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Just Cause 2
PC, Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Square Enix
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

Most action games of this generation prefer to pepper their explosions and gunfire with some sort of message. At the end – we’re supposed to take something away. You know what I learned from Just Cause 2? Blowing stuff up is fun.

In this, Avalanche Studios’ return trip to the Just Cause franchise, they’ve managed to craft a fun and action packed time-sink that you can’t help but love. It’s the video game equivalent of a Jerry Bruckheimer B-movie; if you’re not looking for a sweeping epic story you’ll find much to love here.

In Just cause 2, Rico, the original game’s protagonist returns as a member of a US agency called – get ready for this…The Agency.  The ridiculousness of the Agency is just the tip of the iceburg; the story is over the top, the characters are racial stereotypes and the voice acting is excruciatingly bad, but it’s the so bad its good type.  You’ll find yourself re-watching cutscenes just to laugh at the Boris and Natasha-esque accents.

" all leads to you blowing stuff up -- a lot of stuff."


Whatever the story is, it all leads to you blowing stuff up -- a lot of stuff. Just Cause 2 actually rewards players for causing destruction, the more stuff you wreck, the more chaos (the game’s currency system) you receive. Chaos is used to unlock new areas, missions and items. While I realize this may seem like it could get a bit redundant, the game does do a great job creating new locales and objects to destroy.  See that oil tanker in the distance? Make it erupt in flames. That water tower? Make it crumble. That lunch truck? You get the idea. Though for much of the game I was doing the same thing, it rarely got boring. Did you really think blowing up stuff could?

Where Just Cause 2 really hits its stride is in just how much freedom it lets you have. This is like Grand Theft Auto on speed. You’re on a tropical island, complete with cliffs, beaches and deserts and you’ve got a grappling hook and a parachute. Sound fun? Of course it does. It’s extremely rewarding and fun to string together a bunch of impossible yet completely bad ass series of moves to take out a target.  Sure, you could blow up that oil tanker in the middle of town by going in guns blazing, but where’s the fun in that? Why not go to the top of a cliff and grapple to a passing helicopter, then fly that sucker right into the tanker, escaping via your trusty parachute, only to land directly on a car to escape to safety. Just Cause 2 is one of those games where you’ll find yourself asking “Can I do this?” only to find out that yes, yes you can and it’s awesome.

Of course, your tropical island isn’t all paradise, there’s a guerilla force at large and they don’t take too kindly to you getting explosion happy with their stuff.  Often throughout the game you’re going to have to deal with guerilla soldiers who tend to randomly appear out of thin air. Combine this with the fact that the game’s target system in unreliable at best and it can feel like your only option is to escape from a fight, rather than taking it head on. Just Cause 2 could have used a dedicated cover system to better help me deal with the onslaught of bad guys. I mean, how many guys does this evil guerilla army employ anyways?

"...the collecting and protecting missions which just seem to drag on and on."


From time to time The Agency will contact you with missions you must take on in order to progress the story. Some of these missions, mostly the ones which rely on the game’s action mechanics are quite fun and enthralling, but there are others like the collecting and protecting missions which just seem to drag on and on. You’ll also find that your AI counterparts aren’t shy at all when it comes to wandering into a wall of gunfire.  The lesser missions seem to happen mostly in the game’s second act, and by that time you’ve already invested a fair amount of time into the title, it just feels like the momentum grinds to a halt.

If you don’t look too close, the island is stunningly beautiful. Towering mountains and crystal clear lakes dot brilliant set pieces that look great in 1080. However, if you take the time to look a little closer at the game’s visuals, you’ll notice a number of shortcuts the developers took.  There are obvious seams in some of the texture maps, invisible walls and some of the character animations are a bit off.  To most, Just Cause 2 will be visually stunning, as long as you don’t pay that close of attention.

Just Cause 2 isn’t a deep game, it’s not a game where you’ll find yourself drawn to the characters, story or locale, it’s just a silly and fun, balls to the wall action title that’s sure to be a sufficient time waster. It’s miles ahead of its predecessor but it’s still got a lot of room for improvement. 



CHEATS USED: Add Chaos, Unlimited Explosives, Grenades, Add Vehicle Parts, more

The most fun part of Just Cause 2 is the ability to earn Chaos points by causing as much destruction as possible. Why would I want a cheat to gain extra Chaos? Why strip the game of its most fun part?

Aside from the add chaos cheat, the Just Cause 2 trainer is a great addition to the game’s original features.  You literally have unlimited everything, including explosives and grenades. Really, what more could you ask for in a game that asks you to blow up as much as possible?

I also liked the cheat to add vehicle and weapon parts, as just as in life, variety is key to destruction.



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