Just Cause 2 Updated Impressions

Parachutes and grapple hooks stage a long-awaited reunion in this upcoming action game.

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One of the most appealing qualities of the sandbox action genre is the ability to traverse an entire gameworld at will, free of the restrictions of linear level design. But oftentimes, you're still restricted to the realm of realistic physics when traversing that terrain. That's not the case in Just Cause 2, an upcoming sandbox action game that lets you bounce around a vast Southeast Asian island using a combination of a parachute, a grappling hook, and a deft talent for leaping between speeding vehicles. We recently took some time to see a demo of Just Cause 2 to see that recipe in motion.

No need to worry about your old, exploded car. There's a new one right next to it.

This demo was guided by a member of Avalanche Studios, the Sweden-based developer currently working on the game. It began with protagonist Rico Rodriguez falling through the sky with nothing more than a rocket launcher strapped to his back to let you know that he intends to cause some pain when he hits the ground. But it took a good long while before that happened, which gave us the chance to get a lengthy look at the island of Panau--the game's 1,000-square-kilometer setting--from on high. It's a vast collection of varying climate zones that features impressive-enough draw distance to scope out a good stretch of it while going for a leisurely skydive.

Why start the game with a skydiving sequence? As it turns out, the parachute is a critical part of your repertoire, considering that you have the ability to deploy it as often and rapidly as you want. (You'll need to exercise a little suspension of disbelief regarding why Rico never needs to stuff it back into a backpack.) It works well in conjunction with the grappling hook, Rico's other powerful toy. The grappling hook operates similarly to what you've seen in Lost Planet or Bionic Commando: simply aim the reticle at a nearby surface, fire, and you'll quickly zip right there.

But of course, there are a few key differences. For one, you can cut the grappling hook short in midswing and use it as a way to slingshot yourself up into the air, at which point you open the parachute to sail off to a distant location--or just shoot your enemies from up in the air. The developer guiding the demo was able to perform an impressive string of movements that included zipping up and over armed guard towers while latching onto ledges for cover. Another use is slightly more diabolical: You can tether bad guys to objects by latching your hook onto them and then a second object. Feel like hanging an enemy from a light post like Spider-Man would? Go right ahead. Feel like tying him to a moving car and shooting him while he's being dragged at top speed? Probably not what Spider-Man would do, but have at it.

Speaking of vehicles, the way you're able to leap from, to, and over them plays a big role in the fluid sense of movement in Just Cause 2. At one point, we witnessed Rico float down onto a moving car with his parachute, yank out the driver, launch off of a bridge, eject, and float down onto an airplane about to take off from its runway. And of course he stole that one, too. You can also hop from one moving car on the road to another, or just parasail from them if you don't want to get your hands dirty. Combined with the ability to fling yourself into the air using the grappling hook, this sort of acrobatic movement should make Just Cause 2 feel like a fairly unique sandbox action game. But given that this was a hands-off demo, we'll reserve our judgment until we see the learning curve that goes with pulling off all of those maneuvers.

All of these abilities will be put to use in a storyline that assigns Rico the goal of overthrowing the island nation's dictator, Baby Panay. Rico's method for doing this is simple and straightforward: cause as much chaos on the island as he can. Chaos is a sort of currency that unlocks key story missions by drawing the attention of all local factions and giving you new opportunities to earn friends and enemies.

Panau is a big place.

As with any sandbox action game, you'll also find plenty of weapons and vehicles. Weapons available to you include an array of destructive black-market firearms and explosives, and the vehicle tally comes in at north of 100. You can upgrade your skills in both departments by collecting packages scattered around the island--an incentive to search around instead of just focusing on missions.

If you enjoyed Mercenaries 2's style of straight-to-the-point, morally bankrupt sandbox action set in a tropical locale, it looks like Just Cause 2 should offer similar frills with an added emphasis on fluid mobility. We're waiting to see what else the game will offer in terms of side missions, considering that one of the criticisms of the original was its lack of stuff to do outside of the main story. We should have more on Just Cause 2 in the coming months. No release date has been announced.

Discussion

115 comments
MetalStorm759
MetalStorm759

Just Cause 1 was, in my opinion, better than Mercenaries 2. Mercs 2 had to many bugs and was so convinced it was really good before its release it got everyones hopes up. I had to return my reserved copy the day i picked i up because of a game freezing bug. I hope Just Cause 2 doesn't do the same.

woods0419
woods0419

Ok this looks like a great game... what Mercs 2 should have been. I'm looking for bigger explosions from this one! I hope there's also a solid CQC element... sometimes these game designers forget that some of the most satisfying combat can be up close and personal. But that's strictly my opinion and something I really enjoy. I anxiously waited for Mercs 2 and was pretty disappointed with it... here's hoping my enthusiasm for this one won't be wasted as well. Can't wait for this release...

