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Games of 2013: Just Cause 201:24 AM -- Fri January 10, 2014

Just Cause 2

Now here's a game that's not very current! But this year is when I got it (for $2.99 in a Steam sale) and played it. Too be honest, I haven't played it a lot. Wow, well actually, Steam says I've played 6 hours which was kind of a surprise to me! I thought I had barely touched it, and that may be true, but I guess I touched for a while.

Just Cause is a "GTA-Like" - a game that takes place in an open world where you can steal cars and cause trouble in a 3rd-person perspective with a lot of guns and explosives. It bears many of the trademark elements of these games, but it has a sheen of respectability since in this game, the authorities are actually a totalitarian regime of some sort, so when you are breaking laws and killing cops, you're doing... good? Well, not as bad. You're supposedly fighting for the people.

I gave Just Cause 1 a try (also on PC - except for Borderlands 2, all of my Games of 2013 were played on PC. Borderlands 2 was on PS3), but it is a terrible PC port of a console game. It's virtually unplayable, and I quit very quickly. Just Cause 2 on the other hand is a blast. The big 'hook' to Just Cause is in fact a grappling hook, combined with a parachute. Using those two tools, which you have from the very first instant of the game, you can do an amazing array of ridiculous physics-defying things. I rarely steal cars because it's usually faster to just grapple the ground in front of me, pop the parachute open and launch myself skyward with that (if that doesn't make sense to you, that's because it's not possible but you can do it!). Then you can re-grapple the ground over and over to sort of sky-crawl along. You can even climb mountains that way.

If you want to be more violent about it, you can grapple enemies to pull them off of towers, grapple helicopters to jump aboard and throw the pilot out of them, or least plausible of all, grapple a helicopter and then disconnect the grapple from yourself (yet somehow keep it for future use anyway) and grapple the other end of your rope to a tank, either airlifting the tank or crashing the helicopter. Or possibly both.

I can't really tell you much about this game, despite 6 hours of experience. It feels like I hardly have any idea how it works. It seems like a really hard game, with guys gunning you down left and right, but you have a lot of tricks you can employ to escape and beat them... if you're good enough to pull them off. The game world is utterly enormous (it's famous for it: See?), and it's pretty daunting to even think about that. I don't know if I will play more of this game in the future. In my old age, such a huge game is just more than I have time to deal with. I've been playing Batman: Arkham Origins and the city feels small, and I actually really like it. Nothing is really too far away, and everything is always interesting. I don't know that a giant world is all that great a feature!

Anyway, the final conclusion on this one is that it's a real fun experience - the ridiculous things you can do make you laugh, and it's just fun run n' gun. Not a lot of variety though - this island of hundreds of little villages is kind of all the same. I mean, some of them are mud huts while others are big cities of glass and steel, but either way, you're just running around shooting the same people over and over and yanking them off of walls. Which is fun but not enough to fill hundreds of hours, which is probably what it takes to 'complete' all the cities on the map.

For $2.99 though? Pick it up!
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