RPS At E3: Just Cause 2

By John Walker on June 4th, 2009 at 10:30 am.

The only way to make an arrival

There have been two games that have made me laugh out loud at their sheer audacity during this E3, and one of them is Just Cause 2. You may remember that the original game from Avalanche in 2006, as famous for its infinite parachutes as it was for having an entire island to explore as you wished. There were some who found the unrealistic nature of endlessly spawning parachutes to be offputting. Ho boy, they’re not going to like Just Cause 2! Because, cor, it’s even more ludicrous.

Brilliant, too. Or at least it looked it from the demonstration we were shown today. I found the original Just Cause to be a lot better in my mind than it was when I played it. The potential for ludicrous action never seemed to quite appear, the result feeling a little hollow. Just Cause 2 looks anything but hollow. If it were a human, it would be in a straight jacket. Strapped to a rocket. Falling off a mountain.

Tom Sheldon, Rico Rodriguez’s former boss and friend has gone missing, along with rather a lot of gold. Rico’s new job is to track him down and make him be dead. He’s somewhere within the 400 square miles of beautiful tropical island.

KERBLAMMO!

So if you take the infinite parachute mentality, and then apply it to all things ever, you get close to the mayhem at the core of this sequel. In fact, chaos is the core of Just Cause 2 – it’s the in-game currency. That’s not a metaphor. You gain chaos by causing chaos, and then spend it on opening new missions.

This might be entering a location and blowing every single thing up. We watched an entire village destroyed in spectacular style by Rico’s ludicrous arsenal of weapons, as he blew up buildings, exploded cars, and murdered everyone he could find. Of course, this rarely involved anything so ordinary as running around.

Rico now has his grappling hook permanently attached to his left arm. Infinite grapples to join infinite parachutes, and when used in combination, it allows for the new slingshot ability: Grapple a distant target and then rapidly reel yourself in toward it, then let out a parachute, and like a kite being run along a beach, you’ll lift up into the air. It’s a new parachute, a stunt parachute, capable of much more manoeuvrability, and makes a perfect vantage point for firing rockets at fuel tanks.

Flying a helicopter to the top of some skyscrapers, we watched Rico then unleash a barrage of missiles into a passageway that connected the two buildings near the top. As much damage done from here as possible, he then jumped out, grappled to the bottom of the chopper, then grappled the walkway and launched himself inside to kill any that remained.

Riding on top of a car, we saw Rico use his new friend of the infinite parachutes and infinite grappling hooks, the infinite tethers. These are elastic cords that can be attached to absolutely any object in the world. So Rico fires one end at the bonnet of a car he’s being chased by, and then the other at a passing lamppost. Car kwapangs off the road. He then fires a tether at a driver of a car in front, then the other end to a passenger of another rival vehicle. Both get yanked out of their cars and collide in mid air. Avalanche’s Peter Johannson explained that his favourite use of this tool is to tie a Jeep to the bottom of a helicopter, then use it as a wrecking ball.

The game’s expecting all you think of. Grapple an enemy and fling him in the air, then shoot him while he’s up there, and you’ll be informed you’ve performed one “juggle kill”. Just Cause 2 is the sort of game that has juggle kills.

There’s 300 settlements, over 100 vehicles (including cars, bikes, boats and planes – one of which is a Jumbo Jet), and around sixty missions to complete. It’s enormous, it’s insane, and it looks breathtaking. This is Far Cry 2 for the beserk. If it lives up to the sections we saw today, it could be gaming’s greatest lunatic playground.

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43 Comments »

  1. Mr Pink says:

    This sounds like Just Cause meets Garry’s Mod. I like it!

  2. not the rob with a pony says:

    Why did Rico blow up that village?

    Just ’cause.

  3. Howard says:

    Yeah, sounds good. “More of the same but slightly better” is exactly what this needed.

    On a side note, who complained about the lack of realism with the parachute? I never heard such a thing…

  4. The Fanciest of Pants says:

    Sounds positively insane. Do want.

  5. Little Green Man says:

    Awesome Five!!

  6. Nik Daum says:

    That phrase “Do want.” reminds me of the way a girlfriend from asia would close her emails: “So miss.”

    I chuckle, warmly, every time I read either.

  7. Professor says:

    Oh man, this sounds like a lot of fun! Any trailers?

  8. FunkyB says:

    This could be amazing, or really bland like Farcry 2. Any news on the potential for a demo?

    Edit: (FC2 had its moments, it just was a bit repetitive for me.)

  9. Bear says:

    Rico’s new job is to track him down and make him be dead.

