Just Cause 2 makes a great argument in favor of iterative video game sequels. Armed with the mistakes learned from the first go-around and superior technology, Avalanche Studios has delivered a sublimely ridiculous open-world action game that values cheap visceral thrills over reality at nearly every possible turn. It's often more fun to just muck around in this expansive, explosive sandbox with all these wonderfully destructive toys than it is to adhere to the proper mission structure, but it's hard to complain when you're hurtling through the air, blowing up everything you see.
In proper sequel fashion, Just Cause 2 happily rehashes the setup from the first game, though the action is moved from a fictionalized corrupt island nation in the Caribbean to a fictionalized corrupt island nation in the South Pacific, again putting you in the role of swarthy Latin caricature and superhuman CIA agent Rico Rodriguez. You're initially sent there to hunt down an old comrade-in-arms who seems to have gone all Colonel Kurtz, but you quickly find yourself in league with multiple rebel factions intent on taking down the militaristic regime that's currently in power. Everything, of course, is not as it seems, though the twists and turns aren't themselves as interesting as some of the set pieces they help justify, including a grand finale that outdoes the climax of the original Just Cause on an atomic level. It's pure B-movie fodder, right down to the wide variety of broad stereotypes and consistently terrible accents most of the characters are saddled with. But then again, if you're coming to Just Cause 2 for the story, you're kind of missing the point.
Everyone has their game addictions. For some, it's RPGs. For other its FPSs. For me, it's the Sandbox Genre. Good guy, bad guy, morally ambiguous... guy, I don't care. I enjoy the freedom. As I slowly opened my eyes to the possibilities in JC2, I giggled like a school kid who just kissed his first girl. (a pretty one)
Graphically, yes, it's beautiful. I've never enjoyed flying over the terrain quite so much in any other game, except maybe GTA4. Different terrain, of course, but beautiful to behold. Speaking of terrain, the vehicle handling was very frustrating at first, but as I progressed, I realized that putting the pedal to the metal wasn't always the best idea. Kind of like in real life...
Combat. Folks have criticized the combat, calling it "run and gun" or "imprecise." I disagree. The aiming system is rather forgiving most of the time, and head-shots take out the big baddies in one shot, as the should. Now bring in the Grappling Hook. Has anyone tried stringing a bad guy to a Red Barrel, then shot the barrel? Utter glee, folks. Or just string the guy to a wall and pick him off at your leisure. The Hook also can get you out of an ugly situation rather quickly...
Voice acting. What were they thinking? That's what's keeping me from giving it a ten. A little variety would have helped.
Just Cause 2 map seems like a big heap of nothing getting from point a to point b can be a pain but besides that the action is great it has a dull story line and really bad voice overs but good game play