Review – Just Cause 2 – Eidos – PS3 | Video Games, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, nintendo, wii, ds, sony, microsoft, PSN, XBLA, Onlive, Playstation Vita, Wii U,
Posted by eddierichards on Apr 13, 2010
Review – Just Cause 2 – Eidos – PS3

Review – Just Cause 2 – Eidos – PS3

Cause and Effect

Meet our hero – Rico Rodriguez, ‘The Agency’s most dangerous weapon’. Rico is out to ultimately put an end to a ruthless dictator, whose government has oppressed the island nation of Panau. Not the most likeable character, but he’s very capable of getting the job done. The proverbial one-man army, armed to the teeth and ready to bite.

Just Cause 2 is huge and I mean, HUGE. The sequel to Eidos’ fun but flawed original, Just Cause 2 is an Open-world, or ‘Sandbox’ title, much like the Grand Theft Auto series.  But in comparison to GTA, Just Cause 2 feels far more overwhelming in size, and freedom. Not freedom in the sense of activities, but rather in exploration, and most importantly, carnage!

Despite an arsenal that would put most armies to shame it’s one particular weapon Rico has at his disposal that sets JC2 apart from the crowd: the Grappling Hook.

It’s this device that has you realising just how varied the world of JC2 really is. It can be used to hitch rides on cars, helicopters, jets etc, or to scale tall buildings, or even to grab attackers (you have the ability to hook a bad guy and attach him to a passing vehicle (‘Dual-Hooking’) and watch him fly off, satisfying in the extreme). You can also use it to skip across scenery, in Spider-Man fashion, as the chord pulls you toward your target. You can even pop open a parachute as you zip down the line, to hoist yourself high up in the air, this is a wondrously useful gadget. A nice touch early sees you use the grappling hook to attach a car to a tractor. You can then drive the tractor to pull the car free of its predicament. It soon feels as if this device is only hampered by your imagination, and you begin to wonder ‘What would happen if I did this, or tried that?’ Tying a soldier to a fuel tank, or better yet, a whole petrol station and blowing them up, never gets boring for me.

Talking of blowing stuff up, that is basically your mission here: To blow sh*t up. Dotted all across the massive island are items which carry the tag of the island’s government. Blowing up said items adds to your Chaos score, which in turn will unlock new weapons and missions to muck about with. You can also ‘cause chaos’ by working with local criminal factions to take over strongholds dotted all over the island, or completing the main story’s Agency missions.

The grappling hook isn’t the only gadget at your disposal however, Rico can also commandeer and utilise the massive amounts of vehicles on the island. These range from scooters and Tuc tuc’s to armoured cars, helicopters and even Harrier jump jets. All of which have their own handling characteristics but are all generally easy to use.

When I was first thrown into the game (literally – via parachute) I did find the controls a little bit complicated, but they’re not bad when you get used to them. Quite tidy, actually. However when things got a little hectic I did find myself forgetting them.

Something about the controls and the on-foot gameplay reminded me of Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror on the PSP;  Rico’s controls are reminiscent to that of Syphon’s hero, Gabriel Logan. In fact JC2 seems to draw on Syphon Filter as inspiration on a few occasions. However JC2 takes any similarities and ramps them up to eleven. Except that is, in the story department. It begins predictably enough, with you looking for your old friend and mentor, who has disappeared with a large amount of money, and top-secret intel.  It is an okay tale, and has the odd kick to it here and there, but generally the main story is weak. So much so in fact you find yourself forgetting about it and just going about causing as much mayhem as you can.

As far as aesthetics go Just Cause 2 excels. the island is beautifully detailed and everything looks good whether it be from one inch away or thousands of feet. I’m very impressed with the ease the PS3 copes with such a chore. No signs of glitches or slowdown as you roam around the island, or fly through the air.  Oddly though, the cinematic scenes are very grainy. But I can overlook that, especially as it may be an artistic thing, although why they would do that is anybody’s guess.

The audio of the game both excels and disappoints in equal measure. The sounds of gunfire and explosions feel like they will blow your speakers and the frenetic action on-screen. Yet the old spectre of terrible voice acting once again infests an otherwise competent game.

Just Cause 2 can be quite dizzying, when you think about the scale of it. You’ll be diving from helicopters with a parachute, jumping aboard moving cars, and shooting at enemy jeeps as they chase you down. Hijacking soldier-driven vehicles (in a QTE manner), climbing enemy headquarters with your grapple hook,  rigging a monument to blow up, shooting more than a few enemy soldiers, and calling in a jet to fly you out of there, all in the space of a single mission. The whole game can be seen as a bit preposterous, but if you go into it without any expectations, and with an A-Team frame of mind, you’ll find that Just Cause 2 is great fun.

Whilst Just Cause 2 builds on everything the first game had to offer, it really just does more of the same only bigger, better and louder! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but if the developers could have married a much stronger plot to the action then we could have been looking at a classic.

That said, I’m pleasantly surprised and there sure is lots of fun to be had here. This is kind of what I had hoped for from Capcom’s Dark Void (a game I’ll never mention again).

Freedom to soar through the skies, and tear shit up. Nice.


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