    Beautifully put sir

  10. Mr Pink says:

    @FunkyB: Yeah, repetitiveness is a danger. That was my biggest gripe with the original. As long as they include enough tools to make your own fun (ala GTA) I think it’ll be all good. The elastic cords especially sound like they could have a huge number of interesting uses. Physics!

  11. Ian says:

    @ Howard: People who weren’t allowed fun as a child.

    DO WANT.

  12. Jockie says:

    The original was very pretty but well, John describes it perfectly, it felt hollow. This sounds pretty mental though, hope it can live up to the promise. Every game needs grappling hooks.

  13. Ravenger says:

    Will they let you re-bind the WASD keys to the arrow keys this time?

    When the Just Cause demo was first released I downloaded and installed it. Ran the demo and tried to remap the keys. Realised you couldn’t, then immediately uninstalled the demo.

    Still don’t know how games can be released on the PC that don’t allow you to rebind the controls.

  14. phil says:

    Far Cry 2 is Far Cry 2 for the berserk, using walls of fire to herd South African mercs and the occasional zebra into a mine field and a manic with an automatic shotgun is not, you know, subtle.

  15. Bananaphone says:

    Will I be able to string a tether across the road to snare cars and topple unfortunate motorcyclists?

  16. Christian says:

    @Ravenger:

    The same thing kept me from liking (and buying) the game. Uninstalled the demo after 10 minutes.

    But:
    Then a happy Steam-sale came along and I just bought the whole game, and guess what: the game was way better than the demo, and I still do enjoy it now and then. Just fun.
    And if I remember correctly, you can change the controls in the full game.

    Almost seems as if they wanted to keep people from buying the game with that demo..

    Also: I’m very excited about a second version. As someone else said here: more of the same, just a little better. Great :)

  17. MD says:

    This looks brilliant. If you’re going to make a ‘stupid’ game, don’t hold back! Once you’ve crossed the line into crazy territory, it’s a waste not to explore it fully.

  18. Radiant says:

    @MD
    Very well said; GTA4 I’m looking at you.

  19. Irish Al says:

    Yeah, if you’re going to make it an arcade game you might as well rear back.

  20. Rei Onryou says:

    Infinite tethers, grapples and ‘chutes = win in my book. I haven’t played the original yet, but by god, the description of the sequel has me drooling.

  21. Man Raised By Puffins says:

    Saw the developer walkthrough the other day, which sounds like the one John went to see, and by crikey this looks like stupid fun. Tethering mercenary chaps to burning gas canisters looks set to become my new favourite thing.

    @ Radiant: Eh? GTA4 pulled the series back from the kitchen sink silliness of San Andreas, adding grappling hooks and car leaping craziness would have made a mockery of its more realistic bent.

  22. Zyrxil says:

    You may remember that the original game from Avalanche in 2006, as famous for its infinite parachutes as it was for having an entire island to explore as you wished.

    That’s funny, because I remember the original game has having a massive map with absolutely shit to do on it. The entire game was about ‘liberating’ identical small towns over and over again, with the occasional identical big city. The main story never gave you reason to visit 75% of the map to the NW, not that the towns there were any less identical. You never received any meaningful rewards either, as liberating towns simply opened up a supply cache nearby that contained some vehicles you probably already had access to, because you had already liberated plenty of other towns.

    The most interesting part of the game was the end missions, which allowed you to hijack some jets at a presidential airfield. For maybe 15 minutes you were allowed to dogfight in a plane that wasn’t a Cesna-lookalike, the only fixed wing planes you could find in the game proper, before killing the dictator. And surprise, you couldn’t access those jets ever again. Just godawful design all around. I have no hope for this sequel.

  23. Jason Lefkowitz says:

    What turned me off on the original Just Cause was the abysmal handling of the game’s vehicles. Driving a car in the game was a completely spastic experience. Compared to driving vehicles in the original Mercenaries (which is the title JC seemed to want really hard to be), it was night and day. Which was a shame, since there was a lot to like about the game…

    Any word if they’ve fixed this for the sequel?

  24. Dozer says:

    This looks promising! I’d like to hear more! thanks John!

  25. Eschatos says:

    As long as they make the vehicle handling not shit, this could be good.

  26. Marcin says:

    @Zyrxil

    You complain about there being nothing in the miles of terrain, and then you complain about not being able to access the jets? I sense a missed opportunity :)

    (Yes, they’re there if you go looking. And a game that doesn’t hold your hand and just inspires you to go look for yourself because “it’s there” is a winner in my book. Looking forward to this one quite a bit.)