Giannakis89
Giannakis89

wow !!!!!!! Just cause 2 i get this game !!!!!!!!

poorisaac
poorisaac

This looks insanely ridiculous. That is probably why I can't wait to play it.

other44
other44

sweet! definately worth keeping your eye on!

green_dominator
green_dominator

The first one was amazing....I'm looking forward to this one :)

Travian1
Travian1

As long as it has the unlimited respawning helicopters from the first one, this game will be awesome!

salman06p0020
salman06p0020

I didn't know about Just Cause. Will check it out if I have time. Looks good though.

shadow7693
shadow7693

Hope this will be better than the first one. Better balance and more to do would be good.

chechak7
chechak7

ishhhhhhhhhh wowoo graphics is awesome

Hamada-LFC
Hamada-LFC

Looks awesome! Can't wait to get it! Just Cause (1), loved it hope this one will be even better!!

stalepretzels
stalepretzels

this looks like how mercenaries 2 should've been.

commander1122
commander1122

hope this game wont end up like ''Mercenaries 2: World in Flames''!!!!!!

boxofwit
boxofwit

i hope this one has good missions. the missions in the first one were appalling.

pwndOo
pwndOo

just cause was a pretty good game. I loved attacking the cities

Aarontan1
Aarontan1

By Looking at the images, this game looks promising, but i just hope that this is not just deceiving us into buying the game and comes out of it is junk. I had played Just Caaus 1 on PS2, it sucks. So i do hope the producer of this game, will develop this game at the gamer point of view, by not trpeating some of the actions.

retospectre
retospectre

cant beleive this game got put on hold for so long cause the first one was awesome. hope it doesnt fall behind cause of the pause in production.

maniac-2k7
maniac-2k7

Just Cause 1 was far too short and had nothing at all to do. It was just barren open space. Hopefully they'll fill in the world with stuff to do this time around. Even if the story is short again, as long as there's other stuff to be doing, it'll be a million times better. And comparing it to Mercs 2 is just insulting.

moh9696
moh9696

now thats what im talking about! I JUST WISH AND HOPE THAT THEY DONT RUIN IT LIKE WHAT DEVELOPERS OF MERCENARIES DID

skomakare
skomakare

Wow, I loved Just Cause 1! Such a great game. However, I can not say I liked Mercenaries 2 very much. Sure, jolly good destruction, but the game itself was so BUGGY and GLITCHY it was perfectly unplayable. Oh, but yeah I'm looking forward to Just Cause 2. Sounds like awesome new features :)

brunele
brunele

I have heared many good things about the first one , so i'm really hoping they make this one good

nathan24jack
nathan24jack

I've got to say, I found plenty to do in the first Just Cause. The fact that there was so much land mass waiting to be explored was enough to keep me happy for hours on end. It was an off roading paradise. And plus there was always a package to find. Just Cause 2 is really shaping up. My only hope is that they add better vehical phisics and more destructable environments. A blow up everything style would be awsome, like we saw in Mercenaries 2.

pilot_riaz
pilot_riaz

You can also hop from one moving car on the road to another - this feature will be better than the one in Wheelman

paystation
paystation

i hvint played the first 1 but i heard gd things about it so ill see if this 1 is gd

xboxbilly05
xboxbilly05

MAN i loved the last game. Just so original. I would like improvements on: -Vehicle handling (especially the aircraft). -Combat -Ease of transport -Some more features to compete with GTA. (not that it is GTA). -Some sexy women -Something to continue the game with, I remember with the last version, after completing its extremely long campaign, I didnt play it again as it was boring =)

CY4N1D3_625
CY4N1D3_625

@ Waseemreddler I highly doubt you'll need an Nvidia 380 series to run this game....game looks nice, but I don't think that much muscle will be necessary.

EnoVation
EnoVation

i hope they improve the combat in this one (which was my main gripe at the last game) having said that it will provide good entertainment to jump from car to plane and parachute into solid surfaces, rather than oh look a tank, shoot it. (middle finger at mercenaries 2)

AC130GUNNER
AC130GUNNER

This looks good. I hope you can change outfits, modify guns and multiplayer. That would be a 11/10 in my book.

KA12NAG3
KA12NAG3

Neonsuperstar - I agree. Just Cause 2 will be a billion times better than Mercenaries 2. There's no comparison. I wonder how many people won't buy the game now that they've said "if you enjoyed mercenaries 2's style..."

neonsuperstar
neonsuperstar

i can't believe they said "if you enjoyed mercenaries 2's style..." that makes no sense. it was an utterly horrible experience.

Waseemreddler
Waseemreddler

No release date has been announced becoz they r waiting for the next consoles ( XBOX 720, PS Extreme) and Nvidia 380 Series.

KA12NAG3
KA12NAG3

This looks really, really good. A big improvement over the first (which I thought was really fun). And the graphics look great. I can't wait.

mfa1486
mfa1486

Great accidents and ways to wait with great graphics and thank you

tworkma
tworkma

It's nice to see some color for cripes sake. Why does every shooter have to be dark. The more sunshine with my realism the better. Seems like most of the better games lately come in 10 shades of gray. Doesn't anyone else feel jipped by the serious lack of color in games?

Destroy3r3
Destroy3r3

The first game was absolutely chaotic! Especially the last mission was the definition of death and destruction. I think I am going to give the second one a try, just for the stunt scenes!

nf1994
nf1994

i liked the first one, so i think i will give this one a try

GodsTeam42
GodsTeam42

the spiderman thing makes me want this game

crudmanIV
crudmanIV

Story sounds like more than a bit of a rehash of the original

pistolpowell
pistolpowell

I've never heard of the first one. But this game sounds pretty awesome!

Veteran_IV
Veteran_IV

I just went around skydiving into cars for most of the first game. Looks like you can still do that and MORE, at the very least worth renting. I'll buy it if the review is good.