Top critical review
25 people found this helpful
Physics be damned
on 5 March 2011
One of the most important aspects of any sandbox game is the freedom it gives you as the player to roam, mess about and cause havoc. With Just Cause 2 , Square Enix basically seems to have looked at this and decided that it will just make that the entire focus of the game. You play 'Scorpio', a predictably tough tough guy who works for 'the Agency' and looks like a grizzled Jake Gyllenhaal (perhaps under the optimistic belief the game will be turned into a movie someday). You are dropped onto a seemingly rather opulent island nation in South East Asia which is ruled by an unpleasant dictator and your brief is to bring about the fall of said dictator or hunt down a rogue agent or something. I can't really remember because, frankly, it doesn't actually matter. After a few intro missions, you are soon let loose to enjoy the true point of the game which is travelling around the truly massive sandbox arena, causing as much havoc as possible.
The storyline is probably one of the weakest aspects of the game. All of it is delivered with awful dialogue and terrible voice acting. The characters turn up, woodenly bellow out their lines in whatever exotic accent they can manage (one actor attempted an enigmatic, softly spoken and dangerous accent one might expect from a South East Asian rebel leader but curiously just sounded vaguely welsh) and then disappear again while Scorpio reacts with utter tough guy amazement at every appallingly predictable revelation. The storyline missions tend to quickly become tedious things which rapidly become chores to be endured to unlock something else rather than something to strive for. Thankfully all these things are either suitably brief or avoidable and you can just focus on messing about.
To make Just Cause 2 different from other sandbox mess-about games, the player comes equipped with a physics-defying grappling hook arm which produces a range of interesting opportunities for mayhem. Using the grappling hook and an endless supply of parachutes, Scorpio can basically hurl himself around the island like Spiderman. Also, like Spiderman, Scorpio can use his grappling hook to inflict interesting punishments and deaths on the endless supply of dictator henchmen. Pull snipers down off high ledges to their deaths or attach annoying elite guards to jet planes just before they take off. There's certainly not an infinite number possibilities but it's a welcome addition to guns, grenades, miniguns and remote explosives.
The game works best in short doses. Despite its gargantuan size, the world can certainly start to feel repetitious. There are no shortages of settlements to disrupt or military bases to systematically destroy (if all else fails, there are the storyline missions) but play for too long and you start to notice the lack of variety. Bases basically consist of the same few things that explode and count towards completion of the base in question. Find and blow up all the things, find all the hidden upgrade crates (which can get tedious), possibly kill a commander and you're done. Settlements are much the same albeit with a different collection of exploding items. The item menus could also have done with better design as they can lead to tedium but ultimately the game remains good fun and well worth the ultra low price you can now pick it up for.