Reader Review: Just Cause 2

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.


    Good review, I agree completely. The game was a lot of fun, but there's a great deal of wasted potential. It'd have been great if there had been more missions like the one requiring you to disarm bombs on a convoy that can't slow down.

    The thing that kills it for me is (so far at least) that you don't have safehouses with weapons caches, vehicles,etc like you did in JC1. Having to BUY crap every time you need it (not to mention load a cutscene, get the menu, load a cutscene) and not being able to buy several things at once is just a pain in the ass.

    Plus, the vehicles all handle like crap. I dare anyone to drive one of the sports cars around a corner without the bastard sliding sideways off a mountain.

    The voice acting is atrocious too. I've lost count of the amount of times I've wanted to stab bo-LO santo-ZEE of the ree-PERZ in the ear with a pen-CIL, com-RAYD.

      Actually, I love the ground vehicle handling (the airplane handling OTOH is a massive pain in the ass). Different vehicles have different handling characteristics (the speed, acceleration and handling stats are made obvious for the purchasable vehicles but exist for all vehicles) and it is also effected by going off-road (some vehicles are fine off road and some are very very not) and by damage.

      Sports cars in JC2 tend to have awesome top speed and acceleration, and if you keep your finger jammed down on the accelerator it's a no-brainer that it will have twitchy handling and oversteer massively if you try to turn at that speed. They also tend to steer badly on rough ground.

      The default vehicle given for road challenges is usually a good call. Only challenges with lots of long straights, no off-road and a low chance of military entanglement suit sports cars. Half the time I find myself having to abandon a shot-up car a long way into a challenge, and usually steal a motorbike or military jeep to finish

    Another great review Justin. I'd like to see what they will do with the next game, if they go ahead and make another one that is.

    Why has no one mentioned the atrocious voice acting yet? Seriously, I played the demo, and having to hear that bitch Santosi's (San-Toe-Seeeeeeeeeeee) voice over and over again made me want to rip my OWN throat out.


      *points at reply above...*


      That was the worst part of the demo. Worst. Accent. Ever.

    The game is just begging to have had some co-op goodness. Developer fail.

    hopefully there'll be a pc mod for multiplayer like GTA:SA did

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