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on March 25, 2010
If you love gaming, work all the time, don't have time for games needing hours of investment then this is the game for you!

I watched a video of a developer playing the game quite a while back and had forgotten about Just Cause 2 until the demo was released on Xbox Live for Gold members. All those memories of amazement while watching that video came flooding back into my head. The game is just plain fun from the moment you put the disc in. Only have 30 minutes to spare? Put the disc in your Xbox and you can roam free around the entire 35 square mile world and pretty much do whatever you want to whomever you want instantly. No time for completing a mission? No problem! Go grapple onto a chopper, shoot the gunner,throw the pilot out and steal that joker! Perform your own Shock and Awe campaign for those precious 30 minutes of gaming you have.

The game is totally unrealistic but I do not want to play "Real Life Simulator" as I do that everyday. The controls of the game can be a bit tricky at first but you will get the hang of it; especially if you do some tweaking to the X and Y sensitivity settings in the options menu. The camera however can be a bit frustrating at times. The camera will sometimes recenter itself when you do not want it to and there is no way to turn auto centering on/off. The camera only has these issues when you get really, realy close to a building/cliff or while controlling a vehicle. I have trained myself not to touch the right stick while controlling a vehicle and that has helped a lot. If you read the manual it tells you that while using your parachute to steer with the left stick and only make minor corrections with the right stick. That information should be in the game because it is very important to getting very skilled at parasailing. The minor camera and control issues are why I took off one star from the overall game rating.

If you have any doubts about this game then I highly recommend checking out the demo on Xbox Live if you are a Gold member. If the demo does not sell you on the game then do not buy it. For those of you with a PC that has a decent graphics card you may want to purchase the PC version of this game instead, since the Xbox version does not offer any multiplayer features. The controls would probably be much better with a computer.

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VINE VOICEon May 23, 2010
Sandbox games have really advanced in the past few years, especially since the clones of GTA were released. Just Cause 2 is what I'd call the latest incarnation of the sandbox game. It is based on a fictional island nation in Southeast Asia, where you are looking for a rogue agent. Your task is to get in with the local revolutionaries and understand the big picture in Panau.

Main Points

-Insanely large, multi-faceted open world
-Many different vehicles; planes, tanks, helicoptors, bikes, cars etc
-Graphics are generally good and very believable
-Pretty large weapons cache
-Grappling hook and parachute makes the game feel like a 007 movie
-Black market feature allows you to purchase vehicles and weapons anywhere on the island

-Game is difficult even on casual
-Ammo goes quickly, leaving you on a constant hunt for bullets (and health)
-Main storyline is really short, probably 7-8 hours
-Many sidequests and challenges are cookie-cutter and can get repetitive
-Vehicles are far from realistic i.e. cars don't handle well, planes are slow

Map - 9 of 10
The size of the playable area of Just Cause 2 is mind-bendingly large. It is claimed to be 400 square miles according to the scale. And I'm inclined to believe it. The map is so diverse, expansive and realistic. There are numerous airports, military bases, settlements, skyscrapers and cityscapes to name a few. In fact, there are 368 distinct locations to explore on Panau. Topography is impressive as well, including hundreds of miles of coastline, mountains, deserts, rivers, jungles and even a Zeppelin which has a night club underneath. My only real qualm with the map is that it is so big that even with planes it will take you a good 10 minutes to traverse the full map. This makes use of a car almost pointless.

Gameplay 7 of 10
As an agent for some secret US security team you are basically the best at what you do, which is apparently cause havoc. You're equipped with two very important items: a grappling hook and an infinite number of parachutes attached to your back. Any number of things can be achieved with the parachute/grappling hook combo. You can shoot far away from yourself and pull out the parachute launching yourself into the air. You can scale a mountain with only the hook. You can attach the hook to enemies pulling them towards you. It allows for a very creative gaming experience. This is what separates Just Cause 2 from other similar sandbox games. In fact it makes me think of a James Bond movie every time I jump out of a plane.

