Published on March 7th, 2010 | by Bryant Kazmerzak, Contributor
Just Cause 2 (Demo)
That statement alone makes me smile. It can be used for any reason, at any time. “Why did you rob the bank?”
“Why don’t you love me anymore?!”
Just Cause was a game released on September 22nd, 2006 for PC and several consoles. In a world of Grand Theft Autos, Saint’s Rows, and even Simpsons Hit & Run, Just Cause was, to many gamers, a wonderful deliverance. Offering 392 square miles of tropical terrain to explore, fly through, skydive, and blow up, Just Cause received many high praises, and, as of April 23, 2009, went on to sell more than 1 million copies.
Just Cause parachuted players onto a tropical island called San Esperito, where you, the player, controlled a CIA Black Ops agent by the name of Rico Rodriguez. I really don’t think Eidos could have made a more “extreme” sounding name without naming him “Machete”, but I digress. Once you got to the island, you began a regime-changing mission to overthrow the island’s dictator, Salvador Mendoza. If I remember correctly, there was something in there about a possible WMD, but it’s been way too long. In fact, I didn’t even pay much attention to the story; I was too busy blowing shit up, parachuting, blowing more shit up, and skyjacking helicopters.
The game offered a wonderful, if not slightly glitchy physics engine, and, on the 360, had some great graphics for the time.
Fast forward to last night; The Just Cause 2 demo finally hit on the Playstation Network! After a particularly long download, a sandwich, and a Red Bull, I was ready.
The first thing I noticed was that the UI was a lot more “modern” looking that the previous utilitarian UI from the first Just Cause. Instead of olive drab, they went with a look that feels a bit more like Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter than Just Cause. But, whatever. It looks nice!
When you start the game, there’s a couple cut scenes of Rico walking into a dark room with a woman named Bolo Santosi… And c’mon, that cannot be the name her mother gave her. After some rather pointless cutscenes, you get into the action, starting with a brief tutorial on how to navigate, shoot, use items, and use the grappling hook. Once you destroy the targets, and pick up the armor upgrade from on top of a house (Dont forget it!), you’re able to parachute down to any of several places and begin raising your own special brand of hell.
I mentioned it before – The grappling hook, once used just as a way to tether to cars while using your parachute, is now used a lot more proactively. Scenario: You’ve got a bad guy bearing down on your position, and you have 1 bullet. A bullet isn’t enough to kill him, so what do you do? Take aim at a gas cylinder, and hit (And hold!) L1. Aim over at the baddie, and release. Congrats, you’ve tethered a bad guy to an explosive cylinder! Now, shoot the cylinder, and watch and clap like a school child on pep pills and energy drinks as Just Cause 2’s revamped physics engine rockets the cylinder up into the air, taking the bad guy with it. Of course, the hook can also be used to zip from rooftop to rooftop (Think Arkham Asylum), and yank people and objects around, as well as help “steer” you in your parachute while you’re skimming about the ground.
When you destroy certain key targets – And you know what they are because they have a red and white star on them – you gain Chaos. Chaos progresses you to new missions, and also acts as a sort of points system. The more Chaos you have, the more havoc you’re wreaking. And for me, it also roughly equates to my happiness -> stress ratio. But the more missions you complete and the more settlements you liberate, the more money you make, which can then be used in the updated PDA system. Not only can you get a satellite view of the entire island (Which, in the full game, is actually a huge chain of islands), but you can also call in weapons deliveries, vehicle drops, and more… For a small fee, of course. In the demo, you can get grenades, SMG’s, pistols, a motorcycle, and even a helicopter air-mailed to you, which comes in handy, believe me. The first time you die (And you will die), you are taken back to the starting area, or, if you liberated a settlement, you are taken there if it’s closer.
The first time I played through, I was too distracted by other things to notice the pervasive timer that starts ticking down as soon as you leave the first starting area. That’s right, folks! Just like the first demo on the 360 way back when, you are racing the Sun! You have until sunset, or 30 minutes, to do what you need (or want) to do. Luckily, certain missions and challenges reward you with bonus time, such as the airplane race after you’ve liberated 2 settlements. Oh, and on a side note: The airplane controls take a wee bit of getting used to…
The graphics in this game are amazing. The character models may not be Heavy Rain or Final Fantasy XIII quality (And a damned shame, since it was published by Square Enix… Couldn’t they share their engine with Eidos?), but for the love of Old Glory, the terrain! I am a sucker for nice terrain! I mean, sure, youve got great mechanics, fun gameplay, and some wonderful physics, but if your terrain looks like a toddler went wild with a Cintiq and a copy of Maya, I dont want anything to do with the game. On the flip, if your terrain looks photorealistic down to the last detail, but the rest of the game is broken to hell, then Ill at least Gamefly it. Thankfully, the Avalanche 2.0 engine works wonders here.
The terrain and the locales look a hundred times better than the first game; In fact, they make GTA IV’s cityscapes and locales look like crap, in-my-honest-opinion.
The detail they put into things like vehicles and buildings truly shine; In fact, if you take a nice shiny sports car and decide to go off-roading with it, you’ll notice that the car will collect dirt, and things like the fenders and maybe a hubcap will fall off after repeatedly hitting large bumps or rocks. The buildings, while not completely destructible, take some decal damage when explosives hit them. Don’t worry, though; There are plenty of things to blow up! I mean, what’s the point of blowing up a settlement that you’re liberating from an oppressive governmental regime? You’re supposed to be a good guy, not a destruct-o-douche!
The sound effects are what you would expect them to be for a shoot ’em up, explosion rich, death and destruction sandbox game. Nothing really stands out to me, but thankfully it’s just a demo, with the full version currently slated for the end of March.
Will I be picking it up? Hell yes.
+ The physics make me want to man-squeal every time I rocket-tether a bad guy. Also: Try tethering 2 cylinders together and shooting both of them. Good times!
+ The graphics make me want to weep, not just because they’re purty, but because I dont have an HDMI cable for my PS3.
+ The parachuting/vehicle/grappling mechanics are wonderfully implemented, and I hope to see this sort of thing in other games, too (*Cough* GTA V *Cough-COUGH*)
+ Watching a sunset in game is about as close as seeing a real tropical sunset as I’ll ever get. /weep
– The sound effects could use a little more “oomph”. Theyre certainly a lot better than the first, but they arent quite as up to par with current gen games. Here’s hoping its just a case of “The Demo’s”.
– WTF is up with the timer? Seriously Eidos, you gave us a huge 32 square mile playground with guns, bombs, explosive shit, and people to shoot, but you limit us to 30 minutes? Its perplexing, and thats being kind.
Shaddz is a new editor at GAMINGtruth, and you can follow him and all of his NSFW shenanigans at http://www.twitter.com/shaddz