It's no secret that I love how Just Cause 2 is coming along. I last previewed it back in November, and I had a lot to say about it then. Last time however, I was given two or three specific missions to play though. Today, I was allowed to run through the entire game at my leisure, straight from the opening cutscene.
It's from that action-packed intro that I immediately understand where Avalanche is heading with Just Cause 2
. Starring an international secret agent with a bad accent called Rico, my mission is to find missing operative Tom Sheldon, in the fictional island of Panau. It's feared that Sheldon's gone rogue, and working against the organisation Rico works for; making him a very dangerous man.
Sheldon's my needle, in other words – whereas the haystack is a huge, expansive open world populated with forests, snowy peaks, beaches, and long stretches of highway connecting them. Fortunately for the anarchist within me, the island is run by untouchable dictator Baby Panay, and I have free reign to blow the shit out of everything I see with his face on.
Basically, it's a video game version of an Arnold Schwarzenegger film on steroids. I care not for the plot, which serves to essentially link me from action scene to action scene, and the cheesily voiced cutscenes simply add to the anarchic fun. The real pleasure in playing Just Cause 2
is in causing ultimate chaos.
The awesome catchphrases and Commando
-esque banter in the opening scene are quickly cut short when the helicopter Rico is on is attacked, and memory cards go flying into enemy territory. Those cards contain top secret data, so it's my immediate goal to get them back. You can call this a tutorial stage, in a sense, but that doesn't mean to say the game goes easy on you – sit around for too long and you get swarmed by enemy soldiers.
The travelling between memory cards proved to double as an introduction to the parachute and grapple hook, and how the two can be used in tandem to cross large distances. The map gives a good indication where to go next, and an on-screen distance meter reads the proximity to the next destination.
Ultimately, beating enemies down, throwing them off of cliffs with the grapple hook and gunning them down whilst parachuting above them was a riot, but not particularly challenging. It was when Rico obtained the last memory card and called for a rendezvous with the helicopter where things got messy.
Waves of soldiers charged towards me as I headed into an area containing two turrets. These needed to be destroyed before I could hope for an evac, and even after that I had to hold my own against reinforcements that included dudes on tank turrets. It wasn't pretty. Escape from there, and I was on to my next mission – a rescue for an operative called Karl Blaine, who has information on where Sheldon is.
Held captive in a casino and about to be killed for crimes against the dictatorship, I was given ample chance to try out the grapple hook and its double tether at length (so to speak). Press the grapple button and you can pull objects – and enemies – towards you, and hold the button to target another object – or enemy – to fling them into each other.
It takes some getting used to, particularly if you pull yourself up to a high ledge with the grapple hook and then open your parachute to get some air. Maybe I'm just rubbish at air-based controls (I'm never any good at Ace Combat
and the like) but I had a hard time directing myself around on the parachute.