Graphics:
6.9
Gameplay:
7.0
Sound:
6.5
Control:
6.0
Replay Value:
7.0
Overall Rating:
6.9
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Square-Enix
Developer:
Avalanche Studios
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Action


We present to you yet another dual review, where I (Arnold) and Ben tell you exactly why Just Cause 2 is a pretty big bag of hyperbole. While a solid concept and idea, it's ultimately lacking in execution and is marred by a grapevine of flaws that really detract from the whole experience. As usual, Ben covers the gameplay while I close up with graphics, sound, and the conclusion. Kick it, Benny.

Over the past few weeks or so, I’ve read some raving testimonials concerning the apparently excellent and even addictive action in Just Cause 2 . Furthermore, because I’m such a big fan of Grand Theft Auto , the concept of this anticipated sequel really does appeal to me; the idea of destroying half the world and having the freedom to do it any which way is indeed intoxicating. However, despite the massive potential and the obvious entertainment value (when everything decides to work well together), I just can’t get past the glaring flaws that plague this adventure from the start. It’s not a good sign when I can’t seem to play for thirty consecutive minutes without coming across a huge drawback that greatly hinders the inherently high fun factor. The good news is that the game is better than the sum of its parts, provided you can manage to overlook the shortcomings, which I’m about to explain. The question is, are those “holy sh**, look at that!” moments enough to override the moments when you feel slighted by wonky controls?

Trust me, I’m a huge proponent of having fun; if the technicals and other aspects aren’t so hot but the game remains hugely entertaining, I’m willing to make an exception. But when so many issues pile up before my eyes, I just can’t ignore them. First of all, the core mechanic really isn’t that great. The controls aren’t as smooth or as fluid as one would’ve liked and they tend to alternate between clunky and loose. The grappling hook is an insanely cool feature for such a game and while it does work rather well, scaling walls with it is just plain annoying. For instance, early on, you have to climb the outside wall of a tall casino and you essentially have to climb in short jerks; you can only aim so far up the wall when attached to it. How come we couldn’t just leap away from the wall and aim up higher when in mid-air? Why can we only jump from our position in certain situations? This being said, the range and functionality of this tool is really quite awesome and you will find hundreds of uses for it throughout the game. Therefore, I really can excuse the wall-climbing issue…to some extent.

But there are other negative factors to discuss. Neither the graphics or sound are impressive – as I’m sure Arnold is about to tell you – and the combination of the lame dialogue, silly story and terrible voice acting really detracts from the presentation. Then there are the gameplay errors and glitches: the collision detection just isn’t right, especially when it comes to your melee attack, and the loose aiming control could’ve used the help of a lock-on feature. And why does the fire button only seem to work occasionally when holding an automatic weapon? Why do I have to press it twice to get it to do anything? That’s very irritating and apparently only affects certain weapons. Lastly, there’s the AI, which is just a joke. Enemies use no tactics or strategy, rarely use cover to their advantage, and apparently have no eyes when you’re not the primary target. Early on, there’s a mission where you have to escort a guy through the streets with authorities giving chase. When we came to a stop, I was able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with an enemy without ever attracting notice.

That’s not an exaggeration; I easily stood there and wandered around the gunfight, waiting for any enemy to take notice and fire in my direction. But none ever did. I won’t say anything more about that but we’ll move right along to the destruction aspect of the game. It’s plenty fun and you’ll always be looking for things to blow up – and really, you have to in order to achieve the highest percentage completion – but it’s not like the entire environment is destructible. There are only certain pieces that can go boom and while there is some strategy in trying to string explosions together, it’s a bit less intense than I had anticipated. Now that I’ve outlined all the downsides – much to the chagrin of the fans, I’m sure – I will take the requisite time and talk about what the game does well, which of course involves the freedom, size and scope, and almost limitless options for player ingenuity. As some of you already know, one receives a great deal of satisfaction from a properly executed assault on a military base and when it’s left in ashes and you saunter away, you just feel…all warm and toasty inside.

