Seething Cauldron of Pop Culture Talk

Irascible Analysis of Popular Culture

Review: Just Cause 2

The original Just Cause, developed by Avalanche Studios and released in September 2006, put players in control of CIA agent Rico Rodriguez as he fought to overthrow a corrupt government that controlled a series of Caribbean islands. The games noteworthy for its massive gameworld and near-limitless freedom. The player was free to do missions as his or her leisure or simply cruise the various islands causing havoc. Just Casuse 2, now set on a series of islands in Southeast Asia which is also under the control of a corrupt government, is very similar in its setup.

Story

Well, the game HAS a story, it’s just not a very good one. Or important one. Rico’s at it again, taking down a corrupt government by helping local factions expand their influence. There’s also something about a rogue agent. That’s the story. There’s a number of cutscenes scattered around that give you some more details about various things that you don’t care about. Overall, the story’s simple and unimportant. You can skip the cutscenes and not feel like you’ve missed anything at all. 5/10, but only because the story exists.

Gameplay

Here’s where things get good. As in the first game, missions are available to you all over the island and you’re free to take them on at your leisure. Or simply roam around and destroy things, get into fire fights, and fly over tropical jungles and mountains. You are given a wide array of weapons, vehicles, and real estate with which to make your mark. Gunplay is a bit weak, but it’s not something that really gets in the way of the fun. It could be better, but it’s not something I’ve been frustrated with too often. The strong point of the gameplay is rolling into some outpost and laying waste to it with whatever weapon you have on you, stealing the helicopter they send out to kill you, and then clearing away anything that was left over from your ground assault. Everything is very seamless in this game and the world is wide open following the initial, introductory mission. The free-roaming nature of the game may turn some people off and the inclusions of scripted missions may turn others off, but it strikes a delicate balance between the two that still works very well. 9/10

Sound

Music is sparse, but changes to fit the mood. Pulse-pounding for action-packed shootouts and moody for those moments when you’re actually sneaking into an enemy base. The massive concussion of nearby explosions and the dull, echoing pop of distant explosions are all handled very well and sound great. Overall, it games that sound good in virtually every facet, barring the cringe-worthy voice acting. But you’re skipping the cutscenes anyway, right? 8/10

Graphics

Simply put, it’s one of the best looking open-world games ever. Even playing at medium settings on the PC, everything about this game looks stunning. There’s no popup to speak of, textures are sharp and vibrant, all vehicles are highly detailed, and the way that shadows play across the 3D objects in the world looks amazing. As stated before, it’s all seamless. You can go from the ground to thousands of feet in the air within seconds and the engine accommodates this move with ease. The only aspect that doesn’t look too hot is the character models, which look a bit flat when viewed up close. It’s not a big deal in-game, but the cutscenes suffer from this. And one aspect that really shines is the explosions. The way they distort the air and fling fragments of build and flames into the air is truly a thing of beauty. There really aren’t too many ways that this game could look much better. 9.5/10

Verdict

A very fun game, there’s really no other way to properly describe it. It’s a blast to play and just run around doing random things. If you want highly-scripted, story-driven gameplay, you’re not going to find it here. But if you want freedom and the ability to play at your own pace in a great looking sandbox, then this is one game you’ll want to pick up.

Final Score

8.5/10

Specs: Developed by Avalance Studios, Published by Square-Enix. Available in North America and Europe.

Advertisements

April 16, 2010 - Posted by | Games, Reviews | , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: