Review by Acdcfantony

"Just Cause 2 shows that even great games can have flaws"

Ah, Just Cause 2. Just another boring, lifeless sandbox game to add to my collection, right? If that is what you thought when you first saw JC2, you are incredibly wrong. Just Cause 2 is by far the best sandbox game that I have ever played, and I am a big fan of the genre. Although I have never played JC1, I think that I can give you a pretty good idea of how good this sequel is, even though I have never played the first.

Story – 6/10

The story in JC2 is lacking, to say the least. It's a jumbled mess that will leave you wanting more. But, what's so great about JC2 is that it does not need a good story to be good! There is just so much to do, so much to explore, that you will not even have time to think about how mediocre the story is.

Gameplay – 8/10

The gameplay in JC2 is by far its strongest point. Not only is it extremely original, it is also a blast to play. The strongest point of JC2 is the near endless use of the grapple hook. Not only is it a great mode of transportation, it is also a great weapon and towing cable. While floating around with your parachute, you have the ability to shoot your grapple and use it as a bungee cord to propel yourself forward. If that's not fun enough for you, it can also be used to pull enemies off buildings and to drag that same poor soul behind your vehicle of choice. If you get your vehicle stuck between two trees you are also able to hook it up with another vehicle and tow it out. As I mentioned before, the possibilities with the grapple are endless.

The reason this section did not get a 10/10 is because of the driving. I am usually able to handle vehicles well in video games, but in JC2, it gets tedious. As in GTA4, you almost feel like you are driving on ice. It is hard to drive on roads without accidentally running into something. The handling of the helicopters and airplanes are perfect though. It almost feels like the real thing.

Another thing I disliked a bit about JC2 is the lack of a cover system. Every time I get into a gunfight I am always tempted to hide behind a crate or a wall, but then I realize that I cannot crouch or shoot around corners.

The missions in JC2 are also quite repetitive, as is the same with most sandbox games. For example, the Takedown missions always consist of you following a technician into the base and to make sure he gets to the terminal alive to hack it. But, when all is said and done, the Pros outweigh the Cons making this game one hell of a blast to play.

Graphics – 10/10

When I first played JC2, I was completely stunned by the graphics. The Island of Panau has so many different climates varying from desert, to snowy mountains, to forests. The best thing about all of these different environments is how a lot of objects can be destroyed, from trees to crates. Your vehicles can also get damaged, not to mention dirtied. If you drive through the desert, you car will be almost completely covered with sand and if it rains, it will be washed clean. Rico can also be dirtied by walking around in the same environments. What I really loved though where the sights that I was able to witness while flying in an airplane. To begin with, the water is absolutely beautiful. It's probably the most realistic water I have ever seen in a video game. Where it is shallower, you can see the bottom which is filled with rocks and reef. I will also guarantee that you will be stunned the first time you witness a sunset in JC2.

Sound – 8/10

Overall, the sound in JC2 is great. You may need to get your own music, because JC2 does not supply you with any. The only time music is played is when enemies are nearby, and that music does not contain any lyrics. I did not really mind that fact since all other sounds are great, from gunshots to explosions. What I did not really like was the sound of some vehicles. For example, I was driving a motorcycle down a hill and once it reached its top speed, it made an incredibly annoying sound. I almost got up to mute the television. The voice acting is also mediocre; it almost felt as if everyone's accent was a bit forced.

Replayability – 10/10

What is so great about sandbox games is that you really get a lot for your money, especially with JC2. There are hundreds of locations to discover and thousands of items to find, not to mention the story and takeovers missions. You can also participate in races, which will take up a nice chunk of time. And when you are finished will all of that, you will probably want to play some more!

To recap…

Pros
+ Many, many hours of gameplay
+ Awesome graphics
+ Endless possibilities for fun with the grapple hook and parachute
+ Explosions and gunshots sound great
+ Many locations to be found

Cons
+ Lackluster story
+ No cover system
+ Repetitive missions

Buy or rent?
This game is one of, if not the best, sandbox games that I have ever played. If you're a sandbox fan, or even a shooter fan, this gem is definitely worth your time and money.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 04/15/10

Game Release: Just Cause 2 (US, 03/23/10)


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