Just Cause 2
|Just Cause 2|
Matthew J. Costello
Just Cause 2 is a open world action-adventure video game developed by Swedish developer Avalanche Studios, published by Eidos Interactive, and distributed by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2006 video game Just Cause.
Just Cause 2 employs the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game is set on the fictional island of Panau, which is located in Southeast Asia and covers 400 square miles (1,000 km2) of land. Rico Rodriguez returns as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former mentor, Tom Sheldon.
Just Cause 2 was met with positive critical reaction, with praise being directed at the game's open-ended nature, world design, soundtrack and gameplay mechanics, as well for being an improvement over its predecessor. Criticism was directed at the game's story and voice acting. Just Cause 2 was a commercial success, selling over 6 million copies as of September 2013.
The player is free to roam the game's open world, not having to focus on the game's storyline. Progress in the game is measured with Chaos, which is earned by completing missions, destroying government property, collecting items for the factions and reaching 100% completion in settlements and military bases. Chaos unlocks new agency missions and stronghold takeovers. Chaos and stronghold takeovers expand the factions' area of influence, which unlocks faction missions and race challenges.
Initially, the player must acquire weapons and vehicles in the field. Early in the game, the player encounters a black market supplier, from whom weapons and vehicles can be purchased, with an option to have them delivered to the player's location via helicopter. As more Chaos is gained, additional weapons, vehicles, and the extraction option become available on the black market. All weapons and vehicles on the black market have parameters that can be upgraded in several steps, by building upgrades with weapon and vehicle components found within the game world. There are over 2,000 parts that the player can acquire.
Notable features of Just Cause 2 include the grappling hook, which gives players the ability to tether objects to each other. For example, in a high speed vehicle chase, the player can use the grappling hook to attach a pursuing vehicle to the ground, forcing it to stop and often flipping or turning the vehicle causing damage to it. The grappling hook also allows the player to pull himself, and hold onto objects such as walls or helicopters. In addition, the player has a parachute which is always ready to be deployed, even if it has been deployed and discarded only moments before. This can be combined with the grappling hook and used as a fast method of transport.
The artificial intelligence uses a planning system which enables enemies to perform various actions. Enemies can use the environment to their advantage, taking cover behind objects and adapting to the objects around them. Additional elements include vertical gameplay using a grappling hook and parachuting maneuvers. There is a real-time deformation system and individual components can come loose from vehicles. The PlayStation 3 version of the game allows the user to capture video of their gameplay and either export it to the XMB or upload it to YouTube from within the game.
Just Cause 2 is set four years after the first Just Cause, as Rico Rodriguez, one of the Agency's main operatives, is being dropped into Panau, a fictional dystopian island nation in Maritime Southeast Asia, in order to find Tom Sheldon, an agency operative suspected of going rogue. In order to find Sheldon, Rico allies himself with the three dominant criminal gangs on the island: the Roaches, an organized crime syndicate, the Reapers, an insurgent socialist militia, and the Ular Boys, an ultranationalist rebel group that espouses traditionalism and opposes foreign influence. He gathers enough information to track down Sheldon, who not only reveals that he's been investigating a larger conspiracy behind Panau, but that he is in fact the "Sloth Demon", the Black Market dealer that often calls Rico to give information on the gangs and that Rico calls to be provided with weapons and vehicles. Rico establishes that Sheldon has not gone rogue, and Sheldon tells him to continue causing chaos on Panau while he explains the situation to the Agency.
After clearing everything up, Sheldon demands that Rico quickly make his way over to his hideout. They tell him that Jade Tan, a mysterious Agency asset whom Rico had met earlier, has been caught in Panay's military base, and is to be tortured and possibly killed without question. Rico rescues her, and destroys the base where she is held. However, Jade is bundled into a truck and a fleet of gunmen attempt to make a getaway along a frozen lake. En route, a nuclear submarine emerges from the ice, but Rico hijacks the truck carrying Jade, and they are both airlifted to safety by Sheldon and Rico's mission handler Kane. Later, Jade reveals that the Roaches, Reapers, and Ular Boys are secretly being supported by benefactors of Russia, China, and Japan respectively in an effort to bring down Panau, and Rico and Sheldon wonder what the small nation that is Panau has that is able to attract such dominant superpowers. Nonetheless, Rico and Sheldon track down the foreign intelligence officers liaising with the factions and assassinate them. Soon after, the island is amidst so much chaos that Panay is forced to leave the capital and take refuge in his fortified military base. Enlisting the aid of the factions, whether it be from the Ular Boys, Reapers, or the Roaches, Rico assaults Panay's hideout, but all of Rico's followers are killed during the raid. Panay is apparently killed during the assault by Karl Blaine in a murder-suicide, and Rico discovers that Russia, China, Japan, and the U.S. have been secretly fighting over Panau for its oil supply, which is supposedly the richest in the world.
With Panay dead, the situation in Panau turns into a free-for-all as foreign nations scramble to claim the oil. Russia, China, and Japan send a fleet of supertankers to Panau, while the U.S. begins scrambling military forces to defend the island. Rico is tasked with holding off the supertankers until reinforcements arrive. However, a nuclear submarine surfaces from the sea. Rico investigates the submarine and discovers Panay, who is still alive but injured from Karl Blaine's suicide attack. Panay proceeds to fire four nuclear missiles at Russia, China, Japan, and the U.S., but his clothing is accidentally snagged on one of the missiles and he is hauled off with it. In pursuit, Rico grapples onto one of them and both men battle in mid air as Rico disarms each missile. Finally, on the U.S.-bound missile, Rico pins Panay into the exposed missile core and reprograms the targeting computer before leaping to safety. The final missile changes course and explodes over Panau's oil fields, killing Panay and destroying Panau's oil reserves. Rico reunites with Sheldon, Kane and Jade, who express their dismay at this decision as the oil was worth billions, but Rico explains that the oil is not worth dying over, and now that it's destroyed, all interest in Panau will be lost, preventing a war between the superpowers and sparing the innocents of the island. Sheldon agrees, and assures Rico that a U.S.-friendly president will be installed on Panau, and that the nation will be closely monitored. The group raise their glasses to good friends and a job well done.
