Video Game Review: Just Cause 2 (Xbox 360)

You are Rico Rodrigez, a secret operative sent to the nation of Panau. An area where bribes, murder, and guns talk a lot louder than justice. You have been sent in to find Tom sheldon, a potentially rogue agent who has got missing from the agency.

You enter this game by jumping out of an airplane, dodging mid-air explosions while trying to take a lost item from a dead body soaring towards the ground. Enough said? This game is packed with action, mayhem, and and, surprisingly, a very decent storyline. This game is what the industry refers to as a “sandbox” style game, similar to title like Grand Theft Auto IV, and Crackdown. Just Cause also has a few other similarities such as huge collections of weapons and vehicles, TONS of buildings and people to bring havoc upon, and lots of great one liners!

One thing that cought me off guard, was the storyline, which is something that is normally pretty lacking in most Action games these days. Just cause offers a somewhat deep storyline which teeters on fiction/non-fiction, and had quite a bit of back story, between the lenghy list of characters, and the woulrd itself. Each character goes through a small amount of developement, and changes depending on how the games plays out.

The graphics of Just Cause 2 are much better than I had expected then I put the disk into my Xbox 360. I wouldn’t give it game of the year on that fact alone, but I was certainly suprised for the better. The game makes use of a variety of special effect, in particular, particle effects. Which means ONE thing: EXPLOSIONS. Since you can blow up pretty much anything you can aim at, You can see plainly that a lot of time was spent making the environmental interaction as believable as possible. Overall the game has very few graphical “gitches” like bad collision detections with walls and building, random colors and sprite spawning, and the like. Graphical glitches can be quite a pain, which anyone who has played enough Grand Theft Auto can tell you. Visual and mechanical glitching is something that is very prone is large “sandbox” type of games where the player can roam such large expanses. Also worth a mention, is the terrain itself, the landscaping is almost breath taking at times, and since you can go just about anywhere is the games confines, there is a true quality in the everyday mountains and grass.

The controls of this game are somewhat basic in nature. If you have played any other type of game in the genre, then you will already know almost all of the right buttons from the get go. Nothing truly original here, except for the Grappling Hook, a weapon which is about 70% of your tranportation around panau. With the Grappling Hook, the player can zipeline from where they stand to any direction they choose, from the tops of buildings, to moving helicopters! not to mention that you can grapple lots of other things, like people, items, cars, oh-and people!

So far in the game, the only real dissappointment in the game is the sound. Overall I would call it decent at best. The abient, background music, is completly missing outside of the occassional bird or car horn or the like. The special effects sounds are quite good, but heavily based around the game more action oriented sections. so you won’t hear a lot till you starting shooting gaurds, or blowing up cars. The sound itself is very clear and of very high quality, just not in huge abundance. Sadly. The game is full of Fully scripted voice over texts, and every character has something to say. The cutscenes, although many which is nice, is a little laking is the audio dept. It would seem that the english over dubbing was overlooked for qualitly inspection before release. Various mis pronunciationsn, which seem to come up more and more as the game progresses.

The one thing that is still blowing my mind, is the actaul size of the game itself. When I first picked up the game, I must have played for a good 6-7 hours straight, and only progressed 6% to my utter surprise! That in and of itself would make me recommend this game to everyone I know. It’s all too common for the average Joe to hop on over to GameStop, or Wal-Mart, or Target, or where ever you like to shop for games, and spend quite a bit of money only to beat the game over the weekend. It’s a terrible fact of life, and I’m very happy to say that this game revives my faith in getting what I paid such good money for!

Overall, I would recommend this game to anyone who like to cause general mayhem with a variety of tools, enjoys a lenthy game of “run and gun,” or was a fan of GTA, Crackdown, or Saint Row. This title is Rated “M” and is NOT intended for younger audiences. So please be a good parent and keep this game out of the reach of children who aren’t old enough to understand the difference between reality and video games:)