114 of 119 people found the following review helpful
Best Sandbox Game in a Long Time,
This review is from: Just Cause 2 - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
This is just a preliminary review, I will update as I play further. Right now I'm about 45 minutes into the game and have completed a few missions. The first thing that I'd like to say is that the graphics are excellent for a sandbox game. The character models are very good and the environments are almost breathtaking. Foliage moves in the breeze and sunlight flickers as the leaves move. The colors are bright and vibrant, almost like the Uncharted color palette. The draw distance is good, with some minor pop-in with some ground foliage. You can see mountains which look like miles off in the distance. There are few minor jaggies on the edges of things, however not as bad as games such as InFamous. One more thing to add about the graphics is that the particle effects and explosions look really good. Dust flies up and flames/debris shoot out.
The grappling hook and parachute work marvelously. You can basically grapple onto anything within reach and then use a pistol to shoot enemies or structures. Jumping off of cliffs, you can use your parachute to glide all around the environment, it can also be used during base jumping off of high structures.
The aiming is sort of assisted. You have to have your cross hairs near an enemy and it kinda locks on. According to the manual you can target specific parts of enemies, but I haven't tried that yet. I enjoyed taking a mounted minigun off its stand and carrying it (it has unlimited ammo, unlike other weapons I have discovered) A lot of objects in the game are destructible, except buildings (in my limited experience so far) Light poles are destructible, however some lights, like on buildings and such can't be destroyed, which isn't a big deal.
Overall, if you like sandbox games, I recommend this game. If you're on the fence about purchasing it, there's a demo available.
After playing a few more hours last night, I am still impressed with the game. The graphics are very nice, as stated above. The cut-scenes have a lower graphic quality than the game. I was a little disappointed, but the game itself is beautiful.
I experimented more with the grapple. You can grapple two things together, in once instance you tow a car out from under some debris. Another thing to do is you can pull down statues of the island's ruler to create chaos. [A word about chaos, there are government buildings and equipment all around the island, by destroying them you create chaos and help you gain notoriety. By increasing your level of chaos, you gain access to more missions and equipment.] You can also grapple enemies toward you or hang them off of trees or buildings. You can only use one grapple at a time. If you double grapple something, you press a button to make it come back to you somehow (it's a game, not real life, so it basically works like magic).
Free falling in the game is a blast. The designers made it feel like you're actually falling from extremely high up and the controller vibrates as though you're experiencing wind resistance. You can open your parachute at any time, whether falling or while in vehicles. Using a parachute while in/on vehicles allows you to gain altitude. Once you're in the air, you can grapple onto another vehicle and throw the driver out or just ride on top.
Don't expect realism in this game as far as the stunts you perform. You can ride on top of a speeding car and not fall off, you can dive down over the front of the car and shoot. There is just so much to explore and do in this game. There are different things which you can search for such as the statues mentioned above. I think there are 90 scattered all over the place so it's fun to look for them and take them down. There are 3 factions on the island and so far I helped take over one base for them.
The driving is a little weird at first, as far as handling. Different vehicles handle differently, the larger ones are slow and clumsy to control. You get handbrakes to help you take sharp turns and such. There are mopeds, motorcycles, copters, planes, boats, jeeps, cars, taxis, buses, firetrucks, tons of stuff to drive, there are actually 104 different vehicles and you gain a trophy for driving each one (basically hopping in).
One last thing, the shadows in the game are ugly, unlike the rest of the game. At times they look jaggy and pixelated, but the action is fast and you hardly notice.
I will update again once I play even more of the game.
I've been playing 6 hours and 21 minutes. According to the statistics, I'm only 6% finished with the game. The map is HUGE! When fully zoomed out, it measures 16"x16" on my 46" TV. I've explored roughly a 1.5" square within those 6 hours. Granted, I did spend an hour or so just fiddling around. The game has extensive statistics and it keeps you updated periodically. A message appears in the corner telling you how many hours you've been playing, how many different vehicles driven (there's also a check list on the stat screen), how many statues you've destroyed, various free fall heights, etc. The stat screen is interesting to check out because the game keeps track of so many things.
There are racing challenges (not hard and I'm not a fan of driving games), free fall races where you base jump and have to fall through rings in the sky, and aerial races where you can fly either a plane or helicopter. The planes take some getting used to and I've always crashed :(
The trophies are fun to collect. I'm not a fan of looking at the requirements, but the few I did check out seemed pretty cool. I've only racked up a handful but I'm not purposely trying to get them until later in the game.
I've put in around 22 hours and have completed roughly 16% of the game. The reason it's taking so long is because it's rather difficult to achieve 100% completion in the cities! There are always hidden water towers I keep missing or propaganda trailers off in some corner. Also there was a gas station in an out of the way place I missed for over an hour. I've gotten 100% completion in about 4 areas. The cities are huge with a lot of ground and air to cover. Plus, once you get further into the game your heat level increases faster. Just shooting a couple water towers with a helicopter will send air support after you.
