Review by DUBTuner
"Just 'cause fun is what really matters"
"Whoa!". That's the very first thing you're gonna say when you play Just Cause 2, and probably the one thing you will keep saying until the game is over. You'll be amazed at how smooth the gameplay is, and how beautiful the graphics are. This is a true "next generation" experience that many games have failed to delivery. A gem hidden in between the many generic FPS the gaming industry has been releasing lately. Just Cause 2 puts "fun" in first place and doesn't care about a well written story or countless bugs to be fixed in "future DLC".
First of all, whoa! This has gotten to be the biggest world I've ever seen in a sandbox game. The fictious island of Panau, located in eastern Asia, is a wonder of nature filled with huge forests, deserts, snowy mountains and even a pretty large city. In between the many places of the island, you will find over 350 settlements such as military bases, airports and docks, civilian cities and villages, and the best thing is: you can destroy everything. Well, nothing like Mercenaries 2, but given the huge amount of places, and the fact that there are lots of destructible objects, you will be impressed anyways. Although many of the places look exactly like each other, there are still many unique settlements to be visited. The largest city, Panau City, is almost the size of Stillwater, from the Saints Row series, and that's not even half the size of the island altogether.
You can notice Rico's clothes getting dirtier as he walks in deserts or snowy areas, or wet when it's raining. The cars can get dirty as well, and you can wash them if you put them on water. Even the damage modelling in vehicles is pretty well done. There's a day and night cycle, and it's impressive to see the sun rising and setting. My only complaint is the lack of wildlife: there are no animals whatsoever, apart from a few scorpions wandering in the desert or a couple easter eggs. Some people complain about how empty the cities are, with the lack of human life, but I think there are just enough humans.
Music is like your enemy in this game: there's only music when enemies are nearby. Be driving a car or flying an airplane, there will be no music at all. If you can deal with that, you can still listen to the sound effects, which, in my honest opinion, are pretty good. Explosions, vehicle's engines, people screaming, helicopters firing an unlimited amount of bullets right behind you, it all sounds great.
The voice acting is top-notch, and Bolo Santosi steals the scene everytime she's there. Okay, that is not a trusty sentence. In fact, the voice acting is really, really poor, but I think that's exactly the point. First, this is not America and no one here has english as their native language, and second, I'm pretty sure the developers were trying to make this game feel like a "cheesy action movie", and if you think like that, the voices are just comical.
The cherry of the cake, the last potato chip of the pack, the gameplay is the greatest thing in Just Cause 2, and the biggest improvement from the first Just Cause. There are no glitches, the camera works fine, and you fire where you aim. Sounds too good to be true? Of course. I lost count of how many great games were ruined because of their bad gameplay. You'd think a game without the words Uncharted or Metal Gear Solid in its title couldn't play so good, but Just Cause 2 does, and this is what amazes me.
Rico is equipped with the very useful Grappling Hook and an unlimited supply of parachutes. With this combination, you can steal airplanes while they're on the air, climb any building, or even be Spiderman. It is also possible to use the "dual hook" maneuver and tether two things, but it is not as strong as you'd want. Whenever you approach any kind of vehicle, you can press the "B" button to make Rico do a Stunt Jump and stand at the top of it. From there, you can go anywhere. Want to jump out of an airplane and land on a bike at high speed? You can do it. I kept thinking stuff like "I wonder if this is possible..." and it was possible. Everytime I did something, it worked just as imagined.
My only complaint, gameplay wise, is the lack of auto-aim and a cover system. You have to manually aim at your enemy, which can be a challenge at first but you'll get better and better as you play. You can hide from enemy fire behind crates, walls and other things, but don't expect a cover system like what is seen in GTA IV or Mass Effect. If you played Saints Row, the shooting mechanics are just like that game. It is getting obsolete with nowadays standards.
If you are looking for uncompromising fun, lots of collectibles to find, and lots of enemies to kill, you definitely will want to check Just Cause 2 out. The game can be really lenghty, with 7 main missions and 49 side-missions, and the setting, as mentioned before, is measureless, and very diverse. The gameplay is great, lacking on a few factors, but still solid. Definitely one of the best games this generation has seen and a walloping improvement from the first Just Cause.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/29/10
Game Release: Just Cause 2 (US, 03/23/10)
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