Just Cause 2

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Just Cause 2 (JC2) is a mixed bag. On one hand it allows you to live out all your Bond-esque fantasies (minus the hot girls and the martinis) while on the other hand it’s a clusterfk of nagging issues. If you can somehow lean more towards the over the top stuff you’ll have a ball of a time with this game. If you’re anal and nit-pick each and every fault that comes with the game you’ll get put off with it after the first hour.

I fall somewhere in the middle. While I don’t hate it I can’t ignore the fact that there are so many things wrong with it. For starters driving in this game is possibly the worst I’ve experienced in recent times and for a free roaming game this spells immediate doom. Luckily for JC2 traversing the fictional island of Panau becomes a lot more bearable (and entertaining at times) thanks to the bionic arm – err I mean grappling hook attached to your hand. With it you can not only grapple onto objects but deploy your parachute while zip lining towards them allowing you to go vertical even without setting foot in a chopper. But we’ll get to that later – let’s concentrate on the bad stuff for now.

Like I was saying driving is terrible no matter what vehicle you choose making it a real chore to get from one place to another. And thanks to this anal mechanic I could never enjoy any of the game’s side missions which for some stupid reason are mostly races. Also if I’m gonna be driving for kilometers on end why not implement a nice radio station in my vehicles or at least allow me to upload my own tunes into the game? That would have made the driving more bearable.

I’ve said this before in my preview and I can now say it again – Just Cause 2 has the WORST and I mean THE WORST voice acting I have seen in any game till date. In fact I was really tempted to play the game without any sound whatsoever and after a while I just had to skip most of the cut scenes or I swear I would have stabbed myself in the ear.

Mission structure tends to get pretty repetitive as well. You see you have to work with three distinct factions to get closer towards your end goal. Sadly nearly all of them not only have the same “Kill X or rescue Y” variant of missions but even share pretty much the same animations during cut scenes. That’s just plain lazy man and if this game wasn’t this much fun, I would have stopped playing ages ago.
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While most of the stuff I’ve listed so far is pretty much capable of destroying any hope you have on enjoying a game, JC2 weathers the storm purely thanks to its over the top vibe that’ll lead to many "OMFG Did you see that?" moments. For example, I had to track this snitch down for one of the factions but before I got to him he escapes via chopper (but of course). Luckily we’re at the airport so I hop into a commercial plane and start tailing him. Pretty soon I catch up with him and while hovering above him I decide prop up on top of the plane in a stunt position simply by pressing B. As he passes under me I dive from the plane free falling towards his chopper for a few hundred feet. At the very last minute I deploy my parachute gliding towards him roping myself towards the chopper with my trusty hook. A quick context sensitive action later the snitch finds himself ousted from the chopper falling towards a rather painful death while I ride his chopper off into the sunset ready to tackle another mission.

It’s when you pull off moments like this you really appreciate the game for making you feel like a badass super agent. Of course it won’t go this smoothly every time and you’ll constantly find yourself grappling onto the wrong objects, getting gunned down by re-spawning enemies, crashing continuously thanks to the wonky driving etc but stick with it and you will be rewarded.

On the PC, Just Cause 2 is a gorgeous game but it’s a huge system hog at the same time (required graphic card for this game is an 8800GT). However, if your rig can handle it you’re in for a really pretty game and the view of the island while you’re airborne can never grow old. On the flip side explosions are pretty weak and pedestrian animations are just downright terrible. I pretty much hated everything in the audio department as well from the cringe worthy accents to the terribly clich