  27. TariqOne says:

    If this were co-op, it would be sublime.

    I believe it is not co-op, therefore is not sublime. Doing all that crap sounds fun. Doing it WITH A FRIEND sounds amazing.

    Every game like this should lift the amazing character customization and strong co-op of Saint’s Row 2. That none do makes me quite sad.

  28. Hypocee says:

    Wasn’t the original the one with the hovering jaguars, i.e. buggier than a bucket of termites?

  29. Zyrxil says:

    You complain about there being nothing in the miles of terrain, and then you complain about not being able to access the jets? I sense a missed opportunity :)

    The point is, there’s no point. What kind of stupid ass of a designer would deliberately hide anything interesting away behind 80 other identical towns? There’s no story, no interesting characters, no incentive whatsoever to wander more and more jungle. Even supposing someone found jets hidden away, you’d then be obliged to blow up 150 AA sites, then you would have to find jet enemies. You know what? I’m paying for a game, I expect the designers to do more than throw disparate elements together in a big map and claim “emergent gameplay!” Having markers for everything, ala Oblivion, is hand holding. Actually having stuff to do on a nonlinear map, ala Fallout, is not hand holding.

  30. Junior says:

    I really wanted to like the first one, I persevered through the empty island, the miles of jungle and wobbly driving. The final straw was when I flew a helecopter to a mission. There was the familiar caravan right in the middle of this strange grid of grey lines around dark grey squares, unperturbed and blissfully ignorant, I flew in for a landing. Roads started appearing, then cars, then a skyscraper materialized around my helecopter and caused a rather sudden landing followed by death.

    I have high hopes for the sequal none the less, if only for infinite bungee cords.

  31. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    A Mercenaries II beater? I hope so…I’ve spent like 100 hours with Mercenaries II already :)

  32. Guhndahb says:

    Hypocee: That was Boiling Point, a VERY different game. I far preferred Boiling Point over Just Cause (although it’s really apples and oranges) despite all its bugginess but Just Cause was still a fun console-style action game.

  33. CMaster says:

    ACtually, post-patch Boiling Point is no longer buggy. It’s a rellt interesting ad huge game, and sucessfully did what a lot of more recent games have tried to do and failed. Sadly, fighting in it never felt right, and far to much time was spent driving between locations.

    That said, that was a very, very serious game wheras this sounds anything but.

  34. tentacleraep says:

    I have a feeling I will be tethering drivers to various things when this gets released, and probably laughing about it too.

    As long as they keep letting you helidrop vehicles when you are far away from civilization, this will be great.

  35. El Stevo says:

    I’m already sold.

  36. Hypocee says:

    Yup, I was wrong, thanks for the correction; I’d come back to say ‘oops’. For some reason I have trouble keeping the two Latin American destabilisation action games apart in my head. I am probably a racist.

  37. Little Green Man says:

    Just Cause was only really fun if you embraced its design, that of just jumping off of stuff and freefalling away from a motorbike after driving off a cliff. Really the best part of the game for me was falling. I would seek out new mountains and cliffs to jump off and see my highest base jump number increase. But now looking at this new game, I think I am going to invest even more time into jumping off of stuff.

  38. Ian says:

    There was also much pleasure to be had in nicking an aircraft, flying as high as you could and jumping out, then seen where the moment took you. :)

  39. Paul Moloney says:

    I downloaded the original demo again and played it. The handling of the vehicles is abysmal and the combat is repetitive, but if they sort out such problems in the sequel, it could be a lot of fun.

    P.

  40. Jonathan says:

    CMaster said:

    “ACtually, post-patch Boiling Point is no longer buggy. It’s a rellt interesting ad huge game, and sucessfully did what a lot of more recent games have tried to do and failed.”

    Well, it’s playable, yes, but there are still some terrible behavioral problems with that game. Like anything involving vehicles. (Watch people drive into buildings). Also, the landscape just repeats the same cells over and over if you walk far enough. That said, it was a beautiful game, and occasionally had that Deus Ex quality of realistic interactivity about it. The developer supposedly had a sequel called White Gold in the works, but it may be dead.

    I’m not off topic am I?

  41. Hyper says:

    YAY! This looks so cool! I like the tether thing, as if I wasn’t already instantly sold on this game, when I heard the part about tethering the drivers of two rival vehicles together, I nearly busted a load in my pants! I can’t wait for this!

  42. willis says:

    Terrible but also exciting at one place! I like the scenes, there seems to be no limit to the creative ideas!

    Will –

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