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Submitted by Daniel Bennett on March 31 2009 - 16:47

TVG base-jumps to the island of Panau to get a first look at Avalanche's big sequel...

The scene opens with Rico, our hero, freefalling towards the horizon while the sun rises over the island of Panau. As he hurtles towards the ground, and the desert looms closer, a small settlement becomes just visible in the distance. Landing short of it, Rico jogs to the nearest suitable point for a base jump. Before long Rico is gliding through the air again and with one hand guiding the parachute, and the other steadying a rocket launcher, he takes aim to make sure his arrival is noticed.

This is not the opening to the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but the first snippet of gameplay shown to us by Avalanche Studios of Just Cause 2. Peter Johansson, the lead developer, was visibly proud as he took us through our first look of the game, and he had good reason to be. This game looks to have achieved the cinematic quality that its predecessor had in doses, but never fully realised.

There Will Be Blood

After Rico's dramatic entry, we were shown just what Rico can really do. A jeep rushes up to him and several guards stream out and take cover. At this point Rico could just shoot them, like a normal game character, but no, that's not good enough. Instead, to punish them for their evil ways, Rico shoots a guard with his grappling hook, tethers the other end to a nearby car and then drives the  around until the guard has stopped moving.

Unsatisfied with this opening level of brutality, we were then shown how Rico can tether enemies to any object in the environment to differing effects. Attaching enemies to a static object, such as a brick wall, will cause a bungee effect where they will fly back into the wall at breakneck speeds. Or better yet, tie two enemies to another to see them fly into each other.  The pièce de résistance though, is the tantalising promise that Rico will be able to tether a car to a helicopter to create a DIY wrecking ball that Wile-E-Coyote would have been proud of.

Next to this, the more routine combat gameplay looks fairly dry. A lock-on system that can target individual body parts should also prove fun, but next to GTA IV's slick cover system it could end up feeling a little shallow. With these new combat moves Avalanche has tried to make the grapple hook a much more integral gameplay element than in the last game. It's now attached to Rico's arm and with no need to constantly equip and unequip, it now seems to play a much more fluid part of moving around in Panau's massive landscape.

With forest, arctic and desert regions, Panau provides a setting unlike any sandbox game before. With the exception of the arctic areas, which at this point seemed to only have one type of tree (picky, we know), the island is stunning. It has to look great because you will be spending a huge amount of your time gliding above it. Panau is huge, 2482 football pitches huge apparently, and with massive areas that contain no towns or roads, driving isn't always an option. The process of hooking onto a distant point, reeling it in at huge speed and then releasing the hook, opening the parachute to glide to your destination looks like it will become second nature to players. From what we were shown it doesn't look like a bad way to get around either.

At the same time as Rico has been wreaking havoc in the small settlement, a pair of gauges have been filling in the corners of the HUD. One is a heat gauge - nothing new - and the other is a chaos gauge.  Herein lies the essence of Just Cause 2. As you carry out your mindless destruction of small villages you're actually filling a quota of chaos. As you get closer to 100% by destroying extra targets such as vital pipelines or propaganda, you start to unlock items and upgrades for your character. In this way, whenever you're creating chaos, big or small, you're completing the game.

As night draws in on the burning wreckage of the settlement, lights start blinking on the horizons of Panau and it's time for a mission. Getting there, Johansson demonstrates the different methods of transport available in Just Cause 2. By comparison to the grappling hook/parachute mechanic, the cars looked slow and boring, until they are driven off the edge of a highway in a cinematic flourish. By leaping out and opening the parachute we glide to the next destination: an airbase to pick up a fighter jet.

Arriving at the mission in style (there doesn't seem to be any other way in Just Cause 2), we're told to cause as much chaos as possible to force our target out of hiding. Flying around the base, it's apparent that there are several ways to approach this. By plane it's possible to take out the radar to stop anti-aircraft rockets and by ground the missile platforms look like ripe targets. Eventually, when the enemy colonels do emerge, minions of the evil dictator appear to make life difficult and, next to the riotous fun of the fighter jet, the core gameplay looks a little staid.

The newly developed Avalanche 2 game engine should ensure that the bugs of the first game won't come back to haunt Just Cause 2. Small finishing touches such as the gathering snow or sand on Rico's clothes suggest a level of finish that wasn't present in the original. As long as this level of polish isn't superficial, Just Cause 2 could be one of the great games of the year.

