If you played the Action-Adventure game Just Cause released a few years ago you might have left feeling that the game was more of a tech demo than an actually polished experience. A massive world was rendered on the fly with some pretty great visual effects thrown in. Water sparkled as you drove boats over splashing waves and land drew in distant objects off the horizon as you hurled toward the ground from a plane. The down side was the actual gameplay; a lack of over arching storyline that drew a player in as well as a reason to explore a vast but repetitive world. Every bit of information released so far for Just Cause 2 seems to be taking the solid foundation from the first and building a great game experience around it.
Just Cause 2 stars returning main character Rico, dropped into the South Asian island of Panan and tasked with hunting down his former mentor along with the millions that disappeared with him. Only small hints of the story have been given so far, but it is expected to unfold through action-driven missions with little bits of narrative stringing them together. Missions and story line quests are basically permission slips to create as much destruction and chaos as possible, under the banner of one of three factions named The Reapers, The Roaches, and The Ultra Boys. Each mission or quest will build up the chaos on the island which will help unlock more missions, and what you do affects your rapport with either group.
Just Cause had one of the largest game worlds ever seen before, a sprawling 1000 square km of jungle islands. Just Cause 2 doesn’t expand on the size but pumps different terrains to give the player more variety. Mountain tops are covered in snow while deserts span for miles, and there’s still some jungles thrown in for good measure. To help put 1000 square km into perspective that’s 27 times the size of the entire world in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. That’s a whole lot of ground to cover but with 100 different vehicles to be found throughout finding transportation shouldn’t be difficult.
Just Cause’s trade mark was the grapple hook and parachute. Both designs are expanded on further in the sequel. Instead of making the player earn the right to use the grapple hook it’ll be available from the start, unlike in the first game. Combined with an unlimited supply of parachutes it’s not hard to imagine that always being on the move is the only way to survive the hectic gun fights. Like the first game, Rico will use the grapple hook to gain height or decrease the difference between himself and objects allowing him to stunt jump into vehicles, which he can also hijack, QTE, or use it for cover. This provides many options for some of the scripted action scenes, including ambushes and chases.
Not only can you grapple Rico onto structures and vehicles you can attach other people or objects to each other and allow the physic engine to figure out the rest. If the newly redesigned AI system isn’t putting enough enemies close enough to explosive barrels for your liking just shoot the barrel, then the enemy to tether them together making his escape from the deadly explosion impossible. One employee of Avalanche Studios mentioned their love of tethering a jeep to a helicopter and using it as a wrecking ball. Apply this mechanic to more destructible environments and how could anyone have trouble finding inspiration for wreaking chaos in Just Cause 2. Controlling Rico isn’t any easier but there’s less frustration when trying to perform some of the more complicated stunts. There is still time for them to be tweaked but it seems after playing past the learning curve you may not have any trouble.
While there are some details of the game that are yet to be elaborated on, there is a lot to look forward to in Just Cause 2. Just Cause 2 is slated for March 2010, and keep an eye out here on MyGamer for more information as it comes available.