Hijacking a commercial airplane in mid-air and crashing it into a military complex seconds before ejecting is all in a day’s work for government agent Rico Rodriguez.
In “Just Cause 2,” players take control of the rugged and charming Rico Rodriguez a field agent for a powerful American organization simply called “The Agency.”
Rodriguez is assigned to travel to the beautiful island of Panau in Southeast Asia in search of his friend and mentor, Tom Sheldon. The agency believes that he has gone rogue and now works for the corrupted government on the island.
In the process of finding Sheldon, he must cause as much chaos as possible in order to overthrow the current dictator. To gain information about the government and the whereabouts of Sheldon, Rodriguez must assist three criminal factions on the island and take on missions for them.
Progressing through the game missions becomes somewhat predictable, as the factions have you either kidnapping public figures, moving cargo to safe spots, conducting assassinations or reclaiming government property for the factions. Accomplishing these missions will expand the factions territory and provide Rodriguez with cash and weapons.
The game’s story is clearly not the focal point of the experience, but it helps setting the volatile atmosphere inside the small island. Being rewarded for exploding anything on site only adds to the sense of instability and chaos in Panau. If hijacking airplanes mid-air using nothing but a parachute and a grapple hook raises any questions about the levels of realism in the game, Uzi-wielding ninjas should give the player a hint that “Just Cause 2” does not take itself too seriously.
However, traveling the 400 square miles of rugged terrain filled with hundreds of weapons and vehicles is a blast. From flying a jet above the clouds to powering a speed boat between jagged rocks, and everything in between, the player is spoiled for choice with the number of vehicles available to travel the island.
Thanks to the unique game-play mechanics that constantly defy the laws of physics, the player is also able to travel the map at a high speed using nothing but a grapple hook and a parachute. This way of traveling enables the player to use the hook as a sling shot to propel Rico as he glides through the island with his parachute.
It is hard not to get distracted by the beautiful environments in the game. Easy tasks such as getting to a mission spot in the map become challenging, as the game constantly lures players with intriguing ancient ruins, beautiful beaches and soaring mountain peaks that are so visually stunning that passing any chance of exploration would be robbing the player from one of the most gratifying aspects in the game.
A major selling point of the game is the seemingly infinite ways to approach missions, defeat enemies and destroy targets. The player could either fly an airplane or truck into a target, simply parachute in while dropping grenades, take a silent route by sniping from a distance or any approach the player’s inner “Rambo” craves, creating scenes that could give top-dollar Hollywood productions a run for their money.
The grapple hook adds an extra layer to the destruction as it allows the player to attach objects together. From taking down statues to dropping gas tanks from a hovering helicopter on top of enemies, the grapple hook is not only a mode of transportation but a versatile weapon.
Like most games, “Just Cause 2” is not without its flaws. The voice acting is poor and unmemorable as it fails to create a believable sense of urgency or portray any kind of emotion. Given the nature of the game, players will die often, and when currently engaged in a mission, that means players will be starting over just as often. The checkpoint system is especially frustrating when the same 20 miles have to be traveled over and over in order to re-start the mission.
Regardless of the frustrating checkpoint system and mediocre voice acting, “Just Cause 2” is $59.99 well spent. Even after finishing the story, exploring the island of Panau can be as fun as playing through missions and objectives. Developer Square Enix did not disappoint fans and delivered the equivalent of a summer blockbuster in the hands of eager players. For more information on the game visit http://www.justcause.com.
Despite its drawbacks the game’s immersive atmosphere, great replay value and ability to give the player a sense of power and control, “Just Cause 2” receives my rating of five stars out of five.