Just Cause 2 Preview
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Just Cause 2 box art
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
Better in Pairs
by Adam Brown

December 11, 2009 - The original Just Cause had a great concept, mixing an open-world third-person shooter with tons of stunts and acrobatics. Unfortunately, it could have also used a few more months of development time to fix all of the issues that detracted from the overall experience. The game was plagued by brain-dead A.I., numerous bugs, and repetitive missions. Luckily, even with its flaws, Just Cause managed to sell well and garnered a decent fan base, allowing for a sequel to be made that will hopefully fix many, if not all, of the things that kept the original from reaching its true potential.

Just Cause 2 screenshot

As with the original, you'll be taking control of Rico Rodriguez who is essentially an acrobatic one man army. In this adventure, Rico will be scouring an entirely new island named Panau in search of his mentor Tom Sheldon. Of course, things are never as simple as they initially seem, so Rico will also have to contend with a ruthless dictator and his armies along the way. Panau is a huge island with a good variety of terrain ranging from deserts to snow covered mountains, all of which providing Rico with a vast playground in which to show off his skills and to create as much government destabilizing chaos as possible.

Chaos will be a prominent element in Just Cause 2, helping you to overthrow the island's dictator and set its inhabitants free. Destroying government occupied buildings and communications antennas will not only set your enemy back, but it will also net you chaos. The more chaos you earn throughout the course of the game the more help you'll receive from various guerilla factions around the island who wish to achieve the same ends as you. This seems like it could create an interesting dynamic in the game but won't be necessary in order to complete the campaign.

However, like most games, the success or failure of Just Cause 2 will come down to its gameplay, and things are already looking really good in that department. Unlike the original's somewhat clunky implementation of the grappling hook, requiring you to select it as though it was a weapon, Just Cause 2 takes a more Bionic Commando approach. For anyone who didn't like that title don't let this comparison frighten you, I simply mean that the grappling hook will be constantly attached to one of your arms and can be used at any time. In fact, this time around it is also much more useful and has a range of 200 feet, pretty much ensuring that if you can see something you can grapple to it.

Just Cause 2 screenshot

The new and improved grappling hook was recently shown off in a demo level and it looks great. The mission involved trying to locate and free a witness so that they can provide testimony. It started off with Rico trying to get through a security gate and past numerous armed guards. Using a combination of the new grappling hook, guns, and his parachute, he made quick work of his opposition. As with the original, using the grappling hook can give you a brief burst of speed and then quickly deploying your parachute gives you a useful floating vantage point from which to shred your enemies with gunfire.

Rico then encountered more opposition when trying to break into a facility to find his target's whereabouts. Here the new features of the grappling hook were really put on display. Rico can now choose two targets with his grappling hook, essentially binding them together with its springy cord. While this may sound somewhat mundane, it actually provided some extremely hilarious and useful results. Targeting a soldier and a wall will leave your foe swinging and dangling helplessly until you decide to finish them off with a few shots. Grappling two enemies together will cause them to spring towards one another, smashing their heads when they meet in the middle. However, my personal favorite had to be attaching your two grappling points to an enemy and a pressurized canister. Once these two have been grappled, a few quick shots to the canister will send it and the attached foe violently in whichever direction it happens to fly.

Just Cause 2 screenshot

After humorously taking out the opposition and finding his target's whereabouts, Rico took a brief grappled helicopter ride to catch up with the convoy of trucks transporting the witness. Starting from the last vehicle in the convoy, Rico showed off some more combat variety. Dangling from both the fronts and backs of the vehicles, Rico was able to shoot enemies hanging out of the doors while using the vehicle itself for cover. There was also some more grappling hook hilarity on display. Some examples were grappling an enemy to the moving vehicle and leaving them dragging behind, grappling a foe to a stationary object and watching them fly helplessly off of the vehicle, and, best of all, grappling a vehicle itself to a stationary object which violently stops and damages the vehicle.

Nobody is going to say that the action in Just Cause 2 is realistic, but that's likely why it will be so much fun to participate in. This is clearly a game that doesn't take itself too seriously, but instead provides players with an extremely large sandbox in which to pull off ridiculously funny stunts and humorous combat tricks. The addition of a second grappling target as well as the ability to grapple at any time to just about any object should also make Just Cause 2 much more fun to play than the original. So, if any of these antics sounded fun to you, make sure to keep an eye on Just Cause 2 this March when it's released.

By Adam Brown
CCC Staff Contributor

Game Features:

  • Multi-point vehicle movement: Every vehicle has multiple points inside and out to move between in real-time, not cut scenes, jumping between multiple positions on a single vehicle or to other vehicles with over 100 vehicles.
  • Air, land, water and underwater: Just Cause 2 delivers action everywhere from 500 feet above to 50 feet below through jungles, snowy mountainside, deserts, cities and more, with over 600 square miles to explore and destroy.
  • Nearly endless and open-ended game-play: From deep missions to small jobs, to free exploration, players follow the route they want when they want.
  • Grapple nearly everything within 200 feet, including enemies. Progressive destruction - vehicles, building, enemies, and landscape. Pull off amazing stunts with Rico's re-designed parachute.
  • Weapons galore: Single and dual handed weapons, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, explosives, and vehicle mounted weapons.

  • Screenshots / Images
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