Just Cause 2 Review

Posted: January 10, 2011 in Review
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Just Cause 2 Review

With open world games getting bigger and bigger everyday, it would seem the very idea of an ‘upper limit’ is becoming a thing of the past. Just Cause 2 sets a new gold standard for scale and it’s perhaps the largest game in open world history because it doesn’t believe in limits.

The game world is utterly enormous, with over fifty square kilometres of the fictional tropical island of Panau stretched out to absurd levels of detail. There’s the usual tourist spots – casinos, unspoilt beaches, etc – more native locations, like jungle-covered temples, villages hidden in the trees and so on, and massive cities that are the size of some whole games. There’s even a space centre with a working launch. On top of this is the ‘no upper limit’ that the game’s box bleats on about, where you can take an aircraft as high as you want to go. Add to this fact that you are encouraged to do things however you like with the double feature of possibly two of videogaming’s greatest items – a grappling hook and a parachute – and you have a world that feels alive, unique and teeming with fun possibilities, but also one that seems exclusive to you.

The plot revolves around going to Panau and taking down a mad dictator, which is just about reason enough to get stuck into the game’s main offering – blowing shit up. The game encourages you to ‘cause chaos’ in order to destabilise the regime and unlock new missions, but it’s simply mindless chaos for the sake of making things go boom. The crazy part is that this simple objective is bloody good fun and only starts to get old towards the game’s end.

You can do absolutely anything in this world. Being chased by a car? Why not grapple hook onto your roof and shoot them? Better still, why not grapple hook onto their car, shoot them all and then steal their vehicle? The same rule applies with helicopters. Hours of fun can be had in the skies of Panau, chucking oppressors of the people out of their helicopters and then commandeering them for some more explodey fun.

While the story missions aren’t particularly long (there are only seven), the game’s running time is padded out by carrying out jobs for the three factions on the island. These missions are often quite similar to each other, with each leader asking you to go somewhere and blow something up, or occasionally help the footsoldiers storm a military compound to create a new fast travel point for yourself on the map.

You can call in help at any time from a mysterious individual who will drop weapons, ammo and vehicles for you (even in the middle of a gunfight) and fast travel you to another point on the map. Even then it’s all about the player’s fun, as you’re dropped out of the plane as it nears the destination. Just Cause 2 is a game that wants the player to have the biggest, most ridiculous Hollywood gaming experience available and it succeeds so easily on this point that it’s scary.

There are some irritations, however, that conspire to hamper enjoyment of the game, though. There are a number of audio bugs throughout the game as well as the occasional graphical glitch. Nothing as appalling as pop-up, thankfully, but it’s still pretty noticeable. Perhaps the worst glitch that occurred in the review playthrough was one that made one of the factions disappear from the map, effectively barring access to a third of the game’s content. Fortunately, such a thing is not common and nothing that bad ever happened again.

Just Cause 2 is probably the biggest, silliest, most fun open world game ever made. While it might get repetitive by the end, it’s still extremely enjoyable up until then. If you’re not daunted by the size of the world or by how much freedom you’re given, this just might become your new favourite game.


  1. Alex says:

    Well this is shiny adam! Nice bit of personal branding going on here!

    Lets see, two column design, sans serif font, use of clearly delineated sections with art and fonts…. 8/10 mate.

    Now all you need is a logo, streaming webcasts, some downloadable word or pdf documents of your work and some posters of yourself in movie poses.

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