It's clear, however that the developers fully intended for you to do A LOT of piddling around the country, because there are only seven main storyline missions. The number of sidequests with the local guerrillas is probably around 100. These take maybe 10-15 minutes each. The problem with the sidequests is there are so many that they start to run together and can get really repetitive. If you really want to explore in depth (and get the achivements), you'll go to each settlement and cause chaos. This includes destroying any number of government installations such as fuel tanks, SAM sites, statues, radars, generators - you get the picture. A bunch of achievements are associated with "finishing" a settlement. This means getting all the parts located in the settlement and destroying everything necessary.

My biggest problem with the game is definitely the difficulty of the game, which is considerable in my opinion. There are four levels of difficulty and I'm on the lowest one - casual. On most shooter games, the lowest level of difficulty means that I'll never die. And I've been killed at least a dozen times by enemies. You'll be swarmed constantly. That's not the ridiculous part either. I've been killed that many times with the fifth level of armor equipped. It appears that even though I've leveled my armor, that it really doesn't provide any extra protection. The same thing seems to happen with the guns. Leveling them up is so marginal, that you'll have to take the weapon to the max level to notice the difference. What really bothers me is this: you have four levels of heat or your wanted level. The number of guys that attack you isn't based your heat level. You'll face basically the same amount of enemies on level 1 as on level 4. The only real difference on the higher levels is that they'll pursue you more.

Vehicles 7 of 10
This part of the game definitely needed more work. Though there are 104 different vehicles including planes (some armed), tanks, helicopters and cars. Many of them have control problems. Sports cars are touchy to the point of being almost impossible to drive at high speeds. And the weight of the vehicles is far from realistic as even hitting a small bump could send your vehicle hurling end over end. That being said, there is a great variance of the types of vehicles you can drive and what can be done to them. One of the more impressive parts of the game was the ability to upgrade vehicles and weapons via the Black Market. As you go through the game you'll find vehicle parts and weapon parts which can be used to increase speed, handling, acceleration etc. But only the vehicles on the Black Market list can be upgraded, which is less than 20 total.

Along with that, the air vehicles are astonishingly slow. I figured out that the fastest plane on the game will only do about 250 mph. You might say it's fine for a game, but until you see the size of the map, you won't understand.

Graphics 7 of 10
Visuals on the people in Just Cause 2 are average, probably at best. But the rest of the map is gorgeous. Textures are very detailed and have the brilliance of a plethora of colors. Water in particular has a reflective quality I've only seen in a few other games. In fact, the ocean floor is littered with rocks, seaweed and reefs. The most amazing part about the graphics is that there are no loading times while you're just walking around the island. Animation is very smooth and for the most part realistic.

Just Cause 2 takes the size of a sandbox to levels never before reached. It is a fun mess around game where you could drop hours just exploring or just do a couple of missions and quit. The sheer size of the map is something that anyone who's into sandbox games should see. So here's the gist of it: very good weapons cache, ability to upgrade vehicles and weapons, grappling hook and parachute make the game quite unique, tons of stuff to do and beautiful scenery as well. Unfortunately, the sidequests can get repetitive and the difficulty will definitely turn more casual gamers away. Also, most of the non-flying vehicles seem almost superfluous because of the size of the map. So it's not a perfect game by any means, but has probably a good 50-70 hours of playtime which not a whole lot of games can say they have.
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on July 29, 2010
Sequels for video games have a better reputation than say movie sequels. Many of the most innovative games ever made (Mario 64, Grand Theft Auto 3, Final Fantasy VII) were of course sequels. Indeed in this generation we have seen many sequels improve upon their original outing (Assassins Creed 2, Mass Effect 2). These games succeed by fixing many of the niggling issues, that made the first game less than perfect, while still keeping the tone of the original piece.

