|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Avalanche Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Eidos / Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 23, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
In an attempt to ameliorate this, you can call up a black market dealer and get extracted from your current position to your desired location. While they let you call upon this glorified shuttle service as much as you want (and for free), it only really works if you've already been to the location. That's because you can't select "undiscovered" destinations; at best you'll be able to select an adjacent region. As a result, I often found completing objectives to be too time-consuming and frequently became discouraged. This was especially so when I'd die in the middle of a mission and was sent all the way back to one of the safe-house hubs - talk about infuriating!
Despite the inefficiencies inherent to negotiating a massive open-world, Panau is a great place to get your guerilla on. I liken the varied terrain (encompassing beaches, urban zones, factories, villages, refineries, fortresses, jungles, air strips, mountains, etc.) to a locale out of a skating game (e.g. Skate's San Vanelona) - Panau is essentially a warrior's playground. There are literally thousands of nooks and crannies to discover. By exploring the world in detail, you'll get access to weapon and vehicle parts (for upgrading your arsenal via the black market dealer) as well as get nifty health boosts. There is something extremely satisfying about heading to an undiscovered location and finding all of the hidden goodies - it must be the OCD in me.
In addition to upgrade chests, you'll also find cash stashes that can be used to purchase new equipment. Cold, hard cash isn't the only form of currency in the game, however; Chaos is every bit as valuable. By taking out government vehicles and emplacements (radio towers, gas tanks, satellite arrays, holding tanks, transformers, etc.) you'll be awarded with ever-increasing Chaos totals. The more Chaos you unleash on Panau, the more faction and agency missions as well as back market items become available. This Chaos currency system is perfect for rewarding players that explore their surroundings, but it can get to be tedious and feel like a pointless grind for those that just want to move the story forward.
Whether you're playing the game on PC, Xbox 360, or PS3, you'll be treated to a beautiful, if somewhat unrealistic, time. The Southeast Asian archipelago of Panau isn't exactly as lived in or as sensible as I would have liked, but it is a great place to play, nonetheless. The Pilipino vibe the developers were obviously going for comes through, but I would have liked to have seen a bit more dingy - Panau definitely doesn't look like a country struggling under the yoke of an oppressive regime and torn apart by disparate warring factions.
Undoubtedly, the game is attractive, but the visuals also suffer from atrocious physics (at times, you'll swear you were on the moon). The ragdoll death animations and the unrealistic, unpredictable crashes constantly remind you just how preposterous this game can be (don't get me started on how you can effortlessly sprint up sheer hillsides). On the bright side, the poor physics and occasionally terrible animations do make for many amusing moments, but I would have liked them to be a bit more grounded from a gameplay perspective.
If there was one word I had to use to describe Just Cause 2, it would be 'ridiculous'. The game never takes itself seriously, which, for the most part, is a good thing. However, sometimes this lackadaisical approach extends into areas where it shouldn't, resulting in an often unpolished, even amateurish experience. Still, the game has fun in spades, so all who pick it up are likely to have a total blast!
CCC Editor / News Director