I'm still having a blast 22 hours into the game. It's so fun to just explore that I've only completed 3 storyline missions. I have actually gotten frustrated with the business district of Panau. I'm stuck at 97% complete so I'm about to start exploring further into the mountain and desert regions.
A question I received was are the collectable items located on the map as dots? The answer is yes. However, I'll be damned if I can find some of them. I can be right over a dot on the map and there's nothing but trees in the area, no crate to be found. I'm not sure if it's an error in the code, or it's hidden somewhere, but I've given up more than a few times.
FYI, you can complete the challenges multiple times to earn more money. There's nothing worse than buying a $35,000 plane and crashing it after flying 50 yards. If anyone is able to complete the free falling challenges, congrats, I am having a difficult time with those!
Post any questions and I will try to answer them quickly.
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 24, 2010 12:19:06 AM PDT
Robert S. Foster says:
I just read the gameinformer review and they called it a sandbox game also, I'm not new to gaming but what is a sandbox game. Anyways, Thanks for the helpfiew review now I will get this game.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2010 9:33:43 AM PDT
N. Peterson says:
Basically you're free to roam anywhere and do what you want. There are places you go to receive objectives and missions, but you can take vehicles, fly planes, helicopters, and basically explore as much as you want and pick up missions when you want to.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2010 12:25:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 24, 2010 12:26:18 PM PDT
I've played the demo - agreed that it is an awesome game. It looks great and I really like the open environment. One cool thing about that 1st level, if you go to the General's mansion to the side opposite where there are soldiers/money trucks there is a really nice sports car you can drive. The fastest one in the 1st level I believe. If you drive that car around for a few minutes and then come back to the same spot, a new sports car will spawn itself there. Same make of car, but different color and there are convertibles and hardtops available. You can do this about 5 times, spawning 5 different cars, until the game starts to remove them.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2010 8:24:28 AM PDT
Christopher Pike says:
Pretty good review. I was initially shocked that you would write a review after only 45 minutes with a game like this, but I'm glad you are updating it as you go.
I have probably put 5-6 hours into it myself. I'd have to give it a 4/5 stars if I were to review, but I won't review until I'm finished with it. It is a very fun sandbox game, but it has got its flaws as well. The game can be extremely unforgiving at times, to a point of being very aggrivating. The missions are pretty fun though. Sometimes you will die over and over until you realize there was an easier way to tackle a specific mission. It's also annoying that whenever I found a helicopter to fly, I would immediately start getting shot at by an enemy helicopter that would seemingly spawn out of nowhere and hunt me down. It would be a lot more fun if I could just get into one and explore with it and not worry about getting shot at.
It's really a fun game just for the freeroaming aspect alone. I can see myself putting more time into the freeroaming than actually completing the missions. Let's just put it this way, I purchased GTA4 and I never put more than a few hours of playtime into it. I just couldn't get into it. More of the same I guess. Just Cause 2 is different. I'm enjoying having a massive group of tropical, glacial, and desert islands to explore to my hearts content. The way you traverse around is completely unique as well and leaves you with plenty of options. Boats, planes, atv's, cars, etc. It's all there.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 11:59:09 AM PDT
Evan W. Jenkins says:
Can you clarify some things for me before I purchase?
I like how in Just Cause 1 they put the collectible items as dots on the map. (you didn't need a strategy guide) Does Just Cause 2 so the same thing?
I DIDN'T like the approach Just Cause had to tanks. It seems like every military base had a tank that could kill you in one shot and there was little you could do about it. That aspect made me eventually quit before I conquered all the bases. Are there more ways to deal with tanks in this game? (or less annoying shell/rocket deaths)
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 3:10:30 PM PDT
M. Weir says:
It basically means the game world is open to do whatever you want with it, and the game doesn't unfold in a linear fashion. Some sandbox games, like the grand theft auto games, take place in a large world but some sections of the world are not accessible at first, and are only made available after you progress through the linear STORY driven missions. Others examples of sandbox games: Far-Cry 2 ("sandbox shooter"), Red Faction: Guerilla, Infamous, Fallout 3, etc.
Posted on Apr 6, 2010 3:21:20 AM PDT
Jared Taylor Moring says:
Dude you are so right about the planes being hard to fly! The first plane you can get from the blackmarket dealer is a pain in the butt to get off the ground unless you are at an airstrip. Oh, and from experience, dont plan on flying the same plane again if you are trying to land on crazy terrain.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2010 3:23:37 AM PDT
Jared Taylor Moring says:
I haven't had to deal with tanks yet but you can always try a helicopter. some have guns on them.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2010 10:53:14 PM PDT
N. Peterson says:
Yes, the collectable items appear as dots on the map. I've been to one military base and grabbed a tank and attacked them before they shot me.
Posted on Jun 8, 2010 1:03:45 PM PDT
Good review. It's nice to see periodic updates. Sometimes a *wow* game turns into a steaming pile of poo after a few hours of game play. Thanks!