawn at when you die, now the first time it’s an enjoyable affair until you discover that all 9 Stronghold missions play exactly the same.
They also feel like a waster opportunity, instead of them being packed with weapons and vehicles they are pretty empty.

Dammit! I dropped my wallet.

And now we come to the main flaw, the fly in the ointment, the TNT in the box if you will. The story.
It’s a pretty dull affair that see’s you hunting a rogue agent, but a fairly predictable couple of plots does not do much for the story and it feels rather loose all round.
It also includes some of the worst voice acting to ever assault your ears, in all honesty I found not a single decent actor in there.  Combined with the less than special story you’re not really going to find anything to keep your attention there other than the fact that the story leads to lots of big ass explosions.

I wonder if the ground will be friends with me.....

But thats not what Just Cause 2 is about, it’s a game where missions are not as important as coming up with the next insane stunt, people with wild imaginations will be able to do alot with Just Cause 2 it’s just a shame the game is let down in other area’s and that stops it from becoming a truly fantastic game and instead puts into the “good” catagory, but if you simply want a fun sanbox game then Just Cause 2 stands above the rest.

he's just that cool.

The Good:
-insane stunts!
-Plenty of epic “OMG” moments

The Bad:
-terrible voice acting, please have mercy…..
-boring story
-has alot of litle bugs and glitches.

Graphics: 9
Panau is a beautiful island and the chracters are all well detailed

Sound: 7.5
horrendous voice acting but explosions are great and guns sound nice and chunky! occasional sound glitch as well

Story: 5
It’s very much a “meh” story with no truly likable characters

Gameplay: 8.5
Mission design is hit and miss but it’s a fun game with insane stunts and idea’s.

Lifespan: 9
The actual story is short, but the vast array of side missions, race’s and general daft things to do make this a huuuuuuge game.

Overall: 7.5
The little bugs and glitchies combined with the “meh” story an voice acting take away from the overall package and drop the score by a bit which is a shame, as Just Cause 2 offers a hell of a lot to do for the creative player, but the mission design and checkpoints still need major work

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