Just Cause 2 Preview

I was quite a fan of the original Just Cause when it came out late in 2006. While not without its problems, there was enough fun to be had in grappling, parachuting and exploding your way around the island of San Esperito to keep me going right to the end and the full 1000 gamerscore points. Even if there was that one building which you couldn’t blow up because whenever you tried you just walked straight through the wall.


JC2 Logo
Being a fan of the first game, I was naturally very interested when Square Enix invited Ready Up to their offices in Wimbledon to take a look at the sequel. When I arrived, they basically handed me the DualShock 2, said “have fun”, and left me to it for about five hours. Here are my impressions.

The plot, in brief, is as follows:

An evil dictator has taken over the island of Panau, and a fellow agent has disappeared in the area. Rico’s job is to get in there and sort everything out, mainly by BLOWING STUFF UP.

The new Ryanair "Cheap as Chips" package.
The new Ryanair "Cheap as Chips" package.

You must ingratiate yourself with the three local underworld gangs in order to obtain more information about the people you’re looking for. There are agency missions (advance the story), stronghold missions (expand the area of influence of one of the gangs and unlock more side missions) and side missions (races etc). In order to gain access to more agency missions, stronghold missions, and black market goods, you need to earn Chaos. You earn Chaos by BLOWING STUFF UP. In order to buy upgrades for weapons and vehicles, you collect upgrade parts from around the map and obtain them from completing missions. In order to buy the weapons and vehicles themselves, you need money. How do you get money? BLOW STUFF UP.

The grapple and parachute from the first game return, but have been significantly improved. The grapple can be used to haul Rico towards vehicles or buildings, or to pull enemies off high places to their death; there is also an additional mode which allows you to tether one thing to another, usually with hilarious results. It seems like pretty much anything in the game can be tethered to anything else, which means that the different ways in which you can torment your enemies are legion. Which is nice. You can also tether statues to vehicles to pull them down, tether cars to helicopters and smash them into stuff, and tether enemy vehicles to various bits of scenery in order to get them, rapidly, off your tail.

Sometimes, for a change, Rico liked to take the bus to work.
Sometimes, for a change, Rico liked to take the bus to work.

The parachute is now a stunt ‘chute which can be deployed and retracted at any time, and with practice this can be combined with the grapple to quickly vault into the air. This turns out to be pretty much the fastest way to get around an enemy base when you’re looking for more stuff to blow up. You can also, once the ‘chute is deployed, use the grapple to gain speed and altitude, and it’s possible to get around most of the island this way. I spent quite a bit of time just using the grapple to climb buildings, then jumping off them and faffing about with the parachute.

Another neat thing for the more OCD-inclined of us is the near-constant updating of statistics at the top of the screen; hang kills (tethering enemies to buildings and then shooting them), juggle kills (yanking enemies towards you and then shooting them), headshots, unique vehicles driven, petrol stations exploded, there seem to be statistics for practically anything you can do in the game and it will keep you up to date on how well or how many of them you’ve done.

A lot of fun can be had simply by failing in hilarious ways, like spending several minutes grappling my way up a tall mountain so I could BASE jump off it, only to be smeared across a ridge that was slightly higher than it had looked from above. Or when, during an early mission, I set myself up to pilot a helicopter right up to the side of a building, leap out, and grapple in through a window in a totally awesome fashion, but entirely missed with the grapple and went sailing past the side of the building looking decidedly less than awesome.

It occurred to Steve that today was probably going to be one of those days.

I did find that, on occasion, aggressive use of the grapple and/or parachute could lead to Rico being stuck inside some scenery; hopefully this will be fixed in the final version. Other than that, Just Cause 2 looks like it should be splendid fun and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on it.


Just Cause 2 is due for release on the 26th of March.







One response to “Just Cause 2 Preview”

  1. John avatar

    I might have missed something here… do we get the chance to blow anything up??
    Sounds like fun!

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