Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

BR8- Brenom

Breck's really making a lot of assumptions with who she attacks. Maybe these two are the heroes and this Ricky is a real jerk. For all we know, he hasn't been paying back his loans and the childrens' hospital can't get the money it needs to buy medicine because Ricky has sucked up all the cash and he's been trying to get out of town. Wouldn't you pull a knife on that guy? These two are heroes! Or these two are dirtbags roughing up some guy on the streets. This lady has a bandana and that just screams “evil”. Plus that guy pulled a scalpel and that's far more “super villain” than just a hunting knife. Anybody can look threatening with a machete, but it takes a true mastermind to look tough with a scalpel. Bonus points if you're wearing a lab coat at the same time. This is why I would make a good vigilante. I see things from all sides. C'mon Universe, are a few superpowers really all that much to ask?


Long, No blood for grappling hooks Review: Just Cause 2- From the opening acts, you really pick up that Just Cause 2 did not get a lot of usability testing or care. I ran out of ammo on all the beginning sections and this is followed by a long, rather difficult car chase with no checkpoints all at the start of the game when you're trying to get used to it. JC2 has some pretty lousy controls that will require practice to get used to as well. Too many actions are mapped to the same button with nonsensical priorities. "Jump on a car's hood" takes priority over "melee attack the enemy shooting me in the face" for some reason. You're also contending with a terrible camera that gets in too tight, gets caught in objects, focuses on useless views, or just generally decides to spins around wildly. When you jump from high distances, the game goes into a freefall mode, but the problem is that if you're at a high elevation and want to just jump down a few feet (like from a roof to a balcony), the game reads this as you being really high up and goes into freefall mode which moves the camera away from the building so you can't grapple on to it or control your character and if you hit just about anything in freefall mode without your parachute open, you will die. So your awesome action hero can die from falling three feet. Once you come to grips with what you're going to be fighting against game-wise, you've realized that there is going to be a lot of fighting in every area of the game. There are far too many enemies, even on easy mode. They just don't stop coming so it gets tedious and they aren't push-overs either. You can hit an enemy dead on with a blast from a tank and he'll get up again. They all have nigh-perfect accuracy no matter how far away they are and the weapons are buggy. Expect to be shot through floors or even through entire buildings. Even concrete buildings won't shield you from explosions. And while I make no claims at being a weapons expert, I'm fairly certain a shotgun doesn't work like a sniper rifle. An enemy can fire at you from a football field away and still decimate you with a shotgun, which to say at least a wee bit strange. Just once I'd like to play a sandbox game that handled enemies and their supplies in a reasonable manner. No matter how many thousands of soldiers you kill or helicopters you blow up or military vehicles you destroy, they can just spawn an infinite number of them. I'd love to see a game that says the bad guys have X numbers of cars and as you destroy them, they can never be replaced. Or as you kill soldiers, their ranks lessen. They may spike when you start your rampage, but if one person is single-handedly killing thousands of soldiers, taking over military bases, destroying supply chains, and assassinating leaders, would you really join up with that army? Sandbox games need an enemy morale meter. Like why does anybody join the Liberty City police department? You're just going to get killed by a rocket launcher or run over by a guy joyriding. The game isn't kind with checkpoints when you die either. In missions, you typically have a few checkpoints, which is very thoughtful, but many missions start with a 30 second to over a minute of driving in a direction or flying in a straight line with nothing else to do (no enemies, no plans you need to be making, etc) but the checkpoint is placed before these vehicle bits meaning you have to do them over and over if you're dying. Outside of missions, there are a severely limited number of checkpoints (especially at the beginning of the game where there's at most four for the entire island), so if you die on one side of the world, you respawn aaalllll the way on the other side of the island and you have to slog through several loading screens to get back to where you were. Traveling around the island isn't fun either. Planes control for crap, helicopters are really slow, and all drivable vehicles handle like the roads are made of ice, can't drive up hills (and the game takes place on a mountainous island), and will flip over if you look at them wrong. JC2 gives you a lot to do but rather than seeming like you're free, it just feels unfocused. You have a handful of side missions at any time, thousands of objectives to destroy, and thousands of things to collect. You never feel like you've made progress. I was willing to go nuts in The Saboteur because the objectives you destroyed actually