It is amazing what Avalanche Studio has been able to do with their sophomore entry to the open world genre. I have not been this impressed with an open world game since GTA: San Andreas!
- Grappling Hook / Parachute combo: The developers of this game seem to have solved an issue that many open world games have: world travel. Simply maneuvering your character around the world can be so much fun, I found myself enjoying the time in between missions just as much as the missions themselves. I didn't find this getting old for myself until putting about 30+ hours into the game.
- True Sandbox: Many sandbox games give you a barrage of tools and toys to get the job done, but never has a similar game made the toys so accessible! An in game supply helicopter will deliver many of the coolest weapons and vehicles right to where you are! This helps a great deal to keep the game moving swiftly. It also gives the player a greater sense of expression by letting them use what they want to use when they want to use it.
- Races!: One of my favorite bits of the GTA series is the race missions scattered about the city. Just Cause 2 knows how fun these races are and gives you a SHITTON of them! Many of them are very challenging, all of them are super fun! ( see exception below )
- Renderer: The graphics on this game are top notch for an open world title. The LOD switching is fantastic ( take a dive from 3 meters above a lush forest and see what I mean )! I only recalled having one scene that was hectic enough to cause a bit of slowdown.
Didn't care for:
- Freefalling: A handful of the races are meant to be done by skydiving off of a certain building. I was so stoked to do these as two of my favorite things about the game are the skydiving / parachute stuff and the races! The one and two stars range from meh to great, but the three stars are ridiculous. They set up the rings ( the race checkpoint rings ) so that they are VERY hard to hit while skydiving, and not due to clever placement of the rings but due to limitations on how you can maneuver while skydiving. Its very irritating, and exposes weaknesses in the control set up ( in my opinion ).
- 'Meh' Story: You definetly won't miss anything by skipping cut scenes. The story is very tacked on. I did enjoy the fact that almost all of the voice overs had Singaporean accents though ( a bit nostalgic for myself ), but other than that I didn't really look forward to any cut scenes in the game.
- Buggy!: There are definitely a few bugs that made it into the release version of this game. They are mostly mild, but I do recall having to reset my xbox one time during play due to a non-progression bug.
I was not expecting much out of Just Cause 2, it was a Sunday afternoon impulse buy. Fast forward two days and I am on my couch at 2:30 am blowing up as much shit as humanly possible and having a great time. This game is very addictive, and even after putting in ~30 hours I am still at about 40% completion ( I cleared the main mission line though ).
It may not be the most polished game ever released, but it is definitely what good games need to be: fun as hell!