Top 100 Games – 100 – Just Cause 2

10 Feb

Welcome to GameGameBlog’s Top 100 games of all time. It starts here, and is very likely to end at number 1.

Just Cause 2
Year: 2010
Genre: Action/Adventure

Just Cause 2 probably won’t be remembered as a classic, it was overlooked by the gaming media on release and had a mixed reaction from players. Too big, too empty a world and boring repetitive missions were some of the main complaints. To call Just Cause 2’s world boring however, is beyond ridiculous. Yes it’s huge, but also astonishingly detailed, full of creative flourishes and some of the best visuals yet seen. It’s not even that the graphics are great, it’s how they’re used. While other graphical powerhouses like Killzone 2 throw all that power into realistic dirt and grey brick, Just Cause 2 portrays a tropical paradise, with snow-capped peaks giving way to balmy jungle and golden beaches. Even the large city gleams, full of reflective glass and colourful vehicles. The fact that the game can look so impressive with an enormous map, bigger than in any other sandbox game, is astounding, a feat which in itself marks Just Cause 2 out from the crowd.

Breathtaking Views

The best thing about the game though, is the fact that this enormous space is your playground. The sky becomes the limit in a very real sense as you climb mountains, fly planes and base jump from snow to sandy shore. Along the way there’s a grappling hook which allows quick movement – as well as an innovative way to deal with enemies. Imagination is paramount to the enjoyment of Just Cause 2. It is a game which rewards experimentation. The simplistic missions are a blank canvas on which to paint absurd solutions. You could shoot the bad guy escaping in a helicopter from the ground, maybe find a helicopter of your own and give chase. But why do that when you can grapple onto a gas canister, ignite it, fly rapidly into the air only to leap off and skydive onto the escaping chopper? It’s tremendously entertaining, but only if you take the time to enjoy it, which explains why some were underwhelmed.

Just Cause 2 is unapologetic fun and brilliantly ridiculous. Its story was criticised also, but the writers appeared to be having as much fun as the developers. With tongues firmly in cheek, America, Russia, China and Japan are lampooned. Your enemies are caricatures of 80’s movie villains, a highlight being a boss fight with an over-the-top Russian in a tank on a skyscraper roof. This is followed by your American ally offering a margarita amidst explosions, and speaking in a thick Texan accent about being as ‘American as Apple Pie’. It’s not a story to be taken seriously, nor should the game in general. Just Cause 2 is clearly a labour of love from a development team who just wanted to offer the sandbox we’ve asked for since GTA 3. It’s just a pity so few people knew how to enjoy the simple thrill of causing chaos in as many ways as possible.

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