influenced how the game played. Drive around blowing up sniper towers and when you have a mission in that area later, it wouldn't have any snipers. Here, it's more blow up a dozen water towers and... it doesn't affect anything. It feels more like how Rare just throws thousands of collectibles into games to pad the length. Infuriatingly, some objectives actually do give you messages that you've lessened the dictator's influence or civilian morale is up, but it has zero discernible effect on the game. Not once did I ever see a civilian rise up, help me, or do anything other than kneel, cower on the ground, and get shot. Just to give you an idea of how much padding there is, completing all the side missions and story missions only puts you around 30% game completion. Almost 70% of the game is filler. It's a shame too because the game has some decent missions. There's a nice variety of objectives (clearly defined in most cases), there are lots of escort missions but the AI player typically stops at the sign of danger and only advances once you've done your thing, and a few are creative or fun. You'll also be contending with bugs. Lots of them. People floating in the air, falling through solid objects, the grapple randomly rocketing you into the stratosphere, the camera getting stuck and you aren't allowed to turn it (if this happens in mid-air, there's no way to control your character until you go splat), weapons just won't work, sounds get stuck in constant loops, enemies walking through solid objects, objects exploding as soon as they spawn, and on and on. In fact, it's so poorly made, that even when doing nothing, it can be highly entertaining. If you go to the city and just look around, every few minutes you'll see planes and helicopters crash into the buildings or if you're on the beach, boats will crash into rocks or ground themselves and burst into flames. And they just keep respawning from the same place so they'll continuously crash into that same building with no effort to go around it. The same goes for people on the roads. They'll spawn and drive off cliffs, crash into each other, decide to make a U-turn in the middle of a busy road, or run down pedestrians. The game won't remove in-game characters from cutscenes so you can have a helicopter shooting and blowing stuff up while you're casually talking with an ally or have a gang war raging while you talk about how great things are going. Some objectives will even complete themselves for you. I was driving to a destination when the game popped up with the message that I blew up one of the statues. About a mile down the road, I came across the wreckage of the statue and I had never at any point in the game come anywhere near it. One time I was just walking down the street with no enemies around and this phone booth on the side of road explodes and sends glass flying everywhere. Never a dull moment! It also crashed my system several times when I tried to turn the game off. The story sets itself up for something interesting but doesn't really take it anywhere. You're going up against a dictator that's basically Kim Jong Il meets Hugo Chavez on an island with gangs that are basically Chinese freedom fighters, Al Qaeda, and some kind of African-drug lord-Godfather-Kingpin-I dunno guy but it doesn't do anything with those pieces. Your character isn't even likable in that B-movie action hero kind of way. He's just an asshole. The game has all these real world parallels but treats them as fluff wacky bits that it's almost offensive in how flippant it is. Some missions really boil down to “oh you terrorists!” or “torture happy dictators are so wacky!”. The area based on Lost was pretty funny though and had a better explanation and resolution than the real show did.
***So incredibly obvious it's not really a spoiler***
The story of the game has you trying to figure out what foreign interests are doing in the game's country and how the dictator is so powerful. All throughout the game you blow up gas stations, oil tanks, refineries, and drilling stations and you're tasked with shutting down oil pipelines. Want to guess what the big reveal is at the end of the game? This country had a lot of oil. Bet you never could have figured that out on your own, could you?
***Told you they weren't spoilers***
And for the most asinine of all moments, your characters detonates a nuclear bomb no more than 3KM away from where he's standing. And suffers absolutely zero ill effects from this. Not only are they not vaporized, but in the next cutscene, everybody is just relaxing on a boat where the bomb went off. The Just Cause series is one of things that sounds great on paper and has a neat idea, but the game is sp poorly made in both design and execution that it feels like a company's first attempt at making a game (even though it's made by Eidos and Square-Enix!) and instead of making the game tight and fun, they just threw a lot of crap together and padded the heck out of it with pointless sidequests and collectathons.
Sins Committed: Bad camera, Bad controls, Bad story, Collectathon, False difficulty, Tedious combat, Padding
Virtues Acted: Funny, Good missions, If you can't find something silly to do in a game that gives you a grappling hook, heavy weapons, and high explosives in a world where anything and everything can burst into flames at the slightest (or no) provocation, you really have no imagination