Even among these improved sequels Just Cause 2 stands out. The original Just Cause could neither be called beloved nor all that terribly well received. Calling the first Just Cause a flawed open world game with some fun bits would be the kindest of labels. Nobody certainly seemed to be clamoring for a second go. When Just Cause 2 was delayed from an Christmas 2008 release date to 2009 and eventually 2010 there was no gnashing of teeth. Many expected it to never be released or at the very least, to be an under the radar, by the numbers rehash.

So when Just Cause 2 was finally released it was a jaw dropping shocker. Here was the open world Michael Bay movie we all wanted (even if we didn't know it). In fact Just Cause 2 nails two factors with such perfection mere words simply cannot do it justice.

The first is the open world itself. In the somewhat crowded field of open worlds to explore the island of Panua is simply a standout. In fact it is simply the best open world ever designed. (Knocking Oblivion and Grand Theft Auto IV out of the top spots). It is huge. It has everything from snow capped mountains to rally style deserts to Tarzanesque jungle to coral reefs. What is more impressive is that it is truly three dimensional. Unlike many open worlds you can fly anywhere up to a mile high or dive anywhere a few hundred feet below the surface. The travel is seamless and the graphics are jaw dropping gorgeous.

If the open world is the star of the show the dual-grappling hook is the love interest. Words again simply fail to describe the eventual joy one gets from use of this tool. With a grappling hook one can tie enemies to trees, fling oneself through the jungle like some parachute wearing Tarzan, hijack any vehicle in the game (including 737 passenger jets), and fulfill your Spider-man fantasies than any Spider-man game can.

Alas like any Michael Bay movie the plot itself is a throwaway. You play Agency Agent Rico Rodriguez being dropped into the South-east Asian island nation of Panau. Panau has taken over by Kim Jong Il doppelganger Baby Panay, who assassinated his father, institutes a hilariously propaganda filled regime and cuts off all ties to the US in favor of eventually revealed evil foreign powers. Your mission is to oust Panay from office, as well as track down your mentor from the first game Tom Sheldon, whom the Agency fears has gone native while on the island. To achieve all this you ally yourself with the three dominant criminal gangs on the island: the Roaches, the Reapers, and the Ular Boys.

In other words you blow stuff up to unlock criminal gang missions (which honestly consist of blowing stuff up)to finally unlock Agency missions (which also consist of blowing stuff up).

Fortunately blowing stuff up (like shooting super-mutants in slow-mo while playing Fallout 3) simply never gets old. In fact the game gets more enjoyable the longer one plays it. As one becomes more comfortable with the grappling hook-parachute mechanic, learns which cars to avoid, and realizes that the developers really did think of everything. The Island of Panua becomes an increasingly enjoyable experience.

The Nitpicks

Anytime I gush uncontrollably about a game it only seems fair to point out those few niggling problems that others may have noticed.

Vehicle Control: With over a hundred vehicles in the game it is no surprise some are better than others. With cars one will find their comfort zone between the Tuk-Tuks that can't seem to make it up hills and the overpowered Titus ZJ Cabriolet sports cars that cannot seem to go two hundred yards without flipping over. Cars in general handle well as do motorcycles and boats. Helicopters in particular are a joy to control... and that is an awfully good thing to since planes are the definite fly in the vehicle ointment.

For some reason developers decided to control planes with only the left stick. How does one fly a vehicle in three-dimensional space with a two dimensional control? Very poorly it turns out. Fortunately, outside of one mission where your jet fighter has to shoot down a rocket in flight, this really doesn't come into play if you do not want it to.

The Story and Voice Acting. I finished the main story without really finishing the game. In fact I was only 22% done when the final credits rolled. (In the games defense It did take me 33 hours to get to that point.) Needless to say many of the Easter eggs, Mile High nudie bars, Japanese WW2 soldier encampments and the island from the TV show Lost will have to wait till my next play through.

