Just Cause 2 Review

There have been some incredible sandbox games in the past. Most of us remember the more familiar, titles with “GTA” prefixing them – and most of us have played them for hours, just mucking about causing trouble and getting sidetracked before even discovering that there’s some sort of story and even missions to accompany it all.

Avalanche Studios have a new contender to the genre, however. One that promises greatness. One-thousand square kilometres of sandbox. Over a hundred unique vehicles. Almost four-hundred individual settlements.

Just Cause 2 has arrived to whet the appetites of the open-world gamer. Offering freedom and raw chaos, it attempts to take the crown for the genre.


We find ourselves in the South-East Asian island of “Panau”. Agency Agent Rico Rodriguez, the game’s main protagonist, has been dispatched to the region in order to oust Panau’s new dictator, “Baby Panay” from his oppressive and brutal regime. Additionally, Rico’s side mission is seeking out and killing Tom Sheldon, an agent suspected of going rogue during Panau’s regime change.

Game Play

Much of Just Cause 2’s game play hinges around Rico’s arm-mounted grapple. This ability to grapple and winch to pretty much any solid surface makes getting around Panau’s massive environment a breeze. It also allows for a whole host of possibility. Being pursued by an army jeep? Grapple to their car and grapple the other end to the ground for spectacular stopping power. Need to make a quick escape? Grapple to an attacking helicopter, hijack it and make for the hills.

Couple this mechanic with Rico’s “reloadable” parachute, which can be deployed almost anywhere, at any time – at any speed faster than a crawl – and you can make some very quick escapes when the heat is on. Similarly, using the two in conjunction, grapple and parachute for a ‘slingshot’ ground effect makes travelling at low altitude a great and practical solution to replace lengthy walks between areas.

Of course, in a game world as big as Panau – with roughly 1000 square kilometres of usable area to explore and traverse, your trusty grapple and parachute are going to be vastly inadequate. There are over one hundred vehicles available in Just Cause 2, ranging from basic Scooters all the way up to super-sonic Jet Fighter planes. Panau’s major economic investment is military – and this is echoed in the majority of vehicles found throughout the land. Military jeeps, trucks, transporters, tanks, attack helicopters and bikes are in common occurrence and most importantly, easily stolen. There is nothing like circle strafing a Panay-controlled oil rig, showering it in minigun bullets in one of their very own attack choppers.

You have a good range of weapons at your disposal also. Rico is capable of carrying 3 weapons at a time on his person. There is an assortment of handguns, heavy machine guns and then your heavier weapons, such as the rocket launcher and grenade launcher. Smaller, one-handed weapons like the sub-machine gun can be dual wielded for extra punch. Ammo can be acquired from the corpses of fallen army soldiers, found in crates scattered throughout the world, or called in via the Black Market dealer.

Readers Comments (12)

  1. Great review. This game could be my only purchase for the year and I would be happy. Still wish I had bought the PS3 version, though. :/

  2. hmmm this is a quite the fetching review….you almost changed my mind on buying this game! so close…

  3. Want it, been looking at the official thread and its definitely looking fun.

  4. VofEscaflowne April 7, 2010 @ 19:06

    @Dr. Moogle

    Oh it’s really worth it… it totally came out of the blue for me when I tried out the demo which even for just being a tiny fraction of the full game, ended up having me spend a few hours just messing around with the environment. As the review states, once you get a view of what the full game has to offer, it’s really just mind boggling the world they’ve given us to explore. And I’m usually not a big fan of sandbox games.

    I bought the game back on release for 40$ and after spending over 30 hours in it, only to have around 27% of the game completed, I would have gladly paid full price for it. Not to mention I have plenty of unclocked hours which I just wasted a bunch of my cash to preform insane stunts and cause chaos all over. The Youtube feature is great to relive your best moments (and shameless plug in, if I may, one of my best and funniest clips: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3tA83VUNUw ).

    If this review hasn’t done enough to convince, then I don’t know what to say but I strongly urge anyone who’s a fan of the genre to pick it up. I haven’t heard of anyone being disappointed in their purchase so far and back on a forum I post on, there’s a post with nearly 400 replies right now of people who are simply loving it and more who are buying it after reading all the impressions. It’s really a blast 🙂

  5. Unless you have OCD or you drink a lot or do drugs, this game will get very, very boring, very, very fast. I have barely done anything in the game cause it is so huge but it is very boring. Everything is pretty much the same, the vehicles have horrible handling, so the only thing to really do it fly a helicopter. Everything else is a nightmare pretty much. The game looks great, but pretty much it. The first 10 hours are insanely fun but you will not have beaten the game or even done half of it and you will get bored.

    Just my opinion on the game.

  6. VofEscaflowne April 7, 2010 @ 19:27


    Isn’t that being a bit harsh on criticizing those that enjoy the gameplay? I understand it may not be for everyone but I don’t consider myself as someone who has OCD and I definitely do not drink or do drugs.

    As for the vehicles, yes, some do control horribly but it’s up to you to figure out those that don’t and those that will be useful when trying to make for a quick escape from heavy gunfire. Most of the time, the grapple hook + parachute combination will be more than sufficient to handle it though as a vehicle will not always be at your disposal. Once you’ve mastered the controls, it’s very satisfying to traverse vast areas in a matter of seconds while enjoying the scenery.

  7. Just a tip for playstationuniversity i was wondering if you guys could please give a final rating at the end like 9/10 just a suggestion

  8. it reminds me of mercenary 2 and that game sucked but when i played the demo i was sold.

  9. @SonyJunkie: see now this is what i hear sometimes…which i dont like tedious games…

    @VofEscaflowne: whats wrong with doing drugs? i dont do them (weed thrice? nothing special), but so long as you arent dependent on them eh? But yeah….dont flame be but i disliked GTA4 lol. i gave it a few hours but i just didnt desire to play the game anymore lol

    ill wait for GTA9 or 10 with a full world map as the sandbox lol

  10. Moocows111111 April 8, 2010 @ 09:49

    Really good Review I must say, sadly I wont be getting it do to the recent surge of video games on the market.

    I also want to add that I really like these reviews, its honest and I’m glad its not based on score, but on how the game performs and how much you get from a 60-70 dollar purchase.

  11. I loved the demo and site reviews make it seem a bit average but when i speak to people who have played it they say its the funniest game in a long time they have played. I will be picking it up but not until it drops a little in price. like the review format. simple but would prefer the classic video reviews

  12. Nice review as usual. I will get this when it’s cheaper as it’s not the normal kind of game I go for.

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