Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Justin does, as he tries out some extreme skitchin'.
Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.
And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.
This review was submitted by Justin Robson. If you’ve played Just Cause 2, or just want to ask Justin more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Just Cause 2 (360, PC PS3)
The sequel to a possibly underrated, but still awesome game arrives with a bang. Actually quite a few bangs.
Unlimited Screw-Around Factor: Just Cause 2 is the kind of game where you can spend a hundred hours just messing around. The possibilities are endless. Anything from tying a dude to your car for a joy ride, to jumping out of a plane just before it crashes into a mountain. It never gets old. The developers not only threw reality out the window, they threw it out doing mach 9 at 40,000 feet.
It’s Fecking Huge: Some of the most fun you can have in this game is simply picking a spot on the distant horizon and going there. The scenery is not a static background. The first thing I did was pick the tallest snowy mountain in sight and walk/grapple to the top. It turned out to be one of the smaller mountains in the game, and every time I felt like I was reaching the summit, there was another peak towering over it. It’s never-ending, the kind of game that makes want to you go out of your way to explore instead of exploration becoming a by-product of the missions.
Graphical Wow Factor: The graphics are a mixed bag, character models look very last gen, but the moments of greatness more than compensate for this. There are a lot of spots, particularly in the air where you’d swear you were looking at a photo.
The Missions: *Sigh* This is the Achilles heel of the game. While you could be doing really creative things; nine times out of ten, you just have to shoot the bad guys. It’s plagued by the stereotypical go here/blow this up mission structure that you’ve played a million times, and it does the game no justice. This coupled with a poor excuse for a story and characters (Rico is about as deep as a puddle) makes for a pretty dismal experience. Makes you wonder why developers can’t grasp that missions shouldn’t be a chore that’s peripheral to what actually makes the game fun.
Gunplay: Just Cause 2 feels like a PS2 era shooter. There’s no real over-the-shoulder shooting, no left trigger zoom, no cover system and no fully recharging health. The end result is a vanilla shooter, where you feel like you spend more time looking for med kits and ammo than actually, y’know, playing the game.
No Co-op: It’s easy to see why they chose not to include multiplayer, but equally, it feels like a lot of wasted potential that could have made what is a good game an incredibly memorable one as well.
Missing An Epic Soundtrack: This is not a huge issue, but there are times at which the game feels a little sparse because of the lack of some Slayer playing in the background. Seriously, put some fast or heavy music on while you’re playing. This game deserves it.
If you’re after a tightly wound, cinematic, story-driven experience, Just Cause 2 is probably not your game. If you’re the type of gamer who could endlessly keep himself amused in a big environment with some awesome tools, and appreciates the over the top-ness of it all, you’ll be in sandbox heaven.
Reviewed by: Justin Robson
You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.