While clearly Just Cause 2 has an insane amount of content (There is an achievement for 75% completion but none for 100% ) I do wish the story had been a little more... well there. The criminal gangs you do missions for could have also been a little better drawn as they all seem to blend together (Think the gangs in Saints Row 2 as an example of gangs done right).

The voice acting is universally awful. If it is so bad its good is truly a personal judgment. (I vote for no). Who gives the worse performance in Just Cause 2 is a game one can play with ones friends. The popular choice around here is Bolo Santos' G-Man like Singaporean accent as leader of the Reapers, but I am inclined to give the prize to Tom Sheldon's massacre of a Texas drawl.)

Ironically even though you are forced to play with a fixed character throughout (A common complaint I have with Rockstar open world games) the sheer lack of story and personality actually negates my usual complaint of being unable to "roll my own".

Some others have complained about the lack of ammo (and general difficulty) in the beginning of the game, the loose gun-play (which once you get used to it works rather well) and the fact they want a pony.

Generally these complaints (outside of the pony one) are negated as one gets used to the controls, upgrades their weapons, and discovers the myriad ways one can use the dual-grappling hook. The game really does improve with time and I am chomping at the bit to try another go (at a higher difficulty level no less.)

Just Cause 2 is in the running to be my Game of the Year (against some pretty hefty competition) and is simply a must by for any action fan.
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on May 6, 2011
Ok. If you researched "What is the best free-roaming game for xbox 360?" You'll probably get Fallout 3 or some other sellout (ha) as the answer. Don't even think about trusting them. If you want awesome explosions, a huge map, smart AI, varied landscapes, grappling hooks, giant cities, tiny villages, huge military bases, and Military Strongholds, not to mention awesome stunts, James Bond action, cool weapons, skydiving, hijacking, sweet chases, or sunsets (weather :D), then you should SO get this game. Believe me. It may be totally underrated, but it IS the best free-roaming game out there. And, no sexual content(except Mile High Club), no one TAKING drugs, or too much alcohol, or too much frustration or difficulty (there is some). So, to summarize, you should get this game.
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on November 26, 2014
First off I want to start out by saying this game came out bout 4 years ago. So don't expect graphics like you would see in GTA V. I like this game for a couple of reasons....

1. Time: it keeps track of how long you have played it. I'm up to 9 hours now and I am less than 10 percent complete.

2. Size: the map is massive and I mean massive. Flying in the fastest plane from corner to corner takes a lot of time, so thankfully they made an "extraction" feature that will take you to any settlement you have discovered.

3. Grappling hook/ parachute combo: So if you watch the YouTube videos on this, you can see what I'm talking about, but basically to travel fast you can deploy your parachute and than use the grappling hook to pull yourself along all of the islands.

4. Plot: I like the plot because to me, GTA V is, and I don't want to say evil, but its messed up. The way GTA V is set up, there is a lot of violence that is uncalled for. ( I remember a scene where a character gets his head stomped in and the guy that did it was picking brain off of his shoe.) so in just cause 2, you are sent on an Asian island where it has been taking over by a communist who plays propaganda everywhere, and you are supposed to cause chaos to disrupt all of this and have the people take back their country.

1. Graphics: like I said, its an older game so the graphics aren't the best, but they definitely aren't terrible either.

2. Cut scene acting: I swear I could get high school drama students to sound more believable than these people.

3. Repetitive: After awhile, the game gets repetitive. you do the same exact thing, just in different locations.

Finally, this game is great for anyone 16 and up, there is no nudity, the killing isn't graphic, and the people who die vanish 10 seconds after death. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to play a game that lasts long and cant be beaten in one day.
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on March 23, 2010
Take Just Cause 1 and improve almost everything and you have Just Cause 2. From great visuals of deserts, snow mountains, jungles, beaches, oceans and towering skyscraper cities, this game looks great.
The controls are improved for vehicles too. And they sound crisp and realistic (great sound from the weapons, explosions, overall sounds too). Only thing I miss is the ability to zoom into a first person view. There's only a distant 3rd person view, which takes away a lot of the impact of "Being right there with the vehicle". It's more like "Watching a toy vehicle from a birds eye view". This is most evident when flying a helicopter or plane. Too far away to really feel like you're flying it. More like a Remote Control toy.

