asian2go's Just Cause 2 (Xbox 360) review

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An Amazing Sandbox

 Just Cause 2 is a fun game in all shape and form. Even when the game is being janky, broken, and a lot of times frustrating, it still finds a way to be enjoyable. This huge open world with tons of stuff to do, places to explore and things to blow up, has some of the most fun ways to get around this huge sandbox. Even though the voice acting is terrible, the combat is sometimes frustrating, the story is practically non-existent, and the game is so glitchy and janky and at points broken, its really easy to overlook most of these problems to just have fun in this huge sandbox.

The game starts out with you heading to Panau because the new president is like a communist or something, and you need to create chaos to weaken the government's control, and that's all story you get basically until the end. The story in this game is so forgettable and is not even 10% of the experience. Even if the story is terrible, it gives you enough of a incentive to keep going and explains why your blowing this country up to shit. So it does what it needs to do I feel. You aren't playing this game for the story. If you are, you need to pick up a copy of Persona 4 or some other RPG since you are playing this game for the wrong reason.

The voice acting is atrocious. It's so goddamn bad. It just makes you wonder; how could the developers let this pass? How could they NOT yell “Do a retake of that and make your accent sound less terrible.” when they were recording voice acting. There is so much of it too. Whenever you get into combat or something, you hear this terrible fake accent that just blows my mind. It's not even a so bad it's amazing kind of thing. It's a so bad it makes me mute the TV kind of the thing.

Other then the voice acting, the sound design is awesome. Explosions sound great. The guns have this great punch to them. The soundtrack is fine, nothing memorable, but it fits the tone. Everything about the sound design just seems really smart.

Through out the game, you will be going through this massive island to get to missions, races, and finding upgrades. Unless you want to walk for 3 hours to get to your next mission, more power to you, but luckily you don't have to. You have this grappling hook and parachute that are your main tools to get around. The grappling hook is so much fun to use, and I feel, is the soul of the game. There are so many neat tricks you can do with this amazing mechanic. It makes traveling this huge place so much fun.

 Average day in the Just Cause 2 world.
 Average day in the Just Cause 2 world.
Another crazy awesome thing you can do with your grappling hook do is tether 2 objects together. Which is one of the most fun this in the entire game. You can tether a guy onto your car and drag him across the road! You can tether cars that are chasing you to the road and see the physics get crazy and watch his car do flips or something! You can tether 2 guys together and watch them clash into each other! Dude it's great!
Whenever using your grappling hook, driving a car, motorcycle, or even a helicopter, you can deploy your parachute and shoot up into the air. Which is a great way to traverse, but it add so much fun possibilities. If you want to get a plane and use it as your weapon of choice to assassinate a target during a mission, you can suicide bomb this freaking plane into this one dude head first and parachute out right at the last second at beat the mission, you can! I even highly recommended it!

On vehicles you can also go into “stunt position”. Let me give you a example, when your driving a plane, you can go into stunt position and jump on top of the plane and just chill on top of this plane. You can jump on top of a roof of a enemy car while there still driving and shoot guys from there, and when that car is about to blow up, jump on another enemy car. It's just this crazy mechanic that shows you absolut ely crazy and awesome stuff.

Just Cause 2 gives you all these great tools to just have fun and screw around. That is what Just Cause 2 is really all about, and it knows that. It's not about this stupid story or anything like that, which I love that it doesn't spend much time on the story, which I'm sure was on purpose. It's about blowing stuff up, exploring this huge sandbox, and doing anything you want.

 Damn, explosions look good. 
 Damn, explosions look good. 

This huge sandbox looks great. The explosions look amazing. The crazy large amount of landscape looks great. The environment looks great. Co nsidering how big this game is it's amazing how the graphically performance still holds up without any loading in the open world. Maybe some of the character models look kinda weird, but everything about this world looks great.

Now lets get to mission's and combat and stuff. The shooting in this game isn't very amazing. It's no where near the quality of other s 3rd person shooters like Uncharted 2 and Gears of War in terms of the combat. Wait hold on, I'm not sure thats a completely valid argument. Those games have a cover system and this doesn't, but I never felt a cover system would make the shooting any better.

There's little variety in the weapons. You get the basic stuff, a Assault Rifle, Pistol, Sub Machine Guns, ect, but most of these weapons feel the same. The shooting isn't very precise. You can just hip fire in the general direction of a guy and he will die in a second or two. Which makes weapons like the sniper rifle completely useless since it's way easier to just rush and hip fire then staying back and using accuracy.

Throughout the game you will be working with these 3 mercenary groups that you do missions for and create chaos throughout Panau. To unlock more missions for your factions or the agency, which is your main storyline, you need to create chaos, which is your currency to unlock new missions. To create chaos you do missions, or a more fun way, explore the world and blow shit up! It's a really good incentive to explore the world.

The missions are sometimes frustrating and are repetitive. Every faction will have the same kind of mission at one point or another. Whether it be a escort mission, assassination's, or blow stuff up kind of missions, they all get repetitive and dull very quickly. In most missions, you will be shooting a whole bunch of dudes, which considering the quality of the shooting, and also adding the turrets that are constantly shooting you, helicopters shooting you, and a abundance of enemies constantly on your ass, it makes the combat frustrating. No matter where you go there is always more dudes and you are constantly getting shot at. While you can use the grappling hook and other tools to try to make the combat more fun, there are just so much stuff shooting you at once and the check pointing in the missions aren't amazing it's really easy to get really frustrated.

When your getting moving from mission to mission, you have this great radar in the corner of your screen that detects how close you are to a upgrade. Since there are literally over 500 upgrades you can acquire. You can get upgrades for your health, weapons, and vehicles, but since there are so many of these little pick ups, a single pick up doesn't carry much weight. I'm not going to go out of my way to try to get every single upgrade, you know, since I'm not crazy, but mostly because these little upgrades won't help me that much.

There is so much to do this crazy world. So many military bases to blow up, so much stuff to find, so much opportunities to have fun. It's almost overwhelming. When I finished Just Cause 2, I looked at my completions percent. I only did 28.07% of the stuff in Just Cause 2. That's me spending 20 or so hours just messing around.

There are also these races that you can par take. There basically side quest, but dude there's only races. I don't want to use these vehicles, which are the worst way to traverse considering the grappling hook and parachute, and do checkpoint races with them. I did a couple, and they just kinda suck. The vehicles don't handle well enough to checkpoint races with them.

I wish the game wasn't so broken at points. I've go ne through the geometry of a building trying to use my grappling hook at multiple times and had to restart. The game is also very janky, but I think it takes that jankyness and embraces it. If this game was fully polished and everyt hing worked liked it should, it would lose it's charm. But that's not excuse for the geometry glitches and needs to get patched ASAP.

Just Cause 2 is really fun game to just screw around in, and it provides you the tools to do so. Sure, story is meaningless, missions are repetitive and the shooting isn't fantastic, but the sandbox aspect makes it so easy to forget about all these faults. You can easily spend dozens of hours just messing around. Just Cause 2 is the ultimate sandbox for anyone who likes blowing stuff up, do crazy things, having your imagination go wild with possibilities, and for anyone who loves to have fun.  

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