Just Cause 2 (PlayStation 3)

  • Gameplay
  • Story
  • Audio
  • Visuals
  • Entertainment

Also available on Xbox 360 and Windows

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Review written by Stephen Deck; originally published 07/09/2018 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night

Although I never played the first Just Cause game, I watched a friend of mine from high school play Just Cause 3 a few years ago and thought it looked fantastic.  I picked up Just Cause 2 on a whim a while back because it was cheap, and while I have Just Cause 3, I figured it would be better to play this one first so I don’t go from 3 to 2 and end up disappointed (god help me, I guess, if I ever end up playing the first one).  While there’s naturally not as much wanton destruction in this game as I saw my buddy create in the third installment – they are, after all, different console generations – there’s still a GLORIOUS amount of carnage and havoc to wreak in Just Cause 2.

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The game’s story follows the same protagonist from the first Just Cause, Rico Rodriguez, as he travels to the fictional Southeast Asian island nation of Panau to overthrow an anti-American dictator.  He does this by destroying various government installations, thus creating “chaos,” and riling up and empowering the three rebel factions on the island.  These factions are the ultranationalist Ular Boys, the communist Reapers, and the mafia Roaches.  You pick one of these factions to side with in the final battle, but you’ll be working with all three factions during the rest of the game.

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Visually, the game looks good for the PlayStation 3.  It doesn’t push the hardware as hard as The Last of Us or Uncharted 3, but it’s still a lovely game graphically.  The music is good and fits the feel, but the start of the audio design is the sound effects.  Dear God, the explosions sound SO satisfying.  Just find a tank or minigun and destroy everything in sight.  I could put William Sherman to shame with the destruction I left in my wake.  Unfortunately, the voice acting doesn’t always match the explosions; the acting is really hit or miss here.  Some of the characters are totally fine, but some of the characters – especially the random NPCs – are just bad.  Like, not 90s cringe bad, but “this is obviously a white guy trying too hard to sound Asian and it just comes off as kinda racist” bad.  Also, while I definitely sided with the communist faction (workers of the world, unite!), the voice actress for the leader made me want to stab myself in the ears with an ice pick with every line.  It was terrible.

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Just Cause 2 is an absolute must-play for PS3/360 gamer fans of open-world murder simulators because it’s not just a murder simulator – it’s a full-blown American-backed terrorism simulator.  Yeah, Grand Theft Auto may have hookers and murder and its share of explosions, but Just Cause 2 has quality explosions, not just quantity (although it definitely has the quantity, too).  The voice acting is kind of meh, but the story is pretty good, the gameplay is obscenely addicting.  You’ll be exploring the map, see a previously undiscovered military base, and immediately say “WELL, I GUESS I BETTER GO KILL EVERYONE WITHIN 5 KILOMETERS.”  Seriously, this game is dirt cheap, and it’s a bloody good time (literally).

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