Just Cause 2 - Xbox 360

Game Description:Rico Rodriguez returns in a brand new adventure that features an even more expansive virtual playground than its predecessor. Traverse the 1000 km island of Panau on foot, in dozens of vehicles, or parachute into its various geologically disparate sections ranging from mountain tops to rain forests to deserts. Pull off amazing acrobatic stunts as you move fluidly from ground to air with the help of your trusty grappling hook. Tackle objectives in whatever order you see fit, and approach all challenges in unique and varied ways thanks to the game's open-ended design.
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Just Cause 2 Impressions

Just Cause 2 Impressions

By Jake Gaskill - Posted Nov 13, 2009

Avalanche Studios’ third-person action-adventure shooter Just Cause certainly had its issues (see X-Play’s review for a brief refresher), but it’s tropical setting, highflying acrobatics and over-the-top stunt mechanics gave the game a unique identity and style, even if the gameplay and writing left plenty to be desired. With Just Cause 2, Avalanche is looking to expand and improve on every aspect of the previous title, and based on my brief time with the game, the result is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Franchise protagonist and CIA black ops badass, Rico Rodriguez, is back, and this time, instead of attempting to overthrow the dictator of fictional nation San Esperito, Rico finds himself on an assassination mission to take out his former commanding officer, Tom Sheldon, who has nabbed cash and valuable intel from his former employer, the Agency. Rico tracks Sheldon to an island called Panau, which is run by a dictator named Baby Panay, and also happens to be torn apart by a violent three-faction gang war.

One of key narrative forces in the game is its Chaos system, which Rico will use to coerce the warring factions to help him overthrow government strongholds, and expand his influence over the various sections of the island. Raising the Chaos level can be achieved in countless ways, thanks to the insane amounts of activities and objectives there are to complete, which include everything from blowing up installations, hijacking vehicles, assassinating high-ranking officials, and so on. You can complete these mini-missions in any order or combination, which means you’re in complete control over how the events of the game unfold.

The world of Just Cause 2 is simply massive. The map is a cool 400 square miles (not counting elevation), and contains all manner of environments (snowy mountains, beaches, deserts, etc.), and you can travel across the entire thing without a single load time (outside of mission induced ones). During my hands-on time, one of the developers commented that the game map is roughly the size of a small crater on the moon. In short, this is one of the largest sandbox environments you have ever seen.

Let’s Go Grapplin’

Dynamic, fast-paced, explosive shootouts with tactically sophisticated enemies are at the heart of the game’s combat. The first of the two missions that I had the chance to play through started off as I hurtled myself off a sizable cliff, and gently parachuted down to a small village below. While gliding through the air, I pumped a few rounds in some giant gas tanks, causing them to erupt in giant fireballs. Upon landing, I quickly used my Batman-ish grappling hook to pull myself up to the top of a building to give myself a better vantage point from which to pick off the converging baddies, before heading to my objective and blowing it all to hell.


A quick note about the game’s all-new grappling hook mechanic: it’s awesome. Not only can you use it to pull yourself to any surface (or pull any movable object towards you), you can also use it to pin objects to each other. For example, you can stick an enemy to a pressurized canister, shoot the canister and send the guy rocketing into the air. Also, by using the grapple hook while your parachute is open, you can glide along indefinitely, assuming you have a surface to grapple and use to propel yourself. The grapple can also be used in combat, like when I hooked an enemy by the chest, and as he floated in the air, I unleashed a steady stream of automatic machine gun fire, sending the poor sap cascading through the air in a cloud of red mist.

For the second mission, I had to hack a computer terminal housed inside a heavily guarded industrial compound. Along the way, I found myself engaged in a high-speed chase/shootout with several enemy vehicles. Thanks to the game's super smooth stunt and grapple mechanics, jumping between vehicles is a snap, and so satisfying. But once you land on a vehicle, that’s when the gameplay really opens up, because you have tons of options in terms of not only how you take out the enemies behind the wheel, but the vehicles themselves.

From the hood of a car, Rico can do a number of different kick-ass things: shoot enemies that are hanging out of windows, plant explosives on the hood and jump away before the car explodes, climb onto the back or front of the car Indiana Jones-style and pick guys off or shoot out tires, grapple enemies from one car to another car and watch as they are pulled out of the car and dragged to their deaths, or, once all the enemies have been dispatched, simply hijack the vehicle and drive it yourself.

