There are TONS of sandbox games out there, and most of them focus on a particular aspect and improve it in some small way, and others are GTA. GTA has set the standard for sandbox games for a long time, but Just Cause 2 tries to claim this throne in the name of destruction and chaos. Do they succeed? Or is this another case of lofty ambition and sloppy execution? Read our full review to find out.
Just Cause 2 is just a phenomenal game, one that excels on so many levels that it could threaten to take the throne from the king of the sandbox, GTA. The developers realized that in order to compete with a franchise so storied and iconic that they would have to change things up considerably, and they did so extremely well. Instead of running around a city, players are given an entire island that includes huge mountains covered in snow, tropical shorelines, a desert, and giant cities. The terrain is vast and extremely varied, and you can literally go to every inch of it.
Most games force players to stay on the ground or rely on the environment to tell you where you can and cannot go, not anymore. In Just Cause 2 players get to use two of the best tools ever implemented in a sandbox game, a grappling hook that lets you grapple on to any surface 100 feet away from you, and a parachute that you can deploy at any time. The combination of these two tools lets players have a feeling of freedom that no other game has ever really given. If you see something in the distance that you want to scale, and then jump off of, you can. The possibilities are endless and the game gives players plenty of opportunity to take advantage of these tools in incredible ways. Not to mention that you can take control of all different kinds of vehicles from scooters to a Boeing 747 and everything in between.
The main objective of the game is to cause Chaos, which is sort of like an experience bar that you fill up by destroying government buildings and causing all sorts of destruction and havoc. As you fill this bar up, more weapons, vehicles, and missions open up. You can upgrade weapons and vehicles by finding parts all around the world. The gunplay is a bit slow at first and ammo tends to get a bit scarce, but this is a relatively small complaint when given how much the game does right. This is improved as you get better weapons and upgrade them so don’t be put off at the beginning.
The story is ridiculous and doesn’t take itself seriously at all, and it only really functions to give you more stuff to blow up, and does a great job in doing so. It tries hard to be funny, but for the most part the jokes fall flat. This is a very small concern but players should know that they aren’t really in store for a riveting tale here. Along the way, players do missions for different revolutionary groups around the island and get bonuses for completing these missions so they are worthwhile to do along with being a whole lot of fun. Just Cause 2 is one of those games that really rewards exploration so take your time and don’t try to rush through it to get to the end.
The visuals for Just Cause 2 are some of the best out of any game in this generation so far. Every bit of the environment is incredible and impeccably detailed. The game’s locations are extremely varied and the developers really make each one look unique and interesting in its own way. Character design is a bit of a weak point, but that really takes a back seat to the incredible job the developers did creating the world that the game exists in.
If you were to go around the whole island that the game is set in you would see all kinds of things that set it apart from other games of its kind. Everything is extremely polished from the beautifully rendered water to the superb sunrises and sunsets that the game treats players to. The weather effects are some of the best I’ve ever seen and really give the world a life of its own.
It’s really impressive that the developers were able to create such a detailed world while still being able to maintain the incredible scope that the game also has. Usually when it comes to creating a gigantic living world, graphics tend to suffer in favor of adding as much as possible. Just Cause 2 manages to have its cake and eat it too so to speak because it excels in both scale and detail which is something we really haven’t seen too often so far.
Just Cause 2 is one of most fun games I have ever played. It gives players a kind of freedom that has never been seen before, and it thrives because of it. Instead of restricting players it just lets them loose on this island to cause as much destruction and havoc as possible, and it works better than any other game of its kind ever has. The kinds of things that players are able to do in this game are amazing, and I have a feeling that we are only limited by our imagination when it comes to all of the possibilities. The game encourages creativity and fun above all else, which further separates it from the pack.
Just Cause 2 sets a new standard in the sandbox genre, and will be difficult to top due to its incredible graphics, expansive world, and extremely fun gameplay. It encourages exploration and focuses on destruction and chaos above all else. The game works so well on all levels that it overcomes the smaller flaws, and makes them seem just like minor hiccups. If you are even remotely interested in sandbox titles then this game is for you, I could not recommend it more.