You know a game is doing something right when it has you giggling with glee like a small child: The very first mission of Just Cause 2 sees you fleeing a horde of soldiers in Jeeps across a bridge while standing atop a speeding car. Now, you could just shoot at them, or you could use your New And Improved™ grappling hook to attach them to the bridge’s support struts, pinging them acrobatically over the edge and into the sea below.
The game is all about Chaos, specifically causing as much of it as you can in order to destabilise the government of Panau, a south pacific island cluster with an improbable number of airports and military installations. You achieve this largely by shooting at things, blowing things up, shooting at things to blow them up or crashing things into other things to blow them up. There are over 100 unique vehicles in the game and a decent number of different weapons to get you started and you can call on additional weapon & vehicle drops from the mysteriously well armed Sloth Demon at any time.
Players of the first Just Cause will be familiar with the grappling hook and parachute combo, which allow you to pull off the ludicrous stunts that make the game so enjoyable, and the sequel has made a number of improvements; firstly there’s the aforementioned double-grapple which allows you to tether any two objects to each other (man and car, man and gas canister, man and helicopter, man and other man, etc), then there’s the ability to use the grapple & parachute together as a form of (rather slow) transportation, latching onto nearby scenery to pull yourself along.
There is a main storyline to follow, but with only 7 missions from start to finish it’s not exactly an epic; that said, there are literally hundreds of side missions, races, collections, explorations and the like, not to mention the Steam Achievements and as with the first game, the fun really comes from the massive sandbox that you have to play with. Who needs a story when you can sneak into a military base, blow up a 100ft broadcast antenna with high explosives then, when a gunship turns up, attach your grapple to the underside, swing into the cockpit, knock out the pilot, fly halfway across the map and then bail out and start making parachuted strafing runs on an airfield with a pair of SMGs while the carcass of your now abandoned helicopter crashes into a bank of fuel tanks blowing the whole thing sky high? I’ve played over 24 hours so far and I’m only at 34% completion.
The only real complaint I have is that on the PC, lacking an analogue keyboard, vehicle control and precise movement can be a challenge especially at high speed and it does make it difficult to realise some of the awesome manoeuvres that you know you *should* be able to pull off with the equipment you have.
You can buy Just Cause 2: Limited Edition from Play.com for £24.99 and you should.