It’s true. Being able to leap from helicopter to helicopter, double hook your diverse tool to a foe and an explosive object, skydive from great heights, ride like a daredevil on vehicles, and deploy your parachute just about any time you have enough momentum is all super fun and sits directly in the limelight for Just Cause 2 . It’s just ceaseless, often comical, lunacy and it’s well worth a big effort to be all creative. Plus, the gigantic size of the world map is so daunting, it’s almost begging you to continually explore and find new places and installations, almost always with the aim of causing large amounts of chaos. Stringing together big explosions nets you a big ol’ Chaos chain, in fact, and the entire process can be very, very rewarding. It’s all the more rewarding because you know you are responsible for generating that entertainment value; you weren’t forced along a particular path and told exactly how to complete an objective. Nope, the freedom is the addictive part and I understand that. But in the end, I have difficulty enjoying it with all the gameplay and control flaws I continually experienced. Sorry, JC2 fans.

Right, so then we move to the visuals and such. When I first saw Just Cause 2 months ago at a Sony event in NYC, I wasn't impressed. But, as always, I have to give these games the benefit of the doubt and assume that by the time they arrive, they'll look better. Now when a publisher is ready to show off a game, 99% of the time that's exactly how it'll look when it comes time for its release. Some developers fix up a few framerate issues, and if a game sees a lengthy delay, they usually go in and fix a lot more than just that. But between December 2009 and March 2010, nothing really got fixed for Just Cause 2. The game is a mess with texture pop-up that literally transforms completely untextured objects right in front of you. Buildings go from looking like plain sticks get their textures rendered in the middle of a cut-scene…yikes. There is some okay lighting work, but overall texture quality leaves a lot to be desired, and character detail falls way behind not just some of the PS3's best, but numerous other multiplatform games altogether. Framerate is acceptable, but it can hit a snag here and there, making this game an overall displeasing title to look at.

The audio, as Ben mentions, is hard to bear at times. In particular, the voice acting is bad. And by bad, I mean pretty bad. The voice actor behind our protagonist does his absolute best (read: worst) Spanish accent and it's pretty painful to listen to; it's like a mix of Gambit and Tony Montana, just 'ugh'. The rest of the voice actors don't do a better job, and the crappy dialogue doesn't help makes things any better. Then there are pivotal things like the sound effects, which in an all-out explosive game like JC2 should rip holes in your speakers, but they don't. The sound in JC2 left me feeling underwhelmed, and I walked away bored by not just the gameplay, but also by the entire technical package. Shame.

So, all in all, this just isn't worth the coin. We're not quite sure where some of the praise for this game is coming from, but Ben and I both felt as if it was just a premature reaction to the whole "wow, exploration and explosion"-factor. And that leads me to this point: Just Cause 2's exploration and destruction isn't even that in-depth; it's quite generic, actually. Last year's unfortunately overlooked Red Faction: Guerrilla was far more explosive and destructive than Just Cause 2, not to mention an overall better looking, playing, sounding, and interesting game. So there you have it, if you want exploration and proper destruction, get Red Faction: Guerrilla.

Subscribe
Notify of
74 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
wakkaoaka
wakkaoaka
11 years ago

I was really disappointed when i played the demo. Only played the game once and it wasnt fun at all. So much potential though 🙁

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

That's a shame, all I hear about it from PSXE people is good things. I was hoping to pick it up a little cheaper. This is tough to hear though because Red Faction was just completely vapid.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 4/10/2010 7:50:13 PM

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

Well since RedDead is coming out in a month and has multiplayer I suggest you just wait for that so we can play online together.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Dunno man, wasn't thinking a full price purchase on that either, I still have a long way to go in White Knight, just bought GOWIII, and I have some backlogging to do. We shall see. I can afford it technically, but I tend to be careful with the money, it's how I get by.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
11 years ago

thats smart of you world. as much as id like to see you play red dead, i understand.

