Just Cause 2 Updated Hands-On

We once again abuse the practical applications of a grapple hook, but this time we discover a ninja's greatest weakness along the way.

"I hate ninjas." Those words may reek of heresy if you've been raised on shuriken-related entertainment, but put yourself in the shoes of Just Cause 2 protagonist Rico Rodriguez--the very man who utters them--for a quick moment. After waging a one-man battle against heavily armed military forces, he's managed to complete a dangerous sabotage mission by the skin of his teeth. Exploding fuel tanks, rocket launchers, snipers--he's somehow survived it all. But right when the coast looks clear and just as Rico is about to secure the mission…yep, ninjas show up.

That's how one of the delightfully absurd story cinematics went in our most recent hands-on demo of this open-world action game. It's heartening to see that the storytelling is every bit as eccentric as the gameplay because what we've seen so far suggests a sandbox game designed for the type of players who'd rather go off and create their own mayhem than stick to a rigidly designed story mission. It's over-the-top action where hijacking vehicles often takes a backseat to BASE jumping from mountains or slingshotting into the air with a parachute and grapple hook.

This latest demo was among the most improbable yet. We started on a lush, tropical beach; hopped into an attack helicopter; and flew all the way up to a military base perched atop snowy mountain cliffs. Our task was simple: Destroy four vent stations, rescue a person of interest, and try like hell not to die. Just Cause 2 affords you the usual armory of submachine guns, grenades, and jeeps (which, if you drive like us, can certainly be considered weapons). But the real fun of this game lies in the creative combinations of weapons and tools. For example: You might launch yourself into the air with a grapple hook, open your parachute to begin floating effortlessly, and use your rocket launcher to unleash chaos without leaving the friendly skies. You can get even more creative and use your grapple hook to attach a vehicle to a helicopter then fling it into enemy strongholds like the most expensive wrecking ball ever.

Use a moving car as cover with "stunt position" controls.

On this particular mission, we elected to run into the vent stations and attach several satchel charges to the targeted equipment. Then, we detonated the vent stations--and all the enemies guarding them--from a safe distance. When the charges ran out, we stole an enemy tank and began blasting everything in our way that looked the least bit threatening. (And also trees. We might have destroyed some trees, too.) Eventually we succeeded in sabotaging all the vents, at which point it looked like Rico was on his way to a nice pat on the back. Naturally, that's when the ninjas showed up.

Clearly, what we've got here is a game that doesn't take itself too seriously. When you can send a human being into low orbit by grappling him to a gas tank and shooting holes in it (the tank, not the man), there's an obvious sense of levity to the game. The story and the denizens of this fictional South Pacific island nation seem to match that tone as well. Like, for example, the aforementioned ninjas. Out of nowhere, they simply show up and act as a sort of collective boss battle standing between you and your ultimate goal of rescuing a person of interest. It's a tough battle because of their ability to throw smoke bombs and teleport the second you start shooting them. But after some trial and error, we found a ninja's one weakness: rockets to the head.

A moment later, we almost had our VIP. But as luck turned out, what seemed a foregone victory turned into a high-speed vehicle chase across a frozen lake. While in a vehicle, Just Case 2 allows you to jump straight onto the roof to either start shooting at a nearby vehicle or grapple straight onto it. We did just that, zipping from our jeep to another, holding onto the outside of said speeding car, and shooting the ninjas occupying it when they stuck their heads out to fend us off. It was a pretty thrilling chase scene that ended with us finally, at long last, completing our goal.

Just Cause 2 is a game where things go boom. A lot.

With so many opportunities for chaos and a storyline that wears its ridiculousness on its sleeve, Just Cause 2 looks like an intriguing entry in the sandbox action genre. If there's one thing that remains to be seen, it's how exciting the game will be outside these set piece battles because the several-hundred square-mile setting means there will be a lot of traveling between missions. Look forward to more information on that as we get closer to the game's March release.

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94 comments
hotnixESS1
hotnixESS1

This game is addictive as hell. It makes me feel like grand theft auto 3 did.

gamerchao999
gamerchao999

@viiin2: Really? worse than Mercenaries 2? Is that even possible? I think it will be quite the opposite. Sure the cutscenes are hammy and some of the voice acting is terrible (like some of their accents: "My name is BOlo SANtosI") but isn't this supposed to be an action movie-like game, very much like the Rambo movies? When was the last time any action movie followed any of the laws of physics, or wasn't over the top? The way Rico says one-liners and other comments after blowing up a fuel shaft, really adds to this atmosphere, along with the explosions, stunts, and nice vehicles and weapons. This game looks pretty nice from the demo, I just hope it will keep the missions interesting and not fall into the trap of extreme repitition (go to location, fight, blow things up, escape, repeat). And yes, the vehicles handle bad, but they could handle a lot worse. But, who knows, it's only a demo, the full game might be a lot different, but so far, it looks much better than Mercenaries 2, at least.

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

The second coming of JC is on the anniversary of the Mormon Bible being published. Someone has a sense of humour.

archvile_78
archvile_78

@jimmyccckotb: The first one got mixed review so i wouldn't recommend it, in general people didnt liked it but it could be worth a rent if you see it in store.

jimmyccckotb
jimmyccckotb

Never played the first one, should I play that first, or is it irrelevant story wise?

jimmyccckotb
jimmyccckotb

Just played the demo. It was a lot of fun, so I think I'll consider buying this.

