on 23 January 2014
I've played Just Cause 2 for over forty hours which would usually mean I really like the game and would probably give it five stars, however the more I played it the more obvious and annoying the flaws in the gameplay and game mechanics have become.
Just Cause 2 is not a "realistic" game in any sense and does not really try to be, so it would be silly to count that against it. Everything has a kind of comic book feel to it, from the storyline, to the vehicles and the look of the scenery. The scenery in particular is a bit disconcerting at times because distant locations appear far larger and closer than they would in real life but it's all done for dramatic effect.
There's no doubt Just Cause 2 has a lot of good points, like the massive and varied open world, the huge number of locations to discover and "complete", the innovative and very fun gameplay, the very well optimised graphics and the large variety of weapons and military vehicles. There is hours of entertainment to be had just roaming around from place to place blowing stuff up and trying to complete locations. The grappling hook is without doubt the biggest strength the gameplay has, it's been implemented in a way that allows you to have as much fun as you want and to use it in as many different ways as you want. It also makes travelling around and exploring so much easier and more enjoybale.
To me the game's biggest weakness by far is the combat. As i already said the game doesn't try to be realistic but combat in this game is weak and it gets progressively more jarring the more you play it. It really feels like the mechanics of the combat are very outdated and basic and it reminded me of much older games like Goldeneye and Vice City. The biggest issue is enemy spawning. The game basically increases the difficulty as you progress by spawning more and more enemies in a very unsubtle manner. So If I'm attacking a military base and clear one area, the moment I move out of that area enemies will spawn behind me and start shooting at me form there. There is no way to really clear military locations, you simply have to keep killing the enemies you encounter while blowing up the installations and then leave and lose your wanted level. Even when you "complete" locations, enemy troops still remain there and you still get a wanted level if you reenter completed military bases, which really takes away a lot from any sense that you're actually weakening the government's control of the islands, which is the overall goal in the game.
Another annoying part of the combat is that the better the guns you get the better enemy gets, thus nullifying any advantage you might gain from them. Even though there is plenty of weapon and vehicle progression in the game the advantage gained is usually wiped out by harder to kill enemies reacting much more aggressively. It seems the game constantly moves the goalposts just to stop it being too easy, which is a rather poor way of making it more difficult.
While the world is massive and diverse and generally very well created it doesn't really feel like a living world in the manner of Grand Theft Auto games for example. The roads usually have very few vehicles on them and the streets of the main cities have very few pedestrians. It really feels like the world is half asleep or else very underpopulated.
The vehicle and aircraft controls and physics are generally not very good either. Cars have a strange system of turning where pressing left or right means your vehicle sort of drifts left or right after you've pressed it, which makes precise driving impossible. Helicopters and planes are very easy to control but have generally very poor maneuverability, so you can't really get better at piloting them. You're basically as good after the first five minutes using them as you'll be after five hours.
The storyline is pretty nondescript. It's only got seven relatively short missions so it's not a major part of the game really. The characters and dialogue are all pretty one dimensional and forgettable. However I will say that the voice acting of the female leader of the Reapers faction is quite memorable, but only for how bad it is. Her accent sounds like it's supposed to be Indian but you can constantly hear an English accent coming through. I had to skip through any of the cut-scenes with her in it, it was that bad.
Overall I would still recommend this game to anyone who likes open world games, because despite its many flaws it does still offer a lot of enjoyable gameplay in one of the best open worlds I've experienced in any game. However Just cause 2 is also a very superficial kind of game, the gameplay is very fun but it lacks any real sophistication or depth.
on 29 April 2010
Talk about value for money! I've been playing this game for over 40 hours and have still only completed 45%. The concept is very similar to the Grand Theft Auto series, but in my opinion this game trumps any of those games. Whereas GTA is styled on gangster/crime movies, JC2 makes you feel like you're taking part in a Hollywood action blockbuster or James Bond movie.
The premise is simple - you're parachuted onto the island state of Panau, and have to cause as much chaos as possible in order to bring the dictatorship down. There are story based quest, and additional faction-based sub-quests (which vastly outnumber the story quests). Then on top of that, you have a HUGE island to explore with all manner of things to interact with, shoot, maim and demolish. As I've said, I've been playing for ages and am still discovering new things. Only the other day, I discovered a giant, Arecibo-style radio telescope under control of the army.
Sandbox games like this have a tendency to get boring - Assassins Creed is a good example. I love the GTA games, but I never bothered to try and complete them 100%. For some reason, I feel totally compelled to discover every last feature of Panau Island. Maybe that's because the game makers have made exploration so much fun.
Graphics-wise, this really does take advantage of DirectX 10. On my medium spec machine (core i7 920, GTX-275, 6gb ram) it looks absolutely scintillating. Not quite as good as Crysis, but certainly approaching those standards when it comes to the foliage and scenery. And you'll get to see a lot of it, as it is very easy to get around the island using your grapple hook alone.
