Wade Manns – The Corsair
Just Cause 2 by Square ENIX
Genre: third person freeroaming, action-adventure
Rating: Mature for Blood, Drug Reference, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence.
If you’ve read my articles for a while, you’ll know that I really like the Grand Theft Auto series. Not for the actions of crime, or its extreme violence, but rather for the exploration factor. I never know what I’ll find around the next corner, but with this game, as well as its prequel, I am able to rise above and see around all the corners at once.
The amount of verticality in exploration is quite unprecedented in this game. You can take a plane or helicopter up to a seemingly limitless altitude, jump out, and parachute endlessly to the land below. If you’re on land, you can fire a wrist-mounted grappling hook at any time to latch onto buildings and reel yourself in, climbing to new heights, or you can deploy your parachute at any time to get even more height. You can even latch on to cars with your grappling hook, and take control of them whenever you like.
This unique method of parachute and grappling hook mobility enables you to reach any point in the game at any time, as long as you’re willing to work for it. There are even several achievements that you can unlock for getting to various places on the very huge map.
The story, like the first Just Cause, takes place on an island country, this time in Southeast Asia, Panau (the first one, San Esperito, was more Latin American). As in the first game, you are Rico Rodriguez, guerrilla revolutionary and globetrotter extraordinaire. Your mentor from the first game, Don Sheldon, has gone rogue and hidden himself somewhere in Panau. Your job is to find him, determine if he is a threat to the agency for which you work and, if he is, terminate him.
If you remember the first game, you’ll know that the voice acting is really not all that good. In fact, it downright stinks. This holds true to the sequel as well. There are three gang bosses that you work for in order to take over the various regions of the country for their use as well as yours, and the cut scenes in which the bosses appear, while looking very good, are filled with some of the most atrocious voice acting you’ll hear in video games. And Sheldon himself, once you get to find him, is found to have had the exact same verbal tic as in the first game, that being enunciating every single word rather stiltedly and not ever placing emphasis on the appropriate syllables. Still, you learn what you need to learn, even if you have to read the subtitles because you had to mute the sound.
There is a massive variety of terrain to explore in the game, and you’ll see most of it from the air: from seaside shanty villages to heavily fortified military bases, to air bases and seaports, full-f ledged cities, tropical paradises, high, snowy mountains, arid deserts and a certain island with a somewhat familiar ambience; you’ll know it when you see it. Your goal is to cause enough chaos by destroying property of the Panauan government, almost always clearly marked with a white star. Radio antennas, radar installations, surface-to-air missile sites, generators, water towers—all of these fall before your guns and rockets, which you may purchase from the black market, given enough money. From the same black market, you can also purchase various vehicles, some with weapons of their own, and you can upgrade both your weapons and vehicles with myriad weapon and vehicle parts that you find strewn throughout the locations that you’ll explore.
There is a whole lot of stuff to do in Just Cause 2. You can get lost doing (as in, completing the disruption and collection at over 350 locations on the island) various side-missions, but working for Rico’s agency is what pushes the story along. It doesn’t really stick round long enough for you to care about it, but it gets the job done. I’ll give this an 8 out of 10. As I said, the voice acting is not really up to par, and some things that you get to do can be a little repetitive after a while, but I forgive the game. Mostly.