You are Rico Rodriguez, a CIA agent with balls the size of 2 hippos tied together. You got thrown into this island nation called Palau and your primary task is to wreck havoc in all conceivable shape and form. You are given a grappling tool that seems to defy the laws of physics and a bag that pulls out infinite parachutes that break your impossible falls and jumps. Sounds like a bad game right? HELL NO!
By all means the premise and the mechanics of Just Cause 2 spell a bad game but once you get into riding it you are in for one hell of a gaming experience. First, the setting. You are in Palau, an archipelago (kayong mga pinoy na di alam kung ano archipelago mahiya kayo) that has in it military bases, small towns, fishing villages, mountain settlements, airports, oil rigs. You name it, Palau has it. The environment ranges from hot arid deserts, snow capped mountain ranges, white sandy beaches and jungle terrain. And guess what, you can navigate and visit ALL of these settings, every single location… THE ENTIRE FREAKIN’ COUNTRY.
Your primary objective is to romp around the islands doing missions for 3 factions and for your agency. You get missions by getting chaos points. You get chaos points by, well, raining down fire and brimstone wherever you grapple your physics defying hook on. What are the ways to do this? Let me illustrate by citing a couple of things I did to gain chaos points.
- Grappled a motorcycle driver to steal his ride. While doing my Chuck Norris/Van Dame “balance on a bike” impersonations, I hooked on a helicopter passing by and stole that. Using the chopper’s guns, I fired at a water tower and fuel dump inside a military base nearby then crashed the chopper on cell tower and generator.
- I jacked myself a sports car, drove to top speed, jumped on its roof fired a my rocket launcher blowing up a gas station, opened my parachute, got propelled to the air as my car gets hit by enemy fire.
Suffice to say, action is the name of the game, not realism.
The graphics are simply stunning. Albeit the vehicle and NPC textures aren’t that impressive, but the environment is absolutely breathtaking. Climbing up a tower to look over a sandy beach as the water glistens and the cloud cover shifts is simply awesome. We tried grabbing a boat and drive it to the open sea, stopped and looked at the water, the waves. Then just for the hell of it, we jump into the open ocean. Lo and behold, there are corals, seaweed, fish and underwater rocks. The attention to detail is astounding.
Sound design isn’t that impressive but still immerses you into the game. The waves as they hit rocks, the roaring of a jet engine, the cars, the scooters they all sound very authentic, even the gunfire. One thing really impressed me is the attention to detail even on the languages the NPCs spoke. Mga kapatid, may nananagalog sa game na ito. Gulat na gulat akong nakita may nagsabing “HOY BUMABA KA DIYAN!” nung umakyat ako sa bubong ng tricycle. Some speak Thai and Indonesian as well. My only complaint is the bad voice acting by one particular character that sounds soooooooo fake with her accent.
Gameplay in Just Cause 2 is absolutely brilliant even with its loose grip on reality. Infact, being unreal helps in the fun. Infinite parachutes mean infinite jumps over ledges and even out of planes and choppers. The grappling hook makes getting to places easier and even downright hilarious when used on the proper combination of vehicles (i.e. hooking a motorcycle to a helicopter and fly it out). Apart from the bottomless parachute bag and the “hook of the Gods” you can also get weapons from enemies and buy them from the blackmarket. You can also upgrade your vehicles from there as well. So far the best help the blackmarket can help you is when you can them you can opt to have them extract you and bring you to a nearby stronghold you already unlocked. This beats running around the gigantic map, REALLY GIGANTIC map.
As for replay value, how many ways can you think of to blow up one objective? Well, top of my head, I have 15 already. Sky is the limit with this game so replay value is pretty much through the roof. There is no dull moment and each moment you’d want to play differently.
Just Cause 2 is a bit buggy however. You get stuck in the strangest of places and sometimes the physics engine fails (tank is propelled into the air by an exploding grenade, weird). However, the slight and occasional bugs don’t hamper the gameplay much making this one of the most fun games we’ve ever played in a long while.
Graphics – 9
Sound – 8
Gameplay – 10
Replay Value – 10