Better Late than Never: Just Cause 2

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So, I do this thing where I geek out over games that a whole lot of other people end up overlooking. This is one of those times. That’s all I really have to say about this.

Just Cause 2

What is it?: An open-world game that came out a couple years ago. I don’t recall it being marketed very heavily, due to it coming out in that awkward period right after Square-Enix bought out Eidos. This is one of the completed games that they found just chilling out in the backroom, waiting to be released into the wild. So most of the hype around this game was fan-generated.

Okay, so what’s it about?: You play as CIA super agent Rico Rodriguez who specializes in airborne combat, and is dropped into a Caribbean region that’s supposed to be a stand-in for Cuba, with the goal of finding a rogue CIA agent and overthrowing a totalitarian dictator, and there are revolutionaries, and the mafia, and ninjas and-

Okay, look. There’s only one thing you need to know about this game, and it’s that you can SURF ON A MOTHERFUCKING JET PLANE.


NO REALLY, TELL ME MORE ABOUT THIS.: Okay, so it’s like Grand Theft Auto times a billion. You can steal cars, and trucks, and motorcycles, and anything that isn’t nailed down. And this includes military-grade aircraft. And you not only /can/ do stunts with them, it is an integral part of gameplay. You have a grappling hook and a parachute, and with those two things you can do so very, very much. Anything you can imagine doing, in fact, including, yes, surfing a jet plane into an oil rig. Which, I shit you not, is an actual mission in the game. Also, nearly every single man-made thing in the environment is destructable, and ALL OF IT EXPLODES, whether it logically should or not.

So what about the rest of the game?: Well, you’ve got your typical open world stuff: you have your main missions, and then you have factions you can do side-missions for to help them expand their territory and get rewards, which include weapons, items, vehicles, and new respawn points. Combat is third-person action, with a bit of auto-aim to make you feel just that much more awesome as you dual-wield assault rifles fighting off central-american guerrilla forces. The grappling hook and parachute are not only tools for mobility, but also combat aids: your melee attacks are grappling hook whips, and grappling-and-chuting is a very good way to dart in and out of groups of enemies, especially when latching onto passing vehicles and whatnot. Again, everything is cleverly engineered to make you feel awesome while still being challenging.

So this game is basically one big empowerment fantasy?: Yes, but aren’t all games? It’s still hard, and some of the side missions border on impossible. But even when losing, you never feel like you aren’t awesome. And then you can just grab a random vehicle and do something so batshit crazy that you absolutely HAVE to screenshot it. Which is the exact reason that I recommend that the version of this game that you get be the PC version, on Steam.

So all the Steam functionality is built in?: Yep! Even Steam Cloud. Which is something that I never thought I would require out of a game until I had it. Now, if a Steam game /doesn’t/ have it, it’s enough to cause me to think twice about buying it. I play games on two machines (which are detailed in my system specs page), and the ability to just not have to worry about porting over save files is amazing. And that’s not even taking into account Windows re-installs. So yes, that’s an awesome thing. But so is the ability to take screenshots as proof that you pulled off something completely LEGEN-waitforit-DARY.

So is there anything you don’t like about this game?: Well, no game is perfect, and this one suffers from the same sorts of things that any open world game does. Choice and nonlinearity are awesome things, but I think sometimes the plot suffers for it. In this case, the plot is so completely nonsensical that it doesn’t matter quite so much, though. That being said, if you want a plot any deeper than a 1980’s action movie, then look elsewhere. It might have the Square-Enix name on it, but that isn’t a testament to its plotline in any way. That being said, this is one of these cases where you should just turn your brain off and your reflexes on and make some things explode.

You said you played it on the PC? How did it control?: Great, because I used a wired Xbox 360 controller. The button mappings are already built in, so it’s simple plug-and-play. That being said, I did try it with a keyboard once and found the experience….lacking. Keyboards were not make for acrobatic action games. Do yourself a favor and play this one with a controller, and the automatic mapping for the Xbox controllers makes that route very worth it.

Anything else?: If you get the PC Steam version, it tells you straight up that Windows XP and DX9 are not supported, so you do need a relatively modern rig to play it. But if you have a decent DX10 card, then you won’t have any trouble with it. And if you’ve got a screaming new rig, please, please, PLEASE bump up the settings all the way, because the game is very beautiful on High settings.

So why review this game now?: Other than that it’s fifteen of the best dollars you’ll ever spend on Steam? Well…. there’s this: there is a group of people who decided that one player was not enough awesome for this island, and have been making a multiplayer patch for this game. A multiplayer patch that can stuff SIX HUNDRED players on the island SIMULTANEOUSLY. Now, I just want you to process six hundred people on an island with completely destructible buildings and every vehicle imaginable to just screw around with. Go ahead. Process that, and think about how AWESOME that idea is. Well, it will be a reality sometime in the next year or so, hopefully, so you can get this game in anticipation for THAT. You can keep up with progress on that at . 

Yeah, that sounds pretty amazing. I’m going to go get this game and brush up on being absolutely awesome. Mission Accomplished.

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