Review: Just Cause 2

11 years, 5 months ago 0
Posted in: Projects, Review

Here’s another game review — this time for the open-world game Just Cause (Spoiler Free)

Mission Gameplay

You goal is to cause CHOAS. You accomplish this by destroying things. These can be people, random items, or key targets. The more chaos you cause, the more money, missions, and gear you get. Creating chaos increases your HEAT meter, which increase the number of enemies who respond to you. They will continue attacking until you die or successfully flee the scene.

You have 4 Mission Threads. Your primary one involves the Agency (CIA-related), which is the game’s storyline and all cutscenes. The other threads are devoted to 3 Factions: the “Reapers”, “Roaches”, and “Ular”. Each faction want you to cause chaos for different reasons, but they all use the same mission templates.

More Faction missions are unlocked with each successful batch completed. Each new batch begins with a Stronghold takedown. Once completed, that Stronghold becomes a base-of-operations where you re-start from (if you quit or were killed).

Agency Missions are unlocked by the global amount of chaos caused. So it’s possible for you to finish the main Agency story and still have tons of Faction missions to finish.

Of course you can ignore ALL missions and simply run through the world creating chaos. Each village, city, base, and outpost has key targets you can destroy (like a water tower, radar station, or generator). You receive money and Parts for weapon/vehicle/armor when you reach 100% destruction for that area. This can make future missions easier, since you’ve already remove that location’s defenses.

Races, Stunts, and Skydiving areas are scattered throughout the world as well. Crates of Money and Parts can also be found all over the place. Rewards for the explorer!

You use money to purchase weapons & vehicles from the Black Market. Money and Parts provide upgrades to increase accuracy, ammo count, and damage. Prices do not change when an item “levels-up”. Accumulating Armor Parts automatically increases your Health.

Since the Black Market is a helicopter that can appear anywhere for you in two seconds, it can also Extract you to any location you’ve visited. This lets you quickly move from one side of the world to the other (if you drove, it’d take you a good 5 minutes at least).

Button Combos appear whenever you want to hijack a vehicle (4 random button taps). They also appear when you have to sabotage a key target (8 random button taps).

The Good

Humongous world — it’s bigger than any other game I’ve seen:

  • Check out the comparison: []
  • Every region is fully-accessible (after your first 2 missions)
  • No occlusion — you can see the whole gameworld at one time from any point
  • Good variety of climates (jungle, desert, winter mountaintops, city)
  • The underwater environment is equally detailed

The Grappling Hook — once you break your instinct to run or drive anywhere, you’ll quickly wish you had a grappling hook in every other game! You can use it for a ton of things:

  • Quickly pull yourself to a new location (up, down, across) — this includes pulling yourself to moving vehicles (ie. helicopters)
  • Pull over enemies (from ledges or vehicles)
  • Attach any 2 objects together:
  • Attach it to a light post then an enemy and you can treat him like a pinata.
  • Attach it to a vehicle then a movable object and you can drag that object around — a ball n’ chain vehicle that smashes anything in its path.
  • Attach it to a propane tank and a person, fire the canister and watch him fly around like a rapid dog on a leash until it explodes.
  • Combine this with the parachute, and you can “sling-shot” your way across the world, gliding forever.

Your inventory allows a good variety, but isn’t unlimited. You can cycle through 2 types of explosives, hold one heavy gun, and hold 2 smaller guns (which you can choose to dual-wield if you like).

Lastly… probably the best part for exposure, word-of-mouth, and free advertising… the game includes the quick & simple way to record anything and post it directly to YouTube. You can choose to start/stop recording or let it save the last 30 seconds of your gameplay (if something great comes up). It’ll upload straight to YouTube when you provide a user-account. I wish ALL games had this.

The Bad

Uninspiring story

No emotional connection, just pure destruction. Colorful dialogue, but cliche plots. It’s like an 80’s Action Movie with no subplot.

Repetitive Mission structures

All Faction missions begin the same way (they drive up, give you an objective, and drop off a weapon crate). There’s a variety of missions (destroy target, retrieve item, capture enemy, etc.), but there’s only half-a-doze or so core templates.

Repetitive geometry

Most outpost and villages are the same buildings, only rearranged slightly.

No interiors

It’s all outdoors!

Model Fade-in

It shows up periodically, but it’s not really bad unless you’re looking for it.

Funny physics and AI

I’ve had an AI drive his helicopter into me and bounce around more than once because of pathing.

Why walk or drive?

With the world being so big and immediate access to most vehicles, why take the time to walk through the surroundings or travel a stretch of road? Just hijack a helicopter with guns and get where you need to go!


AI literally comes out of the woodwork. They do a good job at trying to mask where and how they spawn in, but they’ll appear in an area you just cleared if your HEAT meter is high enough.

There’s no personal property, customization, or sense of ownership to create a deeper value to the experience.

The Ugly

Shooting enemies can be a royal pain in the ass. You have to be dead on to kill them. This isn’t bad when you’re running and gunning on foot. But, if you’re tossing explosives or flying a helicopter spraying them with bullets or missiles, they’ll get back up on their feet 3-4 times before dying. There’s no noticeable health penalty for splash damage.

Listening to Sheldon (your CIA contact) – if you ever wanted to know what the stereo-type of an American is to others, look no further. Sheldon is a cross between George Bush and a CIA cowboy. Every time you call the Black Market, you get to hear his chipper Texan drawl.

Easter Eggs

The “Mile High” Gentlemen’s Club – a large yacht suspended with two large balloons

A sunken village

A deserted Oil Tanker in the middle of the desert

A ski resort, balloon ride, “Mount Rushmore” secret base, …and more!

It also features an islands with elements of “LOST” in it:

  • all planes crash when you get near it
  • the remains off a crash-campsite
  • the Hatch
  • a Black Smoke Monster (a soldier that emits black smoke particles)
  • electro-magnetism towers (no longer available)

Random fun videos

Tons of sticky bombs stuck to a building:

Physics stunt glitch:

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