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Just Cause 2

The actual act of hijacking vehicles has become more involved in certain instances as well. If a vehicle has an armed guard in the passenger seat, Rico will have to deal with them first. Sometimes reaching in and wrestling with them happens through Quick-Time Events, but more interestingly, sometimes you’ll have a shootout, using the vehicle itself as cover. For instance, grappling up to a helicopter, Rico faces a copilot attempting to shoot him off. Hanging from the chopper’s nose, you can jump to either side of the cockpit to gain cover from the fire. Once an opening presents itself, a quick leap over and the copilot’s falling to an embarrassing doom.

While the first Just Cause mostly involved traipsing around jungles, the fictional Southeast Asian island of Panau in the sequel stretches the full range of climates, with deserts, snowy mountains, and a huge city to explore. Each climate has its own weather system, with a full day-night cycle rounding out the beautifully detailed vistas – we watched from a desert mountain peak as the sun set and a city several miles distant glittered with lights.

A world so big, pretty, and varied is begging to be explored, but with Chaos working as a reward, it also adds purpose to destroying it all. We couldn’t keep up with our note-taking – grapple tricks came and went so quickly we missed a number of them just writing down the ones we did see, and we could tell that creative use of both the grappling hook and parachute had many more applications, probably considerably more than the developers have even thought of.

Based on the simple aspect of rewarding random destruction with progression of the story, the devs have addressed one of the main complaints of the original game: exploring the world was great, but there wasn’t enough to do that mattered. The other part of having enough to do revolves around the side missions. We saw significant variety in the handful of story missions we witnessed, but we don’t know how well the side mission structure has been beefed up. Since the game world and mechanics looked just about finished, a fall release gives plenty of time to polish up the missions and make sure there’s more to do than random destruction and the main story missions, although from the look of it, that random destruction has so many possibilities this time around, it could keep players’ inner mercenaries occupied for quite a while.

Mar 31, 2009

Matthew Keast
My new approach to play all games on Hard mode straight off the bat has proven satisfying. Sure there is some frustration, but I've decided it's the lesser of two evils when weighed against the boredom of easiness that Normal difficulty has become in the era of casual gaming.