Just Cause 2 Review

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Everything you can see can be accessed. Ridiculously distant snow-capped mountains, that would normally be a 2D sprite, or barred from access by ‘invisible walls’ in most games – are accessible. Not only that, but they’re intricately detailed, densely populated; a patchwork of settlements and military bases all teeming with activity and chaotic opportunity.

And the imagery is amazing. Terrain changes from sparse desert to thick jungle and snowy mountains. Archipelagos of rugged islands fill crystal blue oceans and reefs. Sun rises on the back of a thunderstorm showering the land with burnt oranges and blood reds.

There is a full day/night cycle and active weather changes. Snow changes Rico’s appearance for example. As does water – from rain as well as dips in the ocean.

It is one of the most gorgeous sandbox worlds I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. And all of it runs blissfully smooth with barely any hints of frame rate stutter or slow down.

There’s a distinct lack of audio activity outside of vehicle noise and chaos/mission explosions. For a world of this size, with the population expected and the abundance of space and settlement, it would have been nice to have some radio stations or some form of ambient life, beyond the occasional “radio announcer” letting the people of Panau know that the Stronghold you just blew up, resulting in a massive explosion that rocked the populace, was actually just a controlled demolition of a disused Government facility..

Vehicles are unique in both appearance and sound, however. Jet fighters for example have an incredible sense of speed thanks to the nimble control and convincing sound effects. Machine guns have a weighty noise under fire as opposed to pistols which are much less flamboyant.

The sound effects department have made sure each and every vehicle and weapon was accurate, again contributing to the immersion in such a massive sandbox environment.

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Voice acting has definitely not been a high priority, in comparison to a game like GTA IV for example, but the point of Just Cause 2 is not serious, story-driven dialogue. Its cheesy, comical delivery and light-hearted banter. And in this function, it succeeds.


Without a doubt, this is the largest, most active and most chaotic open world environment ever seen in a game. There’s plenty of missions to keep the interest level up and so SO many distractions it’s almost daunting. Those who are a little bit inclined to obsessive compulsive disorder can look forward to a good 80+ hour game hunting that elusive 100% completion.

Just Cause 2 offers a diverse world, with three major environment variations, all easily accessible with an abundance of vehicles from ground to air – and the addition of the wonderful grapple/winch mechanic which, when coupled with your ‘reloadable’ parachute sets no location off limits.

All that Just Cause 2 lacks is a stealth/low-key attack ability. Sure, it may have been against the grain of what Avalanche set out to offer, but sometimes, walking into a tiny village to destroy a water tower with a Triggered Explosive from 500 metres away – only to have three army helicopters, boats and a small army swarm you, seems a little unnecessarily over-enthusiastic on their behalf.

Truth be told, I’ve struggled to find fault with Just Cause 2. There are some minor glitches here and there, like progress towards collectables during a mission are all lost if you die, but for the majority of the time they’re confined to odd deaths and unexplainable faults of the physics engine. Which you then have a laugh about – upload to YouTube and share with your mates.

Simply put, it’s fun. Insanely good, addictive fun. What every open-world sandbox game should be. Enjoyable chaos. Power and access limited only by your imagination.

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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