Eidos originally announced a Christmas 2008 release date for Just Cause 2. However, on October 10, 2008, Eurogamer reported that Just Cause 2 was pushed back to 2009, and later, 2010. On November 24, Square Enix announced that the game was set to be released in North America on March 23, 2010, three days later on March 26, 2010 in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, six days later on April 1, 2010 in Australia and New Zealand, and June 10, 2010 in Japan.
The PC version only runs on DirectX 10 hardware and is thus incompatible with Windows XP. It supports several features and graphical effects that are missing from the console versions such as screen space ambient occlusion, soft shadows and increased detail. Compatible Nvidia graphics cards additionally support Bokeh lens effects, enhanced water simulation and stereoscopic 3-D.
Marketing and release
Customers who pre-ordered the game received a map and access to exclusive downloadable content (DLC) "Black Market Chaos Pack" (see below in the DLC section). In the U.S., DLC included Rico's signature handgun and the Monster Truck, which was a GameStop U.S. exclusive before being released in other regions. The DLC was made available over the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, and Steam on June 22, 2010. Additionally, 21 alternate, named designs for Rico's parachute were created, being offered as a pre-order bonus, each for a different retailer.
- Black Market Aerial Pack: Includes the "F-33 Dragonfly Jet Fighter", the "Dual Parachute Thrusters" and the "Multi-Lock Missile Launcher".
- Black Market Boom Pack: Includes the "Quad Rocket Launcher", the "Cluster Bomb Launcher" and the "Air Propulsion Gun".
- Black Market Chaos Pack: This pack was available as a pre-order bonus for a period after the game's launch. It included "Rico's Signature Gun", "Agency Hovercraft", "Chevalier Classic", "Bull's Eye Assault Rifle" and "Tuk Tuk Boom Boom". This pack is no longer available, but its contents made it into separate DLCs.
- Monster Truck
- Bull's Eye Assault Rifle
- Rico's Signature Gun
- Agency Hovercraft
- Chevalier Classic
The following have been released for free:
- Chevalier Ice Breaker
- Tuk Tuk Boom Boom
- Chaos Parachute
Just Cause 2: Multiplayer Mod was initially started as a fan project intending to bring multiplayer capabilities to Just Cause 2, but was later noticed and picked up by the official developers as an official add-on. After several years in the making, the modification was made available officially as free downloadable content on Steam on December 17, 2013. The mod allows thousands of simultaneous players to interact on Panau.
|Just Cause 2: Music To Blow Shit Up By|
|Soundtrack album by Mats Lundgren|
|Released||22 October 2010|
|Genre||Video game soundtrack|
|Producer||2010 Square Enix Music|
On 22 October 2010, the original soundtrack to Just Cause 2 was released to consumers for free via the game's official website. It's called Just Cause 2: Music To Blow Shit Up By and features music composed by Mats Lundgren. Additional music by Anders Ehlin.
|Just Cause 2: Music To Blow Shit Up By|
|1.||"Just Cause 2 Theme"||0:32|
|3.||"Mile High Club"||2:22|
|4.||"Tom Sheldon's Theme"||1:17|
|5.||"Panau National Anthem"||0:50|
|6.||"Ice Cream Truck Jingle"||0:06|
|11.||"Pimped Ice Cream Truck Theme"||0:17|
Just Cause 2 has received positive reviews from critics. On GameRankings, it had an average score of 85.83% on the PC, 83.68% on the PlayStation 3 and 82.91% on the Xbox 360. On Metacritic, it has an average score of 84 on the PC, 83 on the PlayStation 3 and 81 on the Xbox 360. Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw of Zero Punctuation named it his "Game of the Year", calling it a "bundle of free-roaming fun."
Ryan Clements of IGN gave a positive score of 8.8 out of 10 in his review of the game. He said: "I haven't had this much fun with an open-world game in years. Just Cause 2 is over-the-top and insanely fun. There are some issues in the game's presentation and the checkpoint system is far from perfect, but Just Cause 2 is otherwise a must-play for adrenaline junkies."
Jeff Cork of Game Informer gave the game a 9 out of 10; in his review, he called it "One of the most entertaining sandbox shooters ever created." He also said that "none of [the] issues diminish the countless memorable moments Just Cause 2 provides, born out of the spontaneous chaos the player creates while simply exploring the world."
GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd gave the game an 8 out of 10. In his review, he praised the grappling hook and parachute mechanic, the amount of content, the game's world, the destruction and "chaos" mechanics, and the amount of vehicles. He did however criticize the game's gunplay, technical issues, and some the main story missions. He stated that "Just Cause 2 is ridiculous in the best possible way."
According to Square Enix's sales reports ending March 31, 2010, Just Cause 2 had sold over 1,480,000 units worldwide. On September 10, 2013, Christofer Sundberg, the Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Avalanche Studios, revealed via Twitter that Just Cause 2 had sold approximately 6,000,000 units to date, and had a user base of 500,000 active monthly players.
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