Just Cause 2
Here's A Game where you can leap from a mile-tall skyscraper, dive through the air bullet-like towards an enemy gunship, grapple on to said gunship, swing onto its front, grab onto the cockpit, shoot its occupants, commandeer it and fly it towards the building you just leapt from, bail out as it collides with the glass tower, parachute to ground level, find a man and tether him to a gas canister, shoot the gas canister so that it zips about uncontrollably, and laugh manically as the confused bystander is dragged through the sky by a flailing makeshift rocket.
That's one thing you can do. From a standing position you can grapple almost any surface and pull yourself towards it While being reeled in you can open your parachute and sail skywards, and while airborne you can grapple to surfaces below you to keep your momentum up in a way that probably wouldn't work in real life. To this end, and unlike in the previous game, you're never stranded on the ground for long - as long as you can grapple, you can fly. Where Just Cause's use of the grappling hook and parachute was restricted, the sequel allows you to use both at any time.
The hook's abilities have been shaken up too, you're now able to hold the grapple key down to attach it to somebody or something, before releasing it while aimed at another object to attach one to the other. Tether two people together in this way and they'll be flung towards each another with lethal, hilarious force. Tether a man to the back of a car and he'll be dragged along by it Tether a car to a road during a chase and it will be violently jolted, flipping and spinning madly through the air before coming to a standstill. Tether an enemy to a ceiling and he'll dangle helplessly. Melee him to death while he's hanging, and the game cheerfully awards you a pifiata kill.
Tethers, tethers, tethers. You'll bloody love tethers. Otherwise the grapple is comprehensively useful, working in almost every circumstance we tried during our hands-on session. Riding on top of a limousine before tethering the front of the vehicle to an overhead sign caused the car to back flip, launching us into the air. You can even tow vehicles using it, if you can imagine such a luxury.
Besides the grappling hook and parachute fun, the world itself is huge. Not just in the north, east south and west but in the up and down too. Impossibly close climates range from vast desert plains to dense jungles and snowy mountains. Dubai-grade skyscrapers rise up from icy cliff faces and tower above cities, their sheer altitude demanding they be base jumped from. Where Mirror's Edge achieved a sense of terrifying vertigo through cleverly working the camera angles, Just Cause 2 does it through brute force -you're thousands of feet above the earth and, thanks in no small part to infinite draw distances, it feels like it.
The map's peppered with a reassuring quantity of stuff too. Every settlement contains a number of collectibles (which upgrade your vehicles and weapons), and destructible government property -through collecting everything, and blowing up the rest you'll be given a percentage completion level for that settlement You won't be able to walk far without being reminded that you're 8% away from fully looting the nearest town.
Thirty heavily guarded generals live in Just Cause 2s archipelago, and for whatever reason they're to be murdered. Then you've got the races, a returning feature, in which you'll chuck a vehicle through some checkpoints against the clock, whether it be a fighter jet or a moped. Even the side missions are more interesting this time around, having been promoted from simple courier tasks to exploding giant satellite dishes and jumping off buildings in slow motion.
Just Cause 2 is a loopy open-world shooter that stuns by offering an abundance of choice. It'll live or die on the diversity of its missions, given the stamina needed to endure the utter madness of tethering two people together by their faces for an hour. Whether the carnage can form lasting appeal is still to be seen. Our guess is that it won't but don't worry about it Once Just Cause 2 grapples you by the brain and you're jumping from helicopters and hi-jacking fighter jets in mid-air, it's unlikely that you'll care about what you'll be doing 20 minutes from now.
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Agent Rico Rodriguez is what Tarzan would be if he was transplanted from his Johnny Weissmuller days, given a free shopping trip at Topman, and then shoved onto a tropical island, in the middle of a battle between rebels and a ruthless dictator, with the order to sort things out He even still has his swinging ability, though instead of vines and going "Ah-ah-ah!" a lot, he uses a kind of bionic grappling hook.
We got a chance to test out how well Tarzan the secret agent swings in the run up to his launch into the public sphere in March. And it turns out that he's swinging rather well, as it happens.
Let's do a quick recap for those who haven't been here very long. Rico is a secret agent, a sort of Hispanic James Bond, but with an even more uncanny ability to dodge death and defeat evil. His latest adventure takes him to the huge south-east Asian island of Panau, where Baby Panay is having his wicked way with the inhabitants.
As Rico runs amok through the various environments of Panau, he'll be getting involved with a twisting, turning plotline of deception, intrigue and dirty tricks, nothing of which we can reveal here, for both legal and moral reasons.
Fun With A Cable
Suffice it to say that Rico's adventure won't be an easy one, with hundreds and thousands of machine gun-toting enemies wanting him dead, blown-up and/or carved into little pieces. That's what you'd expect. Just Cause ?s not going to tear up the rule book in that sense, but what it is going to do is maybe cross out some sections and write some cool notes in the margin, most of which will have to do with the concepts of destruction and swinging (not that kind.)
First up is destruction. In our hands-on, we were given the chance to see what happens at the beginning of the game, which involves falling out of a helicopter and parachuting into a well-fortified enemy base.
This provided a good initial section to really put the swinging action into practice. At first you'll naturally be a bit clumsy, but it won't take long before you're sweeping across chasms or tethering a bad guy to an explosive barrel, shooting it and watching the barrel rocket off into the air, dragging the unfortunate minion along with it Avalanche have seemingly nailed this element a crucial and hat-hanging aspect of their magnificent octopus. It's going to be in this area that your core enjoyment of Just Cause 2 lies. It's shaping up to be what Mercenaries 2 wanted to be, but failed in doing so. You'll be able to use the grapple to cause loads of structural damage, not to mention the various comedy ways you can use it to inflict death on Baby Panay's goons.
Which is all well and good, but there's a little niggle. That niggle is that it might just be a bit too easy, a bit lacking in real challenge. Like the first game, you take farcical amounts of damage from the throng of enemies pumping Rico with llets. Farcical in the sense of "hardly any". This was my main problem with the first one, so regardless of fixing all the other issues, which it seems as if they have almost certainly done, the one element has remained.
There's a caveat here - the game was ! fixed on the easiest difficulty setting, so come review time, that statement could be proved hideously and utterly wrong. let's hope so, because there's little worse than never feeling that thrill of danger or peril in an action game. Remove that and you've got nothing. There's too much to like in Just Cause for it to be spoiled by this though. Zipping all over the place, pulling off high-risk manoeuvres is the core of the game, but remove the high risk and you've got nothing.
This could be just the explosion-filled ticket many have been itching for, and could become the most fun we've ever I had playing games.