BTW I checked out that MP trailer for Red Dead, and it suddenly was a day one purchase for me. It sounds like fun, and thats what i want from a game right now is fun. Im really excited for 2 games dropping soon, That is Mod Nation Racers and now Red Dead. I just kinda wanna get brought back to something i can sit down with a few friends, have some laughs and enjoy. Thanks LV for sharing that Red Dead had MP im in need of a game involving that aspect, especially in an open world! I may have not known til it was too late!

Ogibillm
Ogibillm
11 years ago

it should be noted that you can pick up red faction: guerilla for $20 at walmart now. a great deal on a fun game.

Bugzbunny109
Bugzbunny109
11 years ago

I played the demo and wasn't impressed. I am not suprised it recieved a 6.9.

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

WTF !! do u even know how to play the game ben. i am really enjoying this game i give it a 8.0 at least. by the way j/k on the do u know how to play the comment.

off topic
quick question, i am getting a xbox 360 monday should i get the pro or elite verison

MadKatBebop
MadKatBebop
11 years ago

Get the Elite, its much better. And if u want to u can get the Splinter Cell 360 bundle and save at least $150.


Last edited by MadKatBebop on 4/10/2010 8:48:02 PM

leatherface
leatherface
11 years ago

@ bigdog, make sure you get a warranty too.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Get another PS3 or a PSP instead.

FullmetalX10
FullmetalX10
11 years ago

I agree with World, why waste your money, when you can put it into PS3 games.


Last edited by FullmetalX10 on 4/11/2010 10:57:35 AM

FM23
FM23
11 years ago

I knew this game wasn't that great once you sat down and actually played it. It does seem fun, but Borderlands was fun too, but that was a bad game if I might say. No story and cheap difficulty. Red Faction Guerilla is a great game. I rented it, beat it…then I bought it so I c could play the damn thing again…its fun and the story is cool if you aren't expecting something great. The game is difficult though, and I mean cheap difficult especially the end.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
11 years ago

Wow, just wow.
And after all the great times a lot of people said earlier, thatthey were having from the demo.
I was expecting somewhere around a 9.3 to 9.5.

Oh well, I still want this game, but I'll wait till all the sales price hyperbole also wanes too.

Club80
Club80
11 years ago

I didn't really enjoy the demo, because the controls weren't very intuitive. I had the game Gamefly'ed for a while, and actually forgot about it being on my queue. However, I put a little time into it, got the controls down, and have since lost many an hour to the game. It's incredibly fun…for me.

I haven't put a lot into the campaign. Just going around blowing crap up is ridiculously fun! I understand the qualms Arnold and Ben have with it though. Another good and fair review!


Last edited by Club80 on 4/10/2010 9:12:55 PM

Naztycuts
Naztycuts
11 years ago

This is the 1st review I disagree with some of you guys' point's on. I do agree that the AI is a joke the Hardcore setting feels like Normal difficulty on any other game and they are idiots. I also agree that we've seen far better visuals in games and the sound isn't "speaker ripping" by any means. The story was a cheesefest, but I think they did that on purpose I could see casting 1 or 2 bad voice actors in minor roles but when the majority of your characters sound stereotypically bad I think it's there for comedic relief it just seems to me as if it fits with the overall theme of the game I dont think they were taking themselves too seriously. I'm at 88% completion trophywise and I haven't seen the buildings loading in the middle of the cutscenes not once, I've noticed this problem many many times in Madden 10 though with all the characters on the sidelines being 00 and their faces loading in the middle of a close-up with their horse teeth. Once you familiarize yourself with the grappling hook/parachute combo it's easy to travel great distances vertically or horizontally, also if you look up the building just right you can angle the grappling hook to climb great distances rather easily (no insult to your playing skills intended it just seemed like you described it as looking straight up). The game's loaded with easter eggs from hot air balloons to bubble guns to the Lost hatch. How many developers this generation care enough about their games or the people playing them to put crazy stuff in there as fan service (free ice cream truck dlc came out yesterday too)? We're lucky to even get games on time more and more this generation it seems, even this game was delayed, but I'm pleased with the product I received. I realize that not everyone will agree with all of your reviews all of the time I just wanted to express my thoughts on the subject. The fun factor in this game is just stellar IMO, I must say I was surprised that such a fun game got such a low score, you guys are tough critics, but I respect that given the amazingly good (and bad) games you guys have reviewed in your careers.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Sounds like you agree more than disagree.