And the grappling hook/parachute combination as you've probably read is a huge reason to buy this game. You can be out in the middle of a flat desert (think Red Dead Redemption's vast drylands), and within two quick moves, be up in the air. How? Aim the grappling hook at a point ahead on the ground, tap the hook button, slingshot automatically towards that point and quickly press the parachute. You can continue this flight without ever touching the ground by using the momentum from grappling the ground from the sky. Great stuff and more effective than most vehicles for escaping enemies.
On foot, the gunplay is solid, with a welcome return of the over the shoulder camera for some great "right in the game" action.

The missions are mostly fun and varied, but learning how to use the new control features on the first mission took some trial and error. After the first hour of missions, you're free to explore everything. And most of the time, as long as you don't shoot in public, no one will attack you. No more constant helicopters flying over every 2 minutes either thankfully.

There's not many interiors, but climbing a skyscraper "Bionic Commando" style is plenty of fun, and jumping off the top with a running leap, even better. For skydiving, few games deliver an experience like Just Cause 1 and 2. Just wish there were a few stunts thrown in, like a cannon ball, fast spins, and more.

If you're an explorer, this game delivers one of the largest worlds ever made for an on foot/vehicle game. Think Test Drive Unlimited and Fuel in terms of size, much like Just Cause 1. And plenty of nice variation, though the small villages are a bit dull with not many interiors. Not much to complain about, with plenty of options to adjust (unfortunately, almost everything but control mapping). It does feel like an improved version of the first game, but that's also a good thing. It's a sequel after all.

So with such a giant world (with a nice day/night cycle and weather), what is there to do? walk, run, sprint, jump, duck, roll, grapple, parachute, skydive, fire weapons, drive, fly aircraft, cause havoc, explore, side missions, story missions and plenty more. Overall, Just Cause 2 may deliver more of the same, but twice as good. If you're a fan of the first and want another world to explore with Rico, this game delivers like few others. Excellent and recommend to exploration/action fans.
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on August 6, 2012
The graphics are incredible. The gameplay was very addiciting at first. The map is huge and there is a ridiculous amount of time that can be consumed by playing this game.....only thing is nothing changes. You do basically the same thing in every city on the map. I liked it, it just got old to me and I never finished it.
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VINE VOICEon April 26, 2011
If you've played OBLIVION, maybe you remember leaving the prison for the first time, being met with this awesome and vast world, and slowly realizing that if you wanted to, right now, you could walk over to that mountain in the distance, search that forest, break into that home, punch that bear, etc. That you were free to do ANYTHING that you wanted to do for as long as you cared to, and no one was even forcing you to keep the main storyline going. JUST CAUSE 2 takes that experience and magnifies it in every way. The world is huge, the visuals are crisp and very beautiful, and the action is as over the top as it can get. I'd be lying if I said the writing and the missions were amazing, but even if you set all of that aside, you'll still have one of the best sandbox games on the market.

Take these comparisons to OBLIVION lightly. JUST CAUSE 2 doesn't even try to have any kind of depth when it comes to the story, the missions, and the sidequests. This is a game for people who like to explore, cause mayhem (chaos), and test boundaries. The people who made it their life's mission to get to the airplane in GTA 3 without unlocking the third island. If you try to dig any deeper than that, you might find yourself disappointed. If you enjoy JC2 for what it is, you'll have yourself a game you can come back to again and again.

Like I said, the story is a flimsy one that would probably be better suited for a '90s Steven Segal flick. You play as Rico Rodriguez, a special agent who's been sent to the (fictional) Southeast Asian island of Panau to track down another agent who has recently gone rogue. To find this rogue agent, you have to gain the trust of the three major gangs on the island. To do this, you have to cause "chaos". To cause chaos, you have to, more or less, cause as much damage to the island as you can.

