Just Cause 2 Review

Written by Joe Martin

March 25, 2010 | 09:52

Tags: #destruction #just-cause-2 #open-world #review #sandbox #third-person-shooter

Companies: #eidos #square-enix

Cause and Effect

The Agency missions though are a phenomenon completely unto themselves, proving such a mixed bag of greatness and failure that it’s hard to come to a judgement. Unlocked only after you’ve caused a set amount of Chaos points, Agency missions move the storyline along by a notch or two and are generally a lot longer and more scripted than anything else Just Cause 2 offers.

Unfortunately, for every good Agency mission there’s usually another really bad or terribly balanced one waiting around the corner. You never know whether you’re going to get the fun of charging an atomic sub, dodging missiles on a frozen lake and trying to rescue an informant, or the disappointment of a boring shooting gallery.

Just Cause 2 makes it clear it isn’t supposed to be taken seriously and it’s easy to go along with the insanity of it all because it’s so much fun. All too often the Agency missions break that balance though, so when a crazed Russian gets his tank airlifted onto the top of a hotel and surrounds himself with landmines then it all starts to fall apart, because it’s just not fun to fight through these bits and Just Cause 2 slips from being hilariously OTT to just annoying and stupid.

Just Cause 2 Review Just Conclusions
The graphics are stunning

Progressing through the game without completing a huge number of missions is easily possible, as you can accrue Chaos by just blowing up villages and oil pipelines instead of running errands, but it’s a slower and much more repetitive task. Finding and destroying every watertower in a mountainside town can be a laborious process and it’s hard to find the stamina sometimes. Even then, Agency missions are obligatory if you want to complete the game.

What eventually saves Just Cause 2 from this mire of hit and miss quests is the sheer scale of it all, coupled with the few standout exceptions to the rule. Occasionally you hit a gem of a job, such as having to destroy a rising satellite before it hits the stratosphere. That job in particular was a landmark moment in our time with Just Cause 2 because it let us get high enough to see how really big Just Cause 2’s world is. It’s massive.


There are dozens of tiny islands and rivers, huge deserts, giant mountains and three or four sizeable cities to go a’grappling in. Granted, none of them are as brimming with unique content as GTA IV’s equally colossal cities – you can’t stop to catch a show in downtown Panau – but they do afford much more room for tomfoolery. Swooping off of skyscrapers and using your grapple to fling passers-by into the air never gets old, whereas Ricky Gervais’ motion captured schtick starts to grate very quickly.

While Just Cause 2’s openness and freedom is definitely it’s biggest selling point though, it’s also a bit of a critical conundrum. Boil it all down and the major design elements are shallow and poorly done; combat especially, but also the quick-time driven vehicle hijacks and samey majority of missions. At the same time though, well…you’ve got a grappling hook and infinite parachutes!

What makes Just Cause 2 shine is the fact that players are innately anarchic and that the weapons function as a toolbox for embracing that – not the level of polish with which the game has been assembled.

There are far better story driven shooters out there if you’re primarily interested in fighting, but if you’re willing to step away from the beaten path though and motivate yourself to see what Just Cause 2 has to offer then you’ll have a lot of fun. It’s far better to be driven by the curiosity of what’s on the next island than the barked orders of a Texan stereotype and it's far more fun to spend time messing around with the grappling hook than actually trying to follow the storyline.

Just Cause 2 Review Just Conclusions

Just Cause 2 - Recommended

Score Guide

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