Just Cause 2 Review

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Just Cause 2

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Take yourself on an explosive adventure holiday of a life-time where the only limits are your own creativity.

We like

  • Exploring the beautiful island and finding great stuff
  • Destroying everything in sight
  • Developing our own stunts and being creative in combat

We dislike

  • Having to trek for miles in the main campaign for little reward
  • The unpredictable targeting system in combat

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

Whether you’re wandering by foot across the mountainous terrains of the South East Asian island of Panau with peaks that overlook miles of lush jungle-lands and white sandy beaches, or sky-diving through the air landing in the crystal clear waters 10,000 feet below before swimming under the sun-drenched sky to a remote tropical island, playing Just Cause 2 feels a little like you’ve struck lucky and won an adventure holiday of a life-time.

A quick search on YouTube for gameplay footage uploaded by gamers taking advantage of the excellent PS3 exclusive video capture feature will show you that some are even treating the various terrains of Panau Island as if they were on an extreme sports vacation. You'll see daredevil motorbike stunts over canyons with riders jumping off their vehicles and releasing their parachutes at the very last moment, alongside speedboat stunts, helicopter hijacking and all sorts of crazy stuff that isn't actually anything to do with missions and side objectives. The freedom and sheer variety in Just Cause 2 gives you that flexibility to be creative; and it would be rude not to take advantage of one of the biggest open-world action adventures of all time and stray off the beaten path to enjoy some of the remarkable scenery and secrets that the island holds.

The sheer volume of missions, side objectives and unlockables is incredible, compounded by the fact that the huge area is full of hidden Easter Eggs to discover, such as a fake shark that you can ride across the water, or a hot air balloon that you can commandeer. Stray away from the main narrative and you’ll find a wealth of other stuff to enjoy, simply searching for the island that has been modelled on the one from LOST is an entertaining and time-consuming diversion. In terms of value for money, Just Cause 2 certainly gives you bang for your buck, not least from the impressively large game world that benefits immensely from huge draw distances and beautifully crafted scenery that really makes you feel at home on the island.

With 1,000 sq km to explore it’s easy to go off the beaten track and forget totally about the storyline and what you’re supposed to be doing. That isn't always a bad thing. The story in Just Cause 2 gets totally swallowed up by the explosive action and the million and one other things you'll get involved in besides carrying out your primary mission. Playing as Rico Rodriguez from the last game, you're sent to the island in the midst of a civil war where warring factions and the government are fighting for control of the island. All you need to know, however, is that you'll be carrying out all kinds of explosive tasks from wading into enemy strongholds Rambo-style to cause utter carnage and chaos, to blowing stuff up for the pure hell of it. This is where the new 'Chaos meter' comes into play.

The 'Chaos' meter does a great job at enticing you into being creative with your weaponry and liberal with your ammunition. Throughout the game, before you even get stuck right into the missions and side objectives, you're awarded with points for destroying anything in your path. The more destruction you cause, the more points you get which then gives you access to more vehicles, weapons and side missions. The beauty and serenity that you find on the island is in stark contrast to the chaos and destruction that you can cause; and it's a balance that really works. There's something completely addictive about sending a row of gas cylinders snaking into the clear blue skies or jumping into a vehicle and sending it careering toward a petrol station before leaping out at the last minute, standing back, and watching it all go up in flames.

With all of this freedom given to you to just go out and blow stuff up, or explore the masses of well-filled space out there, taking part in the missions can feel suffocating in comparison. Nevertheless, Avalanche Studios hasn't let its foot of the gas in terms of providing plenty of variety, excitement and over-the-top action. You'll skip from timed events, ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again. Follow @steven_gamer
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  • Related game: Just Cause 2

    Release date (US):
    March 23rd, 2010
    Avalanche Studios
    Action - Third Person
    297 of 2,667 Games
    Down 4 places (in last 7 days)

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