RawDeal_basic
RawDeal_basic

"After some trial and error, we found a ninja's one weakness: rockets to the head." Ha ha ha ha ha!

IrishWars
IrishWars

Played the demo today, was very, very impressed and entertained with shooting enemies while parachuting above them ;)

padraic-banks
padraic-banks

It will be one of the best of 2010 i will have to get it, it so F~*^ing badass.

slightlyrob
slightlyrob

Just spent an hour playing the 360 demo, it was a lot of fun. Vehicle controls are a little clunky, but it's way more fun to grapple and parachute anyway. Not perfect, but very enjoyable.

ChaosStrike
ChaosStrike

I just played the PS3 demo and I think this game is gonna be pretty badass

viiin2
viiin2

Man I was looking forward to this game but the demo blew. The only good thing about it is the graphics. I maxed everything out with a 1900x1200 resolution and it looked great. Its kinda like Mercenaries 2 but worse. The handling of vehicles is stupid . I know th developers claim that the game is kinda unrealistic but I think they took it too far. This should be one of the worst games of the year.

brianthesnail12
brianthesnail12

hi guys i have just played the just cause 2 demo on the steam client and its one of the best demo,s i have seen in a long time credit goes to avalanche studio,s for some of the neatest maps and visual effects i have ever seen in a game...and with so many physx effects aswell this really brings the best out of my XFX GTS250 the grappling hook is a awesome extra,,you can go from one rooftop to another in one fail swoop...and the weapons are excelllent aswell explosions are amazing and the water is so realistic aswell..shall i go on ? some are comparing this game to far cry 2 however just cause 2 has the edge in my opinion... order it now...its gonna be one of the best shooters this year.. 9.5 out of 10

Oblenator
Oblenator

Just Cause one was meh, this one looks so much better though. My one hope for this game is that you can dress up as a pirate when you fight the ninjas. Then I will buy it without question.

Hosseincode
Hosseincode

X360 Magazine UK Reviews the game and gave it 8 out of 10 sounds good!

jordan1025
jordan1025

Wow, this game could make the Top 10 Best Games of 2010. Maybe the top 5. This goes around Call Of Duty and Halo, its pretty darn good game to play

Pink_Troglodyte
Pink_Troglodyte

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

ADR3NALIN3_RUSH
ADR3NALIN3_RUSH

THIS GAME GONNA BE FREAKIN INSANE .......YA"LL STUPID IF YOU DON"T GRAB A COPY OF JUST CAUSE 2......... IF YOU GUYS STILL READIN THIS MSG, YA"LL REALLY ARE DUMB, DID I SAY GO GRAB A FREAKIN COPY OF JUST CAUSE 2........ DAMN YA"LL HARD HEADED ..J/K:)

jarredlee
jarredlee

cant wait for this game this is my most anticipated game of the year

krookd
krookd

Looks like a bust

masterofzeros
masterofzeros

I have Just Cause 1 original :) wee, i hope this will be as good as the first one...i played it to the end four times. :D

CCyberDDemon
CCyberDDemon

Looks like the che. Looks better than the first, even if its a rpg line of productors. keep it coming anyway

Destroy3r3
Destroy3r3

I love HUGE explosions! I have to play that game!

jason231
jason231

Looks far better than the first one.

eliteshadow1980
eliteshadow1980

this looks like what mercenaries 2 world in flames should have been

M-Mehl
M-Mehl

It really does look like it is going to be more fun and games than a serious shooter, but hey, it looks FUN. Even with the unrealistic shooting grappled people mid air, causing the target to freeze and then fly backward. But is i said it looks fun. But a definite rent before buy

banner745
banner745

This looks like the parachute and grappling action are going to be a hell of a lot of fun. The shooting combat, less so. It could still be good, but the shooting action looks kind of weak from that preview. Then again, you never know.

PenthiusX
PenthiusX

looks good fun i hope the story is fun too ... the last one did terribly on the story line aspect . The graphics looks satisfying and the environment looks interactive i really hope everything turns out awesome

MxN22
MxN22

Looks great and very good graphic.

FrostDM
FrostDM

Looks fun. The first was getting boring because of repetitive missions. Hope they fix it in JC2.

snipeMW14
snipeMW14

I thought just cause was a disaster and this looks exactly the same........

callie789456
callie789456

"I hate ninjas... and doctors.. and lawyers" XD

Rickiej
Rickiej

The physics don't look very realistic, but it's okay! This game isn't supposed to be realistic, it's all about over the top action. Now some pirates and we've got ourselves the best sandbox game of 2010.

hoossy1
hoossy1

It's "I hate NINJA" not, ninjas no S!

gamercosti
gamercosti

that looks bad on so many different levels... char movement is horrible... and all the other many small things :S

Colanader
Colanader

how am i suppose to wait till march 23rd?!!?!?!?!?

zync-
zync-

Action + Sandbox = good game i think that game is gonna be a good game.. no more

Jae69G
Jae69G

Getting this! looks way more fun than gta

MAG--256
MAG--256

just in my opinion this game can still use some work from that video maybe that was a old build alpha protocol or just cause 2 alpha protocol was delayed a year to give game more time and from what sega gathered game was already 7.5-8 so a extra year hopefully will help out a lot and make it a AAA game i still have my cop of just cause on ps2 and this just looks like the HD version but i will waite for the reviews

terror_ninja
terror_ninja

Havnt been many good games poping up at the moment so this will just be another one to get cuz it looks so cool

tevic
tevic

Looks really great. waiting for the review.