For my birthday, I will be asking for a grappling hook and an infinite supply of parachutes. And possibly the ability to defy the laws of biology by surviving falls from insane heights. It works for Rico Rodriguez and I think it could work for me.
I mean, it could
, couldn't it? Just because it gets a bit tedious in Just Cause 2
doesn't mean it will in real life, does it?
Just Cause 2
follows largely in the footsteps of its predecessor, so if you played the first one
you can skip to the next paragraph. You play as James Bond/John McClane/Batman/Clint Eastwood/Antonio Banderas/Mad Max, aka Rico Rodriguez. He's a specialist in regime change and jumping off things that are quite high up, so that's what you're going to be doing. You're off to Panau, where your agency overlords (assume you work for the CIA) are unhappy about the new president. They're also unhappy about the fact that your old mentor, Tom Sheldon (the world's most American American) is looking like he's gone rogue and may have defected.
The game takes the form of an open world action/adventure with heavy third-person shooter elements. The open world in question is a small island nation. The action and adventure involves driving around the place, using a grappling hook and making use of your portable parachute maker (I'm speculating here, Rico may have some other method of producing an endless supply of parachutes).
I'd best talk about that, since Square Enix/Eidos clearly thinks that having a grappling hook and parachute is the best thing about the whole game. They are right. They're just not really as much fun as the publisher wants you to think.
You've got this grappling hook, which the in-game help tells you there are lots of uses for. There's the obvious ? latching on to things and reeling yourself in to either get up high or just move about a bit quicker. You can also use it to get yourself a bit of speed up and then pop your parachute, thus gliding serenely across the landscape a darn site faster than you would plodding along on your two little legs.
Both these grapple applications are useful and, more importantly, fun. Zipping around the place and getting easy access to high ground adds an extra (welcome) dimension to the game and gives it something to separate it off from other open world and third-person adventure offerings.
You can also use the grapple offensively. Latching on to someone in a guard tower and yanking them off ensures a quick, clean kill that doesn't deplete your ammo reserves. You might also use it for a 'grapple lash', which is actually just a bog-standard melee attack that doesn't even extend your reach.
Eidos has also made a bit of a song and dance about the 'double tethering' feature of the grapple. This enables you to fasten two things together. As far as I can tell, it's pretty much useless, aside from the in-game introduction to it in which you grapple a tractor to a car then pull the car out of a ditch. I think there's probably a crowd out there that's into tow truck simulation, but I don't think they're buying Just Cause 2
. The theory in combat is that you can do things such as tether soldiers to things like moving vehicles and each other to hilarious effect. In practice, it's far easier to shoot them in the face. I mean, it's nice to have the option to grapple them to a moving truck, but it's just too fiddly in practice.