The variety of gameplay and the fluidity with which it’s all delivered took me totally by surprise, and it’s these elements, combined with the staggering scope of the game’s environments, that could truly make Just Cause 2 stand apart from the pack when it’s released next year.

Comments are Closed

  • jdlong0902

    The first game was not good...I took it back to the store three hours after buying it! But JC2 is looking to be promising. I have watched/read every preview there is on this game, and so far, I am impressed. There are a lot of options to each situation in the game...like any other sandbox, but being able to manuever around on the top of a vehicle alone is cool. I am looking forward to testing out how high the ceiling is, and floating down to a gun battle with the parachute. I think if you like fun games...this will need to be in your collection. I know it will be in mine!

    Posted: February 5, 2010 1:37 AM
  • Shockwave562

    first game was terrible but there does seem to be vast improvements here. I'll think about it pending good reviews

    Posted: November 18, 2009 10:53 AM
  • B1ack_Blob

    Im glad they focusing more on the grappling hook and parachute now, thats what made the first game so damn fun. I hope that they improve the other mechanics though, like those horrible cutscenes.... oh god those horrible cutscenes.

    Im gonna have to call this a sleeper hit. :]

    Posted: November 18, 2009 6:57 AM
  • ianmarvinchua

    this game is weird see how he sshoots people with no feelings at all bad game as u can see the wide open space but little enemies poor poor game

    Posted: November 17, 2009 7:45 AM
  • Viccar

    For the longest time we have seen the same old similar drop-off/pick up, chase down/escort, defend/assassinate levels within the missions of the varied assortment of similar "open world" or "sandbox" tittles; by giving us inventive ways to do these GTA/Mercenaries style missions, Just Cause 2 might just cause me to purchase it.

    In my opinion the first game was (to put it mildly) horrible, but this looks like a solid game. I can see where it might start to get repetitive, but with it's over the top acrobatic car-jacking, magical parachute, and pretty graphics, I don't think I would mind mind playing until that occurred.

    The grapple-fu looks sick, the stunts look sick, and the graphics (of course) look sick; I'm hoping it will all add up. If it does, we might be seeing the emergence of a new super tittle... Exciting yes?

    Posted: November 17, 2009 4:33 AM
  • Quanstan

    So it's basically Bionic Commando in a tropical setting?

    Posted: November 16, 2009 7:48 PM
  • ZoMbIEx23x

    CaN i HAZ grapplING hooK? So mAny ThINgs I want to Bind TogeThERZ. :D

    Posted: November 16, 2009 2:36 PM
  • the_azure_knight

    I read that the ps3 version will have exclusive content that will allow you to capture 30 secs of video in the game and then you will be able to upload the video content to youtube which by the way sounds freaking awesome

    Posted: November 16, 2009 1:05 PM
  • Fuzion9

    i wish this was a summer release so i didn't have to decide between this and games like MAss Effect 2

    Posted: November 15, 2009 9:03 PM
  • wyotee

    it reminds me of mercenaries 2 but it dosent suck

    Posted: November 15, 2009 7:29 PM
  • myMaddness

    I wonder what would happen if you grappled two helicopters together or two grapples on one enemy but each one in opposite directions?

    Posted: November 15, 2009 6:04 PM
  • jamaicangamer

    50 cent 3

    Posted: November 15, 2009 5:46 PM
  • Falloutthree

    Wow that was freakin cool how he attached him to the jet then he just flew it away with him on it that was sick dude

    Posted: November 15, 2009 11:30 AM
  • ezeraeze

    Looks pretty good, especially when he was on top the moving car

    Posted: November 15, 2009 1:19 AM
  • napkinshower

    lol this game looks really humorous. im into it

    Posted: November 14, 2009 9:21 PM
  • spicypooptastic

    yea like that one dude said if they had the fireing over the shoulder like gears the it would be the greatest game ever made ever.

    Posted: November 14, 2009 11:58 AM
  • chris0824

    the first one was really good i hope the second is better

    Posted: November 14, 2009 10:02 AM
  • XwingVmanX

    This looks like it will be a lot of fun, it looks like there will also be destructible environments. I wonder if that is true or it is just certain objects. I wonder what the limit of the hook is as well. It looked like it reaches pretty far.

    Posted: November 14, 2009 9:36 AM
  • DSwat

    so its like the force but not really lol ill buy it

    Posted: November 14, 2009 8:28 AM
  • ratshady

    This is one of my must buy games of 2010.

    Posted: November 14, 2009 7:44 AM