ayanthar91's Just Cause (Xbox 360) review

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I did enjoy the absurdity of the game, but the awkwardness of some mechanics does hinder it.

Just Cause certainly satisfies people that look for ridiculous (in a good way) game mechanics. It is also ridiculous cheap after it came out a little more than a decade ago. I've got it on the 360 for $1, while I've seen it for even less on Steam. Let's face it, even if it provides only one hour of entertainment, it is easy to say that it's worth that amount. However, is the game itself worth playing?

In this game you play as an Agent sent to overthrow a government, as the leader is apparently a dictator of San Esperito, and may perhaps even may have nukes. Sounds familiar? Definitely sounds like regular American imperialism. I found myself turned off by this plot with its pro-imperialist ideals, but upon research I've found that it may even be a parody. I can kind of see it, but I can also see America taking it this far. There's no evidence of the leader being a dictator or evil in any way, and your agency even becomes friends with a local cartel since they hate the leader as well.

This is an open world game. However, I find that there is not enough variety to justify it. All you have are the main missions, settlements to liberate, and collectibles to find. With this lack of variety, I found myself not completing the game, as I quickly got bored of doing the same thing over and over.

The game does have a variety of mechanics, but because of the awkwardness of them I find myself never utilizing them. Hell, I always just used the default weapons since they had infinite ammo and were strong enough to kill most enemies quickly enough anyways. On top of that, you use the direction pad to go through a menu of weapons in real time which I found to be quite awkward. One of the appeals of the game are the stunts and using the grappling hook. However, like I said about the menu, it is quite awkward to access that weapon. On top of that, doing the stunts themselves was unnecessarily difficult for me, so I've never done them.

During the liberating settlements side quest, I also found it quite awkward. You basically have to blow up 3 blockades with either a grenade or stationary explosives. Sometimes the blockades take their time to spawn, and doing damage to them too early won't decrease their health. It seems like you must kill a certain amount of soldiers before being able to cause damage to it.

Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this game is liberating the settlements. You initiate them by talking to a guerrilla fighter outside of the settlement. However, sometimes "start side mission" is the option with the fighter as opposed to "start liberation". I have no idea what triggers this. I find it very frustrating to travel to the settlement only to receive that message. This is the biggest reason why I ended up stopping the game. I also found it difficult to find how to save in this game. I ended up googling it to figure out to save. You do so by going to your safehouses, and selecting the metallic box. Still, I feel like they should have been more clear on this aspect, as it's especially important.

The collectibles tend to be easy to find since they are all on the map. I found myself not caring about them anymore, as there is barely no motivation to collect them in the first place. You do get achievements for doing so, but I feel like they should include weapon, health, or speed upgrades to give the player more motivation. You do receive points for either the guerrillas or the cartel, and with that you increase your rank and unlock stuff, but I find the settlement liberations to provide more than enough points for that.

One thing I should praise is how accessible this game would be for people that are new for shooters. It is third person game which I find most people weary of FPS complain about. It is also incredibly easy to aim. You just have to aim at a general area if you are close enough to an enemy, and they lock on as a target. If you are also looking for a power-trip, then this game may be for you. I never reached below 50% of my health, even when I was taking over military bases which is the hardest part of the game.

This game did have the potential to be quite fun, but due to the awkwardness of the game mechanics I found myself not even being able to finish the game. One can argue that I shouldn't review the game because I didn't finish it, but I believe that criticisms should say how the experience is as a whole. Also, as Ebert said with walking out on films: It's ok to do it if you said you did it.

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