Just Cause 2

by Crystal Dynamics for Windows Vista

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Massive open-world RPG

Just Cause 2 is a premium adventure experience from Square Enix and Avalanche Studios. Despite being originally released in 2010, this open-world experience remains the benchmark for all free-roaming games that came after it. With over 400 square miles of rugged terrain and hundreds of weapons and vehicles, you’re free to use whatever means to guide agent Rico Rodriguez in tracking his mentor in the island paradise that is Panau.

Combining the best parts of Grand Theft Auto V and Far Cry 4, Just Cause 2 is an immersive and enjoyable role-playing experience. You can also check out Just Cause.

A manhunt in an island paradise

Set four years after the events of the first Just Cause game, Just Cause 2 once again controls agent Rico Rodriguez as he is sent into the island paradise of Panau. He’s tasked with finding his mentor and handler, Tom Sheldon, who has been suspected of working with the local dictator Pandak “Baby” Panay. To proceed, the player then allies with three criminal gangs to obtain weapons and information to complete his mission and unveil a sprawling conspiracy on the island.

Like its predecessor, this is a third-person action-adventure RPG that can be played any way the player likes. There are three types of missions. Agency Missions are the main story-driven tasks. Faction Missions help improve the player’s relationship with one of the three factions. Lastly, Stronghold Missions require the player to infiltrate local government bases and help the factions take over them. For every mission accomplished, players earn chaos points, which are used to advance the overall objective of bringing the corrupt regime down.

The standard in open-world gaming

As mentioned, Just Cause 2 has become instrumental in the open-world gaming genre. At the time of its release, it had a massive open-world map of over 400 square miles, plus an infinitely generated ocean surrounding Panau. It has a wide variety of landscapes and biomes such as jungles, mountains, and desert areas. Inhabited sections of the map include settlements and government structures that contain interactive elements, such as destructible properties that contain cash, weapons, armor, and other forms of collectibles.

Similar to the Wanted Levels of the Grand Theft Auto games, entering restricted areas or causing trouble generates Heat. This attracts hostility from government units, gradually decreasing as the player avoids the enemies. Another point of interest in this game is the wide variety of interactive vehicles available. Hijack trucks, skim the waters in a jetski, or jump from a helicopter—the gameplay possibilities are virtually endless. You can even use your grappling hook to slingshot your way out of most scenarios.

While it is massive and immersive, this game isn’t perfect. One of its biggest flaws is its driving mechanic, which players report as clunky. Although it appears to work fine, considering the rugged terrain in most instances, it feels bad and unnatural in settlement areas. Also, new players should be warned about the game’s rather unusual key bindings, which feel unintuitive even for experienced RPG players. Lastly, players have also pointed out the deadpan voice acting, especially when compared to other AAA titles.

Aging well with time

Although released some time ago, Just Cause 2 still holds up pretty well. It has a massive open-world map and a gameplay premise complementing this feature. The game gives players the option to progress the story however they like, or not at all. With a lot of gameplay content and options, it creates the feeling of freedom and immersion within the stunning backdrops of Panau. While it has its share of setbacks, it’s still worth the try.