The original Just Cause suffered from buggy gameplay that felt shallow once the stunts were taken away. That said, it was an impressive first game from Avalanche Studios that looked to take on the creators and giants of the sandbox genre: Rockstar. The first game drew inevitable comparisons with Grand Theft Auto that were impossible to meet. However, with the focus on blisteringly fast, the adrenaline-drenched gameplay in Just Cause 2 is carving out a niche of its own. We are eagerly awaiting its release in Autumn 2009.

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By: Anonymous

Added:Sun 18th Apr 2010 20:48, Post No: 67

anonymous post 63 were you playing on the pc version using a 10 year old graphics card ect, what part of unrealistic dont you understand its not full of bugs thats the way it was designed and the developers have been saying this for ages just idiots like you just ignore podcasts ect.

 

please do enlighten us as to how alien vs preditor came about in your comments as its not even any thing like just cause 2, also wtf are you on about why would TVG reviw a demo well WHY come on you seam to think you know better than them dont you, also some thing i do expect youve over exagerated like shooting someone with a pistol and they go mailes from where you shot them stop chatting rubbish you obviously diddnt like the game and ill bet you diddnt even play the demo.

 

also other comments including the need for a longer grapling hook or thunder storms with lightning that strikes you is just stupid, the only place in the game where you get struck by lightning is on the secret island (located at X:2809m Y:2703m) has a secret wepon the japanese were working on (not to spoil it for anyone that hasnt done the mission yet even if its done very early in the game) and there is no need for a longer grapple if you cant use it then you must be dumb as for unrealistic stuff is when using the grapple on an enemy once there airborn shot them with a machine gun so many times to get the body juggler trophy/achievement.

 

as for what version is better graphicly its going to be the pc version hands down second to that is the ps3 version with its ability to motion capture any ingame action and upload straight to youtube so anyone with glitches or guides to completing tasks / missions can upload there gameplay for all to see then its the 360 version as the 360 doesnt have the same cool feature that the ps3 version has.

 

8/10 is a good score for this game and anyone who like anon 63 disagrees is just a retard, any game on this scale is going to have a tough time trying to get every thing done to please the die hards, graphics on a game like this shouldnt be the main focus as with all games the main focus should be on gameplay as the first and most important priority.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Sun 18th Apr 2010 12:28, Post No: 66

needs to have a longer grapling hook


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By: Anonymous

Added:Sun 18th Apr 2010 12:25, Post No: 65

thay should mack it have it so ween it has a thonder stom you can get hit by lighting any were in the map

 


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 01st Apr 2010 13:29, Post No: 64

8/10 is a good score for this game. 


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Thu 01st Apr 2010 01:04, Post No: 63

seriously?  8/10?

i can only assume you haven't found the stupidly many bugs that i found just playing the demo then?  at least, you don't mention them in the review?

TVG, did you not notice:

you can walk down almost vertical cliffs?

sometimes when you shoot someone, with a handgun, the said person flies miles vertically up in the air and land miles away?

the pop-up it quite ridiculous and almost hampers finding places to land?

the shadows look like ps1 shadows?

the graphics in general are shoddy, especially when close up to textures?

the grapling hook is almost as impossible to use as playing as the alien in the new aliens-vs-predator.

 

christ, please tell me TVG that you wasn't PAID to give this game a high score?  8-((


By: Enkeixpress

Added:Sat 20th Feb 2010 13:48, Post No: 62

Awesome preview.. I've this game pre-ordered, The Limited Edition! :)


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Wed 01st Apr 2009 11:37, Post No: 61

FANBOY FIIIIGGGGHHT


By: SegaBoy

Added:Wed 01st Apr 2009 09:30, Post No: 60

Ummm... the 360/PS3/PC versions look pretty much identical - have you seen the game running?


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 31st Mar 2009 20:29, Post No: 59

unfortunatly justcause 2 wont be comming to the ps2 as its just not able to compete with the ps3 (though the ps2 still pisses all over the 360) but as the devs dont want loads of bugs in the game code they want to be able to update the game, maybe even offer expansions to it like fallout 3's expansions on the 360.

best of all though the ps3 version will look miles better than the 360 version end of argument the ps3 is the better console.


User avatar
By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 31st Mar 2009 16:49, Post No: 58

'Tis a good game until one gets to the very end and is punished like crazy with over the top AI and just impossible-ness!.... A lil more balancing required me thinks! :)

~funkyellowmonkey(ps3 id)~


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