Just Cause 2 Hands-On Preview

just cause 2

The official demo for Just Cause 2 made its way to Xbox Live this week, and GamerNode was there to give it a try.  The long and short of it: insane stunts made easy.  The demo shows off a lot of the main gameplay mechanics that will no doubt be manipulated differently throughout the story to achieve some of gaming’s most outrageous action.  Here’s a little taste of what Avalanch Studios has planned for this game.

First of all, the story is similar to a South American version of the Martian conflict from Red Faction: Guerilla, and the controls are pretty similar too.  The basic idea behind JC2 is that an oppressive government has risen to power on the island of Panau and it’s up to this small band of revolutionaries to liberate the island for its people.  You join up as Scorpio, though it doesn’t really seem like you have a good reason to.  It’s probably just ’cause… oh c’mon, it had to happen.  So of course the only way to liberate this island is to destroy everything with a government symbol on it, including government officials and military officers, who are a little like the bosses from Crackdown. In the demo, players will have to fight their way through a labyrinth of enemies in order to reach some super-jacked, bearded guy in a uniform who goes down pretty easily with a grenade launcher.

But that’s only a peripheral part of what this game is about.  The story is clearly not going to be the star here, as JC2 obviously shines brightest in its open-world sandbox gameplay.  The mechanic that makes this an original sandbox experience is the grapple, which acts just like a very long-distance hookshot to pull players rapidly towards pretty much any surface, including vehicles and buildings.  Enemies, or innocents, can also be grappled and pulled towards Scorpio, but the fun with this equipment absolutely comes from the ridiculous stunts that can be performed with it.  An example scene: You shoot a propane tank, then grapple onto the top of it, which then rockets you into the air where a chopper is trying to gun you down.  You whip out your SMG (courtesy of the black market store, accessible throughout the game), shoot the passenger of the chopper, use your grapple to pull yourself away from the exploding propane tank and onto the bottom of the chopper. You proceed to flip onto the front of the chopper and shoot the window out to take out the pilot.  He doesn’t go down so easy, so you whip around the side of the vehicle are prompted to press three random three random buttons in order to throw him out of the aircraft and get in the pilot’s seat.  But as soon as you enter the chopper, you realize it’s on fire, and you have to bail, so you press A and deploy your parachute out the door, pulling your body away from the exploding chopper and into the air.  You manuever your parachute towards the road, shoot a motorcyclist on the way down, then grapple onto his motorcycle, all without touching the ground.  Wow. (Btw, after many a try, I was actually able to acccomplish this insane feat.  The game makes it easier than you might think.)

This anecdote from the demo honestly best expresses what this game is all about.  There’s also the option to stay earthbound and steal a tank to infiltrate an enemy military base, blowing up absolutely everything in your way, which is also incredibly satisfying, but we’ve seen this kind of gameplay before.  Where JC2 will certainly excel is in the airborne stunts, the death-defying jumps, and the mind-blowing vehicle hijinks.  And what’s even better than that?  This game is absolutely massive.  The demo itself spans enough land to continue exploring for hours, and the end of the demo shows that this large space is actually only about a twentieth of the whole map.  This was easily the biggest demo in scale that I’ve ever played.

Get ready for a wild ride, coming to March 23rd to PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.


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Author: Dan Crabtree View all posts by
Dan is Managing Editor for GamerNode and a freelance gaming writer. His dog is pretty great. Check him out on Twitter @DanRCrabtree.

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