Naztycuts
Naztycuts
11 years ago

@World
They hide behind the thumbs down button, only striking when you state your opinion! Grab your sword(s)!

VicTheMighty
VicTheMighty
11 years ago

LoL personnally I am having a blast with the demo hooking myself to gas tanks and rocketing my way to the clouds till I blow up. 😀 I could do that ALL DAY lol

SSRGohan
SSRGohan
11 years ago

i need to try that sounds like fun, i love taking away their helicopters, this game reminds me a lot of mercenaries 2 but more glitchy

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

I love the game. Sure there are better looking games out there and the storyline is a joke but the game is fun and I've never been bored. With a game this size I expect there to be bugs here and there. I'm 70+hrs in and I'm still having fun.

Sorry neither of you have enjoyed the game as much as I have. For those still on the fence as always rent it then decide if it deserves a purchase.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
11 years ago

Got to agree with you there, I haven't played this game yet, but with something the size of Fallout 3 I could easily forgive the many bugs. I suspect I would in this game too.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

Well I'm really split on this. I've been playing the game for over 75 hours. I never had the load issues during video, but I can believe it. The graphics aren't overly impressive, and there are some weird graphical errors, but not that often.

As for the controls, I found that all that was necessary was a slight tweaking, turning the x movement down by 10, and the controls were easy to get the hang of. Also turning crouch to toggle instead of holding l3. I noticed you gave control a 6 and that is one thing I really have to disagree on. Granted tweaking the controls is necessary to obtain a comfortable control setting.

The sound, yeah not impressive, actually lacking really. Hardly ever any music.

As for gameplay I have to disagree again. While 7 is decent, the gameplay on this is some of the best fun I've ever had. Gameplay would get a 9.5 from me.

I'd give it good replay too, who gets tired of pulling off wacky tricks and blowing stuff up.

While 6.9 is technically a decent score, I'm fine admitting the game has its issues, but it still has a lot of strengths. After over 70 hours of gameplay and getting all but 2 trophies, I'd have to give the game an 8, its just too much fun to pass up.

For those interested I've uploaded over 30 vids from the game of me playing. Doing some challenges, blowing up bases, and pulling off some fun stunts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn9u0tFEU7E

Hope you enjoy, I sure had fun making them.

Hezzron
Hezzron
11 years ago

I figured as much. I won't bother with this stinker then. Life's too short to play six-point-niners.


Last edited by Hezzron on 4/11/2010 12:39:02 AM

Alienange
Alienange
11 years ago

Take a look at other reviews before passing judgement. PSXE has not done gamers a favor with this review.

Hezzron
Hezzron
11 years ago

Hmmm….you're right. GameRankings is showing an average score of around 85 for this game. That's a huge discrepancy from here. Odd.

Jed
Jed
11 years ago

That is disappointing. But I still think I'll give it a try. A lot of people seem to like it just fine thank you.

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

I love it personally. None of the graphical glitches have ever hindered gameplay and some of them are just funny. Since the dialogue and story are hilarious it just kinda adds to laughter.

bigrailer19
bigrailer19
11 years ago

I kind of had a feeling its more hype than anything. I understand some people liking it, i mean shoot my roomate plays the demo all the time, but me its meh! I feel like it tried to hard and accomplished nothing. Thats just me and I'll pass.

Irievibes
Irievibes
11 years ago

keep in mind though, that most of this is fixable..

