Bugs don’t normally give me issues in the real world, only cockroaches, those dirty little bastards scare the crap out of me! But in games it is a completely different story, I get easily put off by a buggy game, Just Cause was ambitious, perhaps overly so, but its lack of polish put me off. The announcement of the second title gave hope that crazy off the bat adventure in a huge open world would be coming to multiple platforms for gamers to enjoy at leisure.
As with the first, Just Cause 2 is set on an Island, the setting seems to fit the requirements for what Avalanche wanted to achieve with this game. The entire area is open from the outset and there isn’t the need for some BS story about why you can’t travel anywhere out side of this area. The geography is varied, with mountains, a desert, lots of water and jungles and settlements. One minute you can be soaring above a snow capped mountain in a jet the next parachuting down to the beach to jump in a boat and zip across to another island.
The pace of the game is as fast as you want it to be. Go in guns blazing and you will be met with the force of plenty of guns, rockets and anti air craft missiles. Stealth isn’t really an option, but a planned tactical approach is. There are the story line missions and side missions that can be completed for the gangs on the island, the main story is put on hold until you create enough carnage to allow it to continue, I suppose you wouldn’t have to do the gang missions if you are just in the mood to blow shit up, play it your way I guess.
Detailing of the wall isn’t as intricate as the likes of GTAIV but the sheer scale and variety make that more than forgivable, when you’re at a high altitude the realism of the world is far more convincing than you might suspect when you first start running around an enemy base. Most enemies look the same, NPCs that populate the world never really get close enough or involved in the action and so as to whether or not they look similar I have no idea. It doesn’t matter they merely act as temporary drivers of vehicles that you will at some point in the future need to commandeer.
Characters in the game, as is the case in many large scale experiences, lack a certain amount of intimacy. It comes across in the voice acting, the synch, the lack of personality, characters of pure passion (political rebels) and little else. The scripting doesn’t really help their cause, the accents compound it a little further as well. Thank god this isn’t some misguided attempt at an epic character driven movie like artistic title.
I only have one real complaint about the game, the other things I have mentioned really don’t make a real difference. One problem with the vastness of this space is that you often have to travel from point A to B, doesn’t sound like an issue, but when the waypoint reads 12km away and it takes you a good 5 minutes to travel that distance in a helicopter with a jet on it you start to wonder if large scale play areas are such a good idea. I got so annoyed with the speed that the planes and helicopters travelled at that I often ditched them in favour of paragliding my way around the game. Putting a grappling hook and a parachute together and passing me the controller is like giving a circus chimp a cigarette, he’s going to smoke it and enjoy it and possibly get a little addicted. It’s almost Crackdownesque in its immediate payoff.
Just Cause 2 is about fun, freedom and grapplechutes, that’s right, grapplechutes. Some people will probably accuse the game of being repetitive, they will be correct in their accusations, you will notice that I haven’t really highlighted this as being a problem for me. It’s sort of like saying that sex is fun for a little while but after the first few times it looses its charm, I can only say to these people, you are doing it wrong. You’ve got to push the right buttons…… I’ll stop now.
I like games that offer an escape, the ability to experience something that you don’t get from real life. I am not interested in a simulator that inhibits me from doing things that I can do in reality. This is where Just Cause 2 shines, I don’t have the means, or desire, to grapple myself to a gas cannister that is about to shoot off into the air and parachute off it before it explodes and free fall my way back to the ground before opening my parachute 5 metres above the ground. Getting around is fun, creating mayhem is encouraged. Just Cause 2 gets a thumbs up from be for being ball to the wall crazy and not apologizing for having some less than authentic voice acting or offering a bad Antonio Banderas lookalike as the lead.