Ridiculous B-Movie: The Video Game
Just Cause 2 brings back that basic idea that seems to be gone missing from some video games today, fun. Throw some C4 onto a motorbike, tie it to a chopper and drop it on an enemy base. These dumb silly ideas that the player comes up with is the magic behind Just Cause 2 and even with the slight bump here and there, it all ties up to tight little package.
Returing from the original, you are Rico Rodriguez., CIA Agent and slick Latin lover. He has been assaigned by the US government to pose as a mercenary looking for work for the many gangs of the little Asian island of Panau. Rico has been tasked with bringing down the rampant facist dictator, Pandak "Baby" Panay to try get this little island back on the side of the good ol' U S of A. Ultimately though, one of this nonsense matters because if even are coming to Just Cause looking for a interesting story with some well-developed characters, you are very much in the wrong place. The story is just nonsense and is only really there to tell you to go blow more shit and cause some chaos.
Speaking of which, chaos is the currency of Panau. If you destroy government equipment, like fuel depots, gas stations or statellite dishes, you earn yourself some chaos. Chaos is used to unlock more strongholds to take over, new weapons and new missions. It is a very clever way of having you blow many things up and get rewarded for it. There is also something quite satisfying with the giant red burning letters of "CHAOS!" appearing on screen. It is very much the bread and butter of the game and there is such joy of destroying a military base using a chopper firing some missiles.
The graphical event of blowing things up is very nice to look at as well. While the first game was caught during the genarational gap of last-gen and current-gen and so it suffered in the visuals department, the sequel is very pleasing towards the eyes. The bright sunlight in the island of Panau pops nicely on the screen and the explosion have a nice destructive look to them. The only problem with Just Cause's visual is that it loses a far amount of detail when looked at closely,
Panau is by no means a small place. It is a huge chunk of 400 sq miles. Travelling around though has greatly improved over the original. Your trusty grapple hook can grab it self onto to anything and so you can easily travel around by swinging over the ground while using your parachute. You can also call in the black market dealer at any time and along with the sale of firearms, you can purchase vehicles and can be extracted to any discovered area of the island. The actual handling of the cars has improved quite a fair bit over the first game but still feels a bit too loose for my taste. The aforementioned grapple hook can also now be used in combat to tie enemies to each other, the ground or nearby cars which adds a little something extra to the combat which works smoothly enough and gets the job done.
Another improved feature from the original game is the infamous stunt position. You can get into this position on any vehicle and you can now move around the vehicle some, but not much, to jump on or to shoot enemy vehicles. You can also barrel over a cliff and jump out at the last moments which is also some good fun. Stunt position is also a handing way of taking down choppers, a task which is usually a pain in other games is something of ease in Just Cause but remains fun. Stunt positon is also combined with your physics-breaking parachute. Grapple onto a chopper, into stunt position, take it over, jump out again and then glide away to safety.
There is a good amount of meat in Just Cause 2 with it decent amount of missions and a whole hell of a lot of races. I beat the game in just under 25 hours with about 35% of the game completed. That could very easily jump up to over 50 hours if you are enough of a completionist to get the 100%. Granted, a lot of that time was spent seeing a military base in the distance and deciding to blow some things up. Which actually says a lot about the game's mission structure which is slighty repitive. You never really got do some really crazy stuff just the same few kill this guy, get this info, etc. There are a few stand out missions but you can have a better time by just screwing around some.
There are a few other things that slow down some of the fun that Just Cause 2 brings to the table. The game is no slouch on Normal and you will find yourself dying on a number of occasions, thanks you to sometimes evapourating health. There is also quite poor mission checkpoint placement which can lead to a few fustrating situations. The game's voice-acting is just awful, which to some it may be hiliarious to go along with the silly story but that strange accent of the Reaper's leader Bolo Santosi can just get a bit annoying.
Just Cause 2 by no means is an example of showing how video games are art. It's brash, over the top and balls-out crazy. It has some things here and there that may annoy you at times but it just shows why we play video games in the first place, to escape reality and to have some fun.