Just Cause 2 is the sequel to a 2006 game that had very mixed reviews. The original game had a number of problems with controls, animations, missions, and even the weapons. The PC version of the game was also not a great port with a number of bugs that were never patched. For the sequel developer Avalanche decided to try and fix everything that was wrong with the first title. They were mostly successful.
PC version: I’ll start off by complementing the developer on the PC version of Just Cause 2. Avalanche did a great job, supporting a number of modern technologies and making a very good looking game. On top of that it is a good port. I did not run into any game killing bugs during my playtime. For modern technologies it uses CUDA on the water effects and various other little things. Just Cause 2 also has full support for Crossfire, SLI, and Eyefinity. It will likely support Nvidia Surround as well whenever that is actually released to the public.
Scale: Just Cause 2 has a huge world and the draw distance is pretty increadible. When you take a plane or helicopter up high into the sky and look around there is a lot of space to cover and you can go anywhere you see. Just Cause 2 has no invisible walls anywhere. At times the scale can be daunting.
Mods: Just Cause 2 has spawned a rather impressive modding community. There are a ton of different mods already with more and more being added. As you’ll see in the screenshots below I have a few on including: Turning Riko into Wesker from RE5, turning the moon into the second Death Star, and an extended grappling hook. People are working on adding new missions and even new areas to the game. There is also a group working on creating a multiplayer mod.
Controls: While the controls are better than the first game, like most open world games Just Cause 2 has a number of control issues. The handling on cars and motorcycles is not good at all. Planes and helicopters control well however and I found myself always trying to travel in them when I could; either that or using the grappling hook to get around.
Voice Acting: I really struggled on whether to call the voice acting good or bad. Don’t get me wrong the VA is BAD, but there are a lot of times were it transcends being just plain bad and goes right to hilarious and cheesy bad. There are points where I wonder if Avalanche intentionally got bad VAs to make the game sound really cheesy. Still I have to call the voice acting bad as it really is pretty terrible at times. However if, like me, you are a fan of really cheesy bad things you will love the voice acting.
Missions: Avalanche did learn a few things from the first game, but the missions still get repetitive quickly here. There are too many “go here kill this dude” or “go here take over this base” missions and they all start to feel the same. It doesn’t help that you absolutely have to do these side missions in order to progress with the main plot, even though the side missions add nothing to the game. The main missions offer a little more variety, but nothing too creative. Now there are some fun and creative missions in the game, but they feel too few and far between.
Just Cause 2 is a great game if you are just planning to run around and goof off. It can’t manage to shake a lot of the problems that GTA style open-world games have though. From squirrelly controls to repetitive missions it feels very much like a game that was simply designed around you spending a few hours blowing stuff up. Thankfully, Just Cause 2 does blow stuff up very good. Avalanche addressed a lot of the problems the first game had and made a real show case game for a modern PC. Even on my very modest system it looks good.
Just Cause 2 Review by Derangel