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PS3 Review – Just Cause 2

March 28, 2010 Written by Josh Fernandes

Just Cause 2 is a sandbox, open world, third-person action game that plays like a cheesy action film. The emphasis is on high profile action stunts and explosions that would make Michael Bay salivate. You are armed to the hilt with a grapple hook, parachute, and tons of guns equipped to wreak havoc across the southeast Asian island of Panau. Does just cause deliver blockbuster action or fizzle in the heap of GTA wanna-be’s?

The plot begins with our hero, Rico Rodriguez, being flown to the island of Panau. The region has grown unstable and you’re brought in to find a rogue American agent. Not long after your arrival, things are not what they seem and Rico learns he needs to eliminate Panau’s ruthless dictator, Baby Panay. Baby Panay is a fat little man with a greasy mustache, lime green suit, and a pet chameleon on his shoulder. He epitomizes the image of a cheesy, B-movie arch-nemesis. The goal of taking out Baby Panay stays consistent throughout the game, and sadly there aren’t many twists or surprises in the story.

The action movie aesthetic of the game plays very heavily. You can perform a stunt jump in any vehicle your driving. This will cause you to jump onto the roof of whatever vehicle your driving, including airplanes. The vehicle will continue on its path without losing speed. Now, you are free to shoot from the roof of the car or use your grapple hook. If you open your parachute and fly up into the air, your car will automatically explode when it hits something, regardless of speed. If you jump to another vehicle, your car will still blow up. This is just one of the mechanics that can be utilized to complete missions. Missions also contain very over-the-top set pieces like riding on missiles, assaulting an evil lair hidden in a mountain fortress, fighting a tank on top of a skyscraper, and fending off ninjas with machine guns.

In order to be able to carry out your missions, you will be required to create as much chaos as possible. Chaos functions as both a story element and gameplay mechanic. It is the currency in Just Cause 2. You can gain “Chaos points,” which is a tally of your total chaos. Chaos is accumulated by blowing up government property, assinating officials, and completing missions. After racking up a certain amount of chaos, new missions and black market items will be unlocked. There are also indicators on how much chaos can be accumulated at various locations. A small finishing village with only a few gas tanks may offer a small amount a chaos points, but assaulting a large military base could net ten times as many chaos points.

There are four primary mission varieties. Agency missions will progress the story with seven chapters throughout the game. Faction missions are odd jobs that you do for one of the three factions: Reapers, Ular Boys and the Roaches. These range from escort missions, to vehicle delivery missions, as well as killing assasinating targets or destroying a specific piece of government property. Stronghold missions spawn you outside a facility with a handful of faction allies and a technician. The objective is to assault the base whiles keeping the technician alive until you reach the far end of the compound. Upon reaching this goal you will need to fend off two or three waves of enemies as your technician hacks into the facility. Success rewards you with a friendly faction base for ammo supplies and vehicles. Lastly, there are the racing missions or time trials. Simply go from point A to point B under a certain amount of time. Anyone who has played an open world game before will be very familiar with these missions as they are a staple in the genre.

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