I took a punt in buying this and have ended up playing one of the most enjoyable games ever. Highly recommended.
on 11 March 2011
You need a reasonably modern machine to run this game (Vista or Windows 7, and a decent DX10 graphics card) but the result are remarkable. At this price (£5.99 on Amazon at time of writing) it's an absolute steal. If you like first person shooters, or even if you are just fascinated by the developments in computer graphics, you should buy this as a treat. The fact that you get around 100 hours of gameplay at such a bargain price is icing on the cake.
Just Cause 2 gives you a complete subtropical archipeligo of islands to explore, there are no levels or loading screens (except for targetted missions) the world is open to explore, with each town village or military base providing its own level-like challenge.
The graphics vary between good (local textures in towns) to true eye candy. From natural scenery and man-made structures of truly massive scale, down to little details like day/night cycles (nightime views of the cities are spectacular) there are times when the sheer visual appeal of a scene from a high-flying plane (or low flying parachute) makes you want to just stop and admire the view. Just Cause is not about realism however, it's about ludicrous (but fun) OTT action, and things like flying a plane into an oil refinery as the start to a day at the office!
It's not perfect, there are a small number of bugs and glitches, but nothing like the problems of early releases some other more well-known first person shooters. It is also dependent on Steam, which is worth knowing as some people have had trouble with Steam. Some of the gameplay can get repetitive, but as a largely free-form game if you don't what's happening, you can choose to do something deranged (like stand on top of a jet fighter for a free ride, or crash a wheeled tank into a gas storage vessel) to mix things up a bit.
Whatever its minor faults, this is a game that deserves to be considered in the same breath as some of the greats, the fact that it seems to have fallen from high-profile visibility fairly quickly is a great shame for the developers, but it means you can pick up a great game at a bargain-basement price which is pretty cool for us customers.
There is an argument that games can be a truly transformative and liberating artform, a way of transmitting ideas and narratives and developing characters in ways that traditional film and literature cannot hope to match. There is also an argument that, whilst that is true, games should also seek new ways of including as many ludicrous explosions and insane stunts as possible whilst allowing the player to go mental with an Uzi whilst dangling from a helicopter. Just Cause 2 is the ultimate exploration of the latter idea.
The setting is the island-nation of Panau, which stretches across a massive 400 square kilometres. For the record, that's thirty times the size of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and twenty-five times the size of Skyrim. It's an absolutely massive environment taking in frozen, snow-blown mountains, burning deserts and lush, tropical jungle, as well as the skyscraper-strewn metropolis of Panau City. Playing as Rico, you can use ground vehicles ranging from tuk-tuks to armoured personnel carriers (via sports cars, bikes and fire engines) as well as a variety of helicopters, boats, jet fighters and airliners. An arsenal of weaponry is available including submachine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, grenades, explosives and Magnum-like hand cannons. Rico has a grappling hook which he can use to grab lifts on passing aircraft or cars (and then hijack them), or ascend to the roofs of buildings quickly. He can also use it as a weapon, pulling enemies off high ledges or - most entertainingly - attaching them to passing vehicles or exploding gas canisters.
The game has a central storyline which is worthwhile enough, with a few good gags and a few satirical jabs aimed at American foreign policy, but it's mainly worth playing for the missions, which tend to be more epic and inventive than most of the game. The bulk of the game is spent playing missions for each of the three rebel factions, helping them expand their territory over larger portions of the maps. The faction missions are enjoyable, but tend to be brief and rather easy. Disappointingly, they also don't overlap. In fact, bizarrely, each of the three factions seems completely unaware of the existence of the others, even when their territory meets. The faction missions also just peter out in the end, with no big pay-off or final mission for each faction, which feels like a bit of missed opportunity.
Where the game's true appeal lies is in its enormous open world. The game scores everything by how much chaos you cause. The more chaos you cause, the more missions, weapons and vehicles you unlock and more unstable the regime becomes. You cause chaos by completing missions but also destroying government property, such as petrol stations, oil depots and military bases. Sufficiently impressive explosions also add to your chaos score. In short, whilst going absolutely ballistically nuts in, say, a GTA game is a fun diversion, in Just Cause 2 it's part of the core game design. To get to 100% game completion, you need to pretty much destroy every single bit of government property on the map (which, given the map's overwhelming size, will take weeks, if not months) and pick up every single upgrade (since there's literally thousands of them, this will also take a while). To make this more achievable, the game breaks the completion score down by location and settlement, with each settlement having it's own sub-score so you know if you have to do more stuff there or can move on.
This is the the core of Just Cause 2's appeal: going crazy and blowing everything up is built into the game design rather than being left as an optional extra, and makes the game more entertaining. Everything else, even the missions, are designed around this idea (so whilst doing a story mission in an enemy base, you may wish to simultaneously level the place and get all the upgrades to put it towards your overall score). This is useful as the main storyline, whilst amusing, is rather brief if you tear right through it.
Visually, the game looks astonishing, even three years after release. The draw distances are staggering, the views of the islands are incredible either by day or night (and at night the sight of the lights of villages on the sides of mountains a dozen miles away is particularly evocative) and the attention to detail is mind-blowing. Each island is packed with towns, villages, remote homesteads, ruined temples and other features of interest. You could play this game for months and still never see all there is to see. It's bigger than many MMORPG worlds (Panau is five times the size of the entire planet in World of WarCraft, for example).
