Review by tacohashi
"Making games just 'cause they can"
Many games have fallen into the plague of realism lately, and few developers seem to take the risk of making completely ridiculous games. Luckily, Eidos and Square Enix; an unlikely combo, have given us a rare gem this year, just 'cause they can.
Just Cause 2 focuses primarily on crazy, over the top action, but unfortunately sacrifices some key aspects of a perfect game.
Graphics: Just Cause 2 is very inconsistent in this regard, the characters are quite ugly, yet every other graphical feature in this game is damn beautiful. Not only that, but an issue that ruins the atmosphere in most sandbox games is non existent in this game. Sandbox games such as Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row load their levels as you progress, which causes a lot of clipping and graphical glitches that can become invisible walls, or just simply look ugly. In Just Cause 2 however, if you can see it, you can go to it, without once having to load anything, it's an impressive feat, and the amount of detail on objects 10 Km away is just as incredible as when you get up close.
Sound: Explosions, gunfire, and voice acting is well done, but Just Cause 2 has a disturbing lack of music, that can really be detrimental to the experience. The voice actors all try hard, but some strange accents and poorly written dialogue is a little bit counter intuitive to the humor it tries to create. For example, one moment early on in the game, Rico is having a conversation, where a grenade drops in front of him, he simply throws it back, as he continues talking in a casual way. It's hilarious. Later on, you have lines about cutting off hands and ***** slapping someone with them, it's all very disjointed, and the humor ranges from clever, to just plain weird. Rico's voice actor himself gives a decent performance, but the writers really screwed him out of making the character one to actually care about.
Story: While story is essentially unimportant in a game focused purely on over the top action, it is half decent anyway. The story is pretty standard for a sandbox game, one main bad company, several factions of rebels to help out for your own ends, but it at least throws a few curve balls, mostly predictable, but it's a nice effort.
Gameplay: This is the games greatest asset. A grappling hook, while completely unoriginal, is utilized so well, you won't even care. There's a million things to do with it, ranging from connecting it to an enemy and then a car, and driving away with the poor bastard dragging behind, to attaching two people together and watching them trip around, to simply climbing buildings. The grappling hook and parachute are both a fantastic combo, and with the exception of a few glitches gives an experience you won't find in any other game.
Another great feature is the ability to jump from vehicle to vehicle, reminiscent of Pursuit Force. This is necessary to stay alive, but also just to look flashy, the options combined with the grappling hook, parachute, and vehicle control gives a lot of depth.
However, the main problem with the gameplay is the vehicles, while numerous and varied, they can be more trouble than they're worth. The cars for example, handle like those in GTA4, where taking a turn at 40 Km will cause you to spin out of control and explode, this is one aspect of the game that could use some realism, not a car with a trunk full of lead.
All in all, the game is average in many ways, but is saved by some well utilized equipment, fantastic environments, and unlimited options for messing around.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 04/02/10
Game Release: Just Cause 2 (US, 03/23/10)
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