I.E. controls, pop in, etc.

maybe the sounds and music factors, cant be easily patched, neither the AI , but the controls and such could easily be fixed with a patch down the line, who knows, i had a lot of fun with demo but im busy with gow3 titan mode atm, that dam cerberus before 3 judges is kiking my butt!! (STOP SPITTING PUPPIES!!)

Naztycuts
Naztycuts
11 years ago

Kick them!

Irievibes
Irievibes
11 years ago

i know!!! but by the time you cut off the 2nd head , its kind of hard with the goat/scythe guys, 2 of em, puppies and cerberus , by that time im usually one hit away from death, gotta get to that phase with more HP!! but its fun i like hard!

furbiesmustdie
furbiesmustdie
11 years ago

Look the fact of the matter is tying a propane tank to a bystander and then sending them both flying is fun. 6.9 for one of the biggest, most fun sandbox game on the market to date? For shame I say.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

agreed

kraygen
kraygen
11 years ago

I'm with you, game had some minor issues, but nothing that hurt the amazing fun factor.

___________
___________
11 years ago

WTF a 7?
this gets a 7 and GTAIV gets a 10?
i dunno what to say to that, but that is exactly why i dont base reviews on purchases anymore.

this is whats wrong with the industry these days, developers strive out and create something different and journalists shoot them down!
THIS! is why we have nothing but mindless WWII shooters!

just cause 2 is a FANTASTIC! game. why? SIMPLE!

it does not take itself too seriously, it just has a good old laugh and says what would be fun and chucks it in, who cares if its totally unrealistic if its fun its in!
thank you eidos for making a game thats fun, not one that takes itself so seriously everything has to be 100% realistic otherwise it does not go in.
i thought games were suppose to be fun, and thats what just cause 2 is one sh*t load bag of fun!
the graphics are shite though unfortunately, but who gives a two hoots when the gameplay is so much fun?

the only thing they need to change is the mission structure.
nothing is more frustrating than having to unlock a side mission, and having to unlock a side mission to a side mission.
you have to do agency missions but before you can do those you have to do faction missions, but before you can do those you need to cause enough chaos to unlock them.
its unlock, to unlock, to unlock, to unlock!
its like having a key to a lock, just to find another key to another lock, to find another key to another lock!
for fu*ks sake where does it end!

spruce up the graphics, put in a proper mission structure system, (like the one out of infamous)
and give it a decent story and you have the perfect open world game!


Last edited by ___________ on 4/11/2010 2:44:04 AM

Zorigo
Zorigo
11 years ago

If they make a Just Cause 3 with improvements to story, controls and possibly mission system (to me their mission system worked alright) and upgrade graphics (perhaps they could give Naughty Dog a ring) it would be awesome.

___________
___________
11 years ago

sure would be!
o, and upgrade the grapple hook too.
the whole point of just cause 2 is for fun factor, and as the saying goes if its worth doing its worth over doing!
the hook could reach decent distances, but why not ramp it up a little?
i found myself constantly re adjusting the camera trying to find that sweet spot so i could deploy the hook and lunge me forward.

Zorigo
Zorigo
11 years ago

to be honest i think the hook distance was enough.
too much and it would have been ridiculous (altho i grant that is the premise of the game) maybe more distance, but i think it was fine, especially as you could use it for a smaller distance, parachute nd then glide along and freefall where you want.
and stealing helicopters never goes amiss.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

Every time you talk, I thank God YOU don't review games. I'm sorry but if you really think the overall gameplay mechanics in JC2 aren't seriously flawed, and if you think they're in ANY way better than GTAIV, you haven't the slightest clue what you're looking at.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 4/11/2010 8:25:25 PM

___________
___________
11 years ago

where did i say the gameplay mechanics are not seriously flawed?
honestly almost every single game has plenty of serious flaws.
uncharted 2 and the roll and take cover as the same button example.
splinter cell conviction does the same thing, im playing the demo now and its really pissing me off because i keep dying.
i go to take cover so instead sam rolls out into the open and i get killed.

