Just Cause 2: preview

Photobucket2006’s original Just Cause was basically an Xbox game ported onto the 360 and the PS2, riddled with bugs yet still rated as immensely enjoyable – more so by the gaming masses than the pro critics. Now, three years later, Avalanche come back to the table with a proper next gen version.

Rico returns, this time as the muscle with an unidentified agency. On Friday, Eidos unveiled the latest version of the game, giving us a small demo of both the 360 and PS3 versions. Although what was demoed were two entirely different missions taking place on two entirely different areas of the admittedly huge map (360 was a desert level, PS3 was lush jungle) the PS3 version looks to be the most visually accomplished. The map is being described by Eidos’ team as being ‘so big it’s the size of a crater on the moon’. And we’re talking a moon crater you can see with the naked eye here.

First impressions are all about the fun. The original version was praised for the parachuting and grappling hook thrills (which, according to Avalanche themselves, were late additions to the original game), and the new version has ramped them up threefold. The parachute is more maneuverable and the grappling hook has blossomed into a fully fledged tool. Whilst parachuting, you can hook onto any vehicle (including cars, motorbikes, boats, planes and helicopters) and parasail behind them. See an enemy and think he’s too far away? Smash it into his chest and yank him over to you to beat him to death. Better still, hook it into him and then attach the other end to a tree branch and leave him dangling there. Because it is now possible to attach the grappling hook to more than one thing. Thus you can hook one bad guy to another and then watch as they smash into each other painfully. In fact, currently the development team don’t know exactly what you can do with the hook. But they do know that it, along with the parachute, is the centrepeice of the game.

One of the coolest things I witnessed was Rico hooking an enemy to a gas cylinder and then shooting its valve, which caused it to rocket into the sky with the enemy still attached, screaming his head off right up to the moment the cylinder exploded and sent him to heaven.

You can basically use the hook and the parachute to move around the entire map and it may be possible that you’ll never need to walk or run again once you’re airborne. But that remains to be seen, and with only five minutes of hands on time, I still don’t really know how it feels to play. However, those few minutes expanded upon these stills massively. The sheer scale of the map suggest that you could forget about the mission aspect of the game entirely in favour of scouring the place for the best base jumping sites. Hurling yourself off the edge of some eyrie flecked precipice is breathtakingly fun.

So the positives are that visually it surpasses the last effort by miles, the grappling hook and parachute appear to be a barrel full of laughs, the map is enormous and should make the game’s length extend from the reported 6-8 hours bare minimum to finish to 60+ hours of gameplay if you attempt to complete every mission.

We don’t know too much about the vehicles yet, other than the fact that there are 100+ in game. One thing did come up, something I thought of after seeing that you can grapple onto cars and parasail off the back of them, and it’s this: there is no waterskiing…

Onto the negatives. The cut scenes don’t look particularly impressive, the voice acting is typical, hackneyed, videogame gubbins – cliched or so preposterous you wonder if the people doing them have ever actually heard another human being speak. There were still bugs – in the first two minutes of the demo, Rico falls to the floor dead and his feet inexplicably disappear into the ground – and there are still things that annoy (such as the fact that your parachute, and even you chopper’s blades, don’t get caught or even mildly effected by tree branches) but overall it’s more a case of who cares about the minor faults when the whole game itself reeks of top class gaming fun.

The main complaints from the original version, aside from all the bugs, were that the missions were too repetitive, the side missions were dull and the map had far too many empty areas that just weren’t worth investigating. So far I have no idea whether the same can be said for this latest incarnation, but I can say that it looks like a lot of fun to play.

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Written by Neil

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  1. KrazyFace /

    Looks like a good place to do some pointless collecting of shiny icons! Seriously, I like this idea, huge areas are great for it! For me though, this game will live or die by it’s control system for me, if it’s too fiddly to shoot stuff in the face while paragliding from the back of a speed boat, I’m out!!!

    Looks good so far though.

  2. I wish I could tell you but with only five minutes on it, it’s hard to tell.

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