Sunday, December 9, 2012

Just Cause 2 review


    Why do the Panau hate our freedom?

    Gold?

    Lust for power?

    Maybe they simply were born with a heart full of Panuanity.

    Just Cause 2 is the game of absolute gonzo game-play with a surprisingly clever social satire to boot, which I appreciate. The premise of the game is Rico Rodriguez is an agent of the CIA (except it's never referred to it as that for reasons that will become obvious) who is sent to a small South Pacific island nation to overthrow the newly installed dictator.

     It seems said dictator isn't returning the United States' calls and Uncle Sam doesn't like that. It helps that said dictator, Baby Panay, is a combination of Jean-Claude Duvalier and Kim Jong Il so you shouldn't feel too bad about overthrowing him. Of course, the means of overthrowing him are built around allying with three utterly scummy criminal revolution groups and destroying the various state-owned industries. Said industries include rocket launchers, gas stations (!), military outposts, water supplies (!!), and power plants.

It's doubtful you're thinking of geo-politics when you're blowing up the Panua military.
      A game of moral uprightness this is not. The thing is that the Grand Theft Auto series initially included a great deal of social satire before it decided to play itself straight. The only way they thought plays could justify being an unrepentant criminal was if they were in a world composed of equally unpleasant people. Just Cause 2 takes that premise and applies it to politics. No one actually cares about Marxism, capitalism, ethnic tribal identity, or any of the other ideologies they espouse in this game.

     Virtually everyone in Panua is after personal wealth, power, and fame with the island's "secret resource" attracting the attention of the world's various powers. What secret resource is it? Actually, I'm not sure it was supposed to be a secret. The CIA doesn't know Panua has it but the island littered with fuel depots, pipelines, and refineries where this secret resource is turned into gasoline.

    Hmm, I wonder if it could be.

    The satire in Just Cause 2 is pretty obvious. It's downright brilliant in places. This is the only game in the history of the world where you have CIA-backed communist rebels, ninjas, the Russian mob, and Japanese Imperialists all in one game. The only thing missing is Nazis and I'm not sure they would be redundant given the way the Panua military handles things.

    Basically, it takes offensive realpolitik and sets it all to the awesomeness of a 80s action movie including insane stunts and endless piles of corpses. The game would be horrible if it was played remotely seriously but it's not and, as a result, is delightful.

    The game's play-style is somewhat similar to Saint's Row, except it includes a number of extra features that make things more ridiculous. The first is the addition of a grapple hook and an infinite number of parachutes. The grapple hook can be fired like Batman's and is one of the fastest means of traveling around Panau. You can also use them to hijack cars and helicopters.

Hijacking helicopters with grappling hooks!
    The game includes many scaling adventures with the option of parachuting off skyscrapers and out of planes on a regular basis. The game's relationship to physics is such you can actually use the grapple to go to the ground faster after jumping out of a plane and not take any damage. The cars handle horribly but I'm pretty sure they're supposed to crash routinely.

     The game world, itself, is absolutely gorgeous as well as huge. There's over four hundred square miles of territory. I've seen snowy mountains, jungles, isolated villages, deserts, and towering skyscrapers. I would have liked to have gone into several of the buildings but the terrain is just about note perfect.

     If there's any flaws, it is that it is difficult to travel around the territory and some of the missions are repetitive but this is a small complaint about an otherwise flawless game.

     This is a fun, action-packed, explosive game with plenty of opportunity to annihilate large portions of Panuan real-estate. I'm only a third through the game and I've already slain 800 enemy soldiers and single-handedly destroyed eight military bases.

     In conclusion, I give this game a hearty 10/10.

1 comment:

  1. I knew you would like it. You forgot it is a very pretty game with lots of different locals to blow stuff up in. City, jungle, desert, snowy mountaintops, and of course pristine oceans. Just Cause 3 is reportedly already in the works.

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