this games a great game as i said above for one simple reason.
ITS FUN!
i have not had this much fun playing a game since back on the ps2, im honestly having more fun with just cause 2 than i did with GOW3.
hooking a jeep onto a helicopter than using the jeep as a wrecking ball is so much fun!

realism has destroyed games this gen, look at GTAIV its a open world game one of the best most fun things to do is find a really fast car and do some jumps.
but you cant because if you do, you will crash go flying out the windshield and die.
now which part of that sounds like fun?
the whole point of playing games is to have fun, and honestly only just cause 2, heavy rain, darksiders, bioshock 2 and just cause 2 have let me have fun while playing the game.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
11 years ago

Please go on vacation for 5years where there is zero internet access.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
11 years ago

'sigh'

Whatever. Maybe one day you'll realize that your "fun" isn't a universal fact.

RadioHeader
RadioHeader
11 years ago

Yeah, I find it a fun game despite the technical flaws, and its 6.9 doesn't seem right next to GTAIV's 10's.

Agree with you on mission structure. Though I didn't really notice the points required to unlock agency missions because I spent so much time at the beginning finding collectibles and completing settlements/military bases. My gripe is kind of the opposite, I couldn't believe how quickly the agency missions were finished (the credits rolled while I was at 23% completion).

Having said that, it's not like GTA where the game feels dead after the credits. I think I'll go for 100% which is rare for me so the makers have got something right.

oops meant to reply to the thin line.


Last edited by RadioHeader on 4/11/2010 6:04:11 AM

Zorigo
Zorigo
11 years ago

6.9? thats harsh.
it may be flawed, but it is ludicrisly fun. yes the voice acting is a little cack, and yes the controls could be better… but to play, it solidly worth it.
and i would have bought it if i hadn't made a deal with a mate that he buys JC2 and me GOW3 and we trae every now and again. (i obviously got the better half in this deal, GOW3 is f*ckin amazin!)

Darth Koth
Darth Koth
11 years ago

6.9 for graphics? wow, I think its one of the best looking sandbox games Ive ever played, I played GTA4 last night and its attempts at lighting are laughable compared to JC2.

I think this is the first time I disagree with a PSXE review lol oh well had to happen one day

JackC8
JackC8
11 years ago

Great review you guys! Yours are the only reviews I really pay attention to on the whole internet.

Glad that I just ordered Red Faction Guerrilla a couple of days ago. 🙂 I think I'll wait for Just Cause 2 to hit the bargain bin.

ekauq
ekauq
11 years ago

I'd have to say the game is really fun, but of course a few things I don't like.

First off, I'd like the game to autosave after I finish a race, before is fine, but if I finish a race and then decide to quit, the last checkpoint it loads is before the race started, really annoying.

Another thing is I wish there was an option for first person, this would really be nice for races and general driving and flying (I don't need to see fancy interiors, maybe a hood view).

Also, an option to not show those clips for extraction and the black market, I'd much rather just pop in and pop out. And after finding out that the black market seller is really your old mentor (at least I think), then I'd like a discount on items after finding that out (maybe I'm just frugal).

They also need to work on when the triangle does what. If I have a gun, car and am trying to call the black market at the same spot, I don't know what's going to happen when I push triangle.

Anyway, it is a fun game, and I like it. Played the demo quite a bit and the only thing I didn't like about the demo was getting a cramp in my hand trying to do the glitch to go past 30 minutes. 🙂

NULL
NULL
11 years ago

I am going to be leaning on the side of the JC2 lovers, I don't know who stud on your nuts beforehand guys but it's a great game, and Guerilla, from what I've played, has half as much content as the vast world of JC.

FullmetalX10
FullmetalX10
11 years ago

I wasn't going to buy this game either way, too many other games I want first.

New Report

Close