Just Cause (video game)
Matthew J. Costello
|Release||PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows|
Just Cause is an action-adventure video game set in an open world environment. It is developed by Swedish developer Avalanche Studios and published by Eidos Interactive, and is the first game in the Just Cause series. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360. The area explored during the game is described as being over 250,000 acres (1,012 km2; 391 sq mi) in size, with 21 story missions and over 300 side missions to complete.
As of 23 April 2009, it has sold more than 1 million copies. A sequel to the game developed by Avalanche Studios, published by Eidos Interactive and distributed by Square Enix, titled Just Cause 2, was released on 23 March 2010. Just Cause 3 was revealed on 11 November 2014 and released on 1 December 2015.
Just Cause begins with Rico Rodriguez, an operative for an organization known as the Agency, being dropped into a Caribbean tropical island called San Esperito, after being called there by his commanding officer, Tom Sheldon, to help overthrow San Esperito's dictator, Salvador Mendoza, whom the Agency believes to be in possession of weapons of mass destruction. After his arrival, Rico meets up with Sheldon and fellow agent Maria Kane, and they ally themselves with a guerrilla group staging a rebellion against the regime and the Rioja drug cartel, another enemy of the government. Rico assists them in their civil war against Mendoza's corrupt officials; Black Hand mercenaries and the Montano cartel. Rico can also assist in the liberation of various territories to further destabilize the government's rule over the island.
Eventually, Sheldon discovers that Mendoza does, indeed, have control of WMDs, and with San Esperito so politically unstable and with the guerrillas having the upper hand, the president is forced to retreat to his private presidential island just off the mainland. Sheldon and Kane fly Rico to the island to kill Mendoza, but he attempts to escape via jet. However, Rico boards the jet and kills Mendoza and his remaining bodyguards, stopping his reign on the islands.
The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, with a large, open world environment to move around in. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, swimming, and jumping, as well as utilizing weapons and basic hand-to-hand combat. Players can take control of a variety of vehicles, including cars, boats, fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, and motorcycles. Players can also perform stunts with their cars in which they can stand on the roof and jump to another car, or choose to open their parachute while still in motion on the roof. Other key features of the game include skydiving, base jumping, and parasailing (by latching onto a moving car or boat while one's parachute is deployed).
The open, non-linear environment allows players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game, players can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam. However, doing so can attract unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the authorities.
The player can also partake in a variety of optional side missions, for example, liberating a village or taking over a drug cartel hideout. These are necessary to gain points with certain factions.
Just Cause has received mixed to positive reviews from critics. IGN gave Just Cause a score of 6.8 out of 10. They noted that the gameplay lacked depth and that the side quests are boring and repetitive. However, IGN UK awarded the game a score of 8.8, and the Official Xbox Magazine UK gave Just Cause a score of 9 out of 10, praising it for "varied, consistent, imaginative gameplay". The Official PlayStation Magazine UK gave it 8 out of 10, criticising its repetitive side missions and short story (saying it could be completed in less than five hours), but praising some of the gameplay mechanics.
The game suffers from its share of bug-related issues though, as noted by many reviewers, who feel the game may have been "rushed" to market without sufficient time to fix certain problems. The PlayStation 2 version, in particular, suffers from a number of 'game-killing' bugs that render certain missions impossible to complete, or the entire game unplayable until it is reset. Eidos has not released a patch for the PC or Xbox 360 versions of the game.
The Xbox 360 version was well received, scoring 9/10 in Play (U.S.) and 360 Gamer UK. The 360 version also stayed on top of the Xbox 360 sales chart in the UK for three weeks in a row.
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