Unfortunately, where Just Cause 2 does break down is repetition. The game world is enormous, but there is a limit on what you can do. In fact, whilst the game world is far vaster than any GTA game, you're still limited to blowing things up, doing story missions or taking part in races. GTA4's attempts to give you more stuff to do through bowling, mini-games etc may have been fairly naff, but at least it was an attempt to give the player more activities to pursue in its open world (something GTA5 sounds like it will improve on further). It's unlikely that many players will get to 100% completion in Just Cause 2 because to do so would involve attacking dozens and dozens of near-identical military bases, exploring dozens and dozens of near-identical towns and villages and base-jumping around lots of very similar skyscrapers in the city, whilst having to painstakingly explore every nook and cranny to make sure you haven't missed a hidden upgrade crate. The game world is vast, huge and overwhelmingly impressive, but it will eventually get a little stale. This will vary by player, and for me it didn't happen until almost 35 hours in the game and 40% completion (accomplished by completing very faction and storyline mission, destroying almost twenty military bases and generally causing lots of random havoc). Certainly there is more than enough game here for your money, enhanced further on the PC version by both the more lush visuals and the impressive multiplayer mode (added by modders).
Just Cause 2 (****) is a big, dumb and amusing game set in possibly the greatest environment ever created for a game. Some might wish for a stronger narrative, or more variance in the missions and locations, but as an open-world sandbox designed for having fun, Just Cause 2 is now the game to beat.
on 4 November 2011
As soon as Just Cause 2 arrived in the post i couldn't wait to start playing it having watched gameplay videos on Youtube it looked brilliant, so i played it for myself and wow what a game, ive been playing it for about 7 hours now and ive only done 2 missions ive been exploring and messing about causing chaos on the beautiful island of Panau, the graphics really are fantastic on this game the cities look absolutely stunning and when i parachuted above the water i actually said "wow" ive never done that in any game ive played! you will need a decent spec pc for example dual core, minimum ram 2gb and if you want to be able to play the game on about medium settings you will need a fast graphics card with about 2gb memory, if you want to have all the eye candy then you will need a pretty expensive machine with the latest graphics card etc also be warned windows vista/ 7 needed to play this game ive heard windows xp is not compatible with this game.
The story feels pretty average for a game of this type but that doesnt matter at all because the exploration and free roaming in this game absolutely blow the story away trust me start exploring the gigantic island of Panau and you will be amazed with the lengths the developers went to creating this fantastic game!
One of my favourite things to do in the game is pulling down the statues of the dictator of the island Baby Panau hook your grappling hook to the torso of the statue and hook the other end to your car and full throttle do this and the island authorities will be on your tail almost immediately shake them off in as many ways as you like, shoot them, parachute away and hide or get into your car pick some speed up stunt jump onto the roof and shoot your grappling hook at your enemys car and the other end to the ground and the car flips over! shooting the front tyre out also has the same effect and looks spectacular.
There are about 100 vehicles to choose from in Just Cause 2 from cars to motorbikes, buses, planes, jets, tuk tuks the choice is huge!
A bit of a tip if you're going to hijack a vehicle with enemy troops in then you must shoot all the passengers before you can chuck the driver out with a combination of numbers on your keyboard.
I highly recommend Just Cause 2 for the bargain price of just £5.10 at the time of writing this review, because of its excellent graphics which look stunning, and the size of the island and the free roaming ability to go anywhere around the massive island with no limits quite simply Just Cause 2 is one of the best games ive played to date and i think it will be unless JC 3 comes out and its as good as its fantastic prequel. excellent game if you have the machine for it and you like outrageous over the top action like me then don't hesitate buy it now!
on 24 August 2012
Please do not listen to anybody telling you saying that it takes a while to get into because if you persevere with the story for a while you can unlock most of the stuff. The makers have made this game very satisfying to blow stuff up which is a skill in its self, this happens INCREDBIBLY OFTEN, the map is massive and so offers plenty of opportunities to explore and have fun. However until you've unlocked teh black market dealer who can take you places it can take a while but this is a minor complaint proportionate to everything else.
It's quite old now but for when it was released they are good, the variety of landscapes and terrain is great. You can drive through cities, jungles, go on all kinds of buses or even steal helicopters or airport planes.
The grappling hook is one of many things that has increased the popularity of this game, the ability to drag a soldier who's been pissing you off from a car you've stolen from the police is ridiculously amusing.
If you don't like the story, there are mods to unlock stuff like unlock all weapons or have no limit to range of grappling hook. The acting is great and the story is really random but please don't judge the game by that aspect because the map will provide you with hours of fun.
It's piss cheap at the moment and just buy it now in a few minutes, if you're worried about having some sort of issue with steam I'd recommend buying it from steam during a sale assuming you have good internet and like millions of other people I love steam overall and all that offers but I'm not here to review steam.
The save system is a little bit annoying but I don't think it hinders significantly the gaming experience. The demo is not great but we're talking about just over £5 here, so I'd go straight in. there are some DLCs available but I've never been a big fan of any DLCs I haven't tried the Just Cause 2 ones so I can't comment on those.
This is a personal preference but I think it's more fun on casual or normal.