There are several ways to cause "chaos". One is to destroy military bases; another is to destroy military-owned structures; another is to blow everything else up: cars, planes, gas stations, broadcast towers, water towers, propaganda trailers, surface-to-air missile sites... the list goes on.

But to get back to the island of Panau - which was the main selling point for me - this place is HUGE, and I do not use the word lightly. To walk from one end to the other will certainly take hours, and even traveling by plane takes at least fifteen minutes. You'll have over 400 square miles to work with, which is 25x larger than OBLIVION, and 5x larger than WORLD OF WARCRAFT, making it one of the largest video game worlds ever created. And it's not just empty space. The developers put a lot of time into making sure that they reward people for exploring every nook and cranny of the game with plenty of easter eggs and vistas that you'll just want to stare at for hours. From lush jungles and beaches to cities and mountaintop villages, there are plenty of unique places to discover on the island.

And just to drive home the "over-the-topness" this game allows, you're equipped with a personal grappling hook, and you can do almost anything you can imagine with it. Hook an enemy to the back of your car, tether to an enemy chopper and hijack it in the air, use it to scale mountains or buildings. You're also given a parachute that you can deploy at any time, so if you want to fly as high as you can go, jump out, and land harmlessly: go for it. The game really goes out of its way to make sure that you have a fun time messing around in Panau.

If none of that sounds appealing enough to warrant a purchase, then look elsewhere. Outside the massive world, the dozens of unique vehicles, the spectacular graphics, and the ability to go anywhere and do whatever you want, there's not much else. There's the story, achievements, and a lot of collecting to do, but I definitely wouldn't say they're the game's redeeming features. It's everything else, and there's a lot of it.
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on January 6, 2012
This is the 48th game in my collection. I say that to let you know I play EVERYTHING.
I won't get into the details of everything, but let you know about a few things that I wondered about before buying the game.
First off--this game is not for someone looking for the following: cutting edge graphics, great voice acting, intriguing story. It will not provide much if any of that. What it lacks in those departments it makes up for in every other way.
I expected this to be a lot like GTA: get a job, roam around, shoot people, get paid for doing the job, get another job. While it does follow this pretty well, it is so much more. When I say you can do anything, you can do anything. Go anywhere, use anything, and solve problems and fight bad guys your own way. Just a quick example:
There is a car chase where you are the passenger shooting at other vehicles while someone drives you to the destination. You can climb anywhere on the car to shoot at the guys, you can jump onto their car and shoot at them, you can hijack their car and crash it, you can grappling hook your car and para-glide with your parachute and kill from above, or you could even grappling hook their car to another object causing them to crash. That's just what I could think of--there is so much more to do.
This game is great because it causes you to be creative in how you take care of business. I would recommend this without hesitation to anyone looking for a good time. Don't come for the story or the look, you'll be disappointed. Otherwise this is a sure fire way to have fun and it is super re-playable.
As with all my reviews if you have any specific questions or concerns, please feel free to leave me a comment and I will give you my OPINON. Remember that folks, reviews are opinions not the Gospel.
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on March 4, 2014
This game is not for the faint of heart. You can do some nasty things, and most of the missions involve blowing things up and killing people. Having said that, it is a little like watching a rated R action movie. The main character can deploy a parachute or use his permanent grappling hook to pull him across terrain, catch a moving vehicle or climb things like super tall moutains, buildings or something as low as 20 feet tall. He can swim underwater, run, walk, crouch, hit, throw, etc. Entertaining to discover all the new places in the world, and to travel to each spot. The graphics and actions are pretty cool, and some of the things that the people say are funny. Guy at the video rental shop said it is even better on a PC. The one thing you CANNOT do is play with more than one user, which is a bit of a bummer, so the kids have to share.
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