When the original Just Cause came out in 2006, it was a true guilty pleasure, an open-world third-person shooter that tossed reality to the wind like so many ’80s action flicks. Now a sequel is being readied for release by Eidos next year on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, and if our look at the game today at E3 showed us anything, Just Cause 2 looks like it’s going to be an even guiltier pleasure.
Cribbing from Apocalypse Now, the game has you — reprising your role as CIA black ops specialist Rico Rodriguez — heading to the fictional Southeast Asian Island of Panau, where you have to take out Tom Sheldon, who was your friend and handler in the original game. This is not going to be easy, though, since Panau is a lot bigger than the island of San Esperito, the original game’s setting.
Just Cause 2 E3 2009 Trailer
So it helps that getting around has kind of gotten easier. You have this new grappling hook which basically turns you into a commando who’s bionic (though better looking…and more fun…and less prone to swinging into invisible hazard zones…), as you can use it in ways that defy the laws of physics. It can attach to anything, which means you use it to climb buildings or grab bad guys who you shoot as they’re being pulled towards you. You can also, after connecting the grapple to something, connect the other end of the wire to something else, the practical applications of which the developers demonstrated by first shooting a Hummer that was chasing us, and then shooting the ground, with the sudden tautness of the wire causing the Hummer to suddenly stop, flip over, and take out one of the other Hummers in hot pursuit.
You can also use your parachute a lot more now, since Rico has apparently stolen the one Kirk had in the new Star Trek movie. You know, the one that can automatically be sucked back into its backpack and redeployed whenever you want. You can even get around by grappling the ground ahead of you, and then deploying the parachute as the grapple line retracts, pulling you forward, and after getting a little altitude, you can then steer yourself by shooting the grapple again and using it to pull you. Granted, it sounds like a complicated way to get around, but it sure looked cool when the developers did it.
They’ve also added a button-pressing minigame when you try to carjack someone, as well as the ability to shoot while parachuting. Which came in real handy in the level they demoed for us, in which Rico had to take out everyone in a military base, steal a helicopter, rescue some drunk idiot who used to work for the CIA as he hung out in a mountaintop casino, and then escape via a car chase that would make Michael Bay proud. Or maybe jealous that no movie studio in the world would ever let him shoot a car chase in which Will Smith stands on the top of a car, shooting guys, as it careers down the road. Though it did look cool when Rico jumped onto one of the pursuing Hummers, and hung off the back of it, occasionally leaning out from behind the back bumper to shoot the bad guys before jumping back to his friend’s car.
It also seems like they’ve improved the graphics, though it could’ve just been that I was so tired that the idea of going to a tropical island, even one with some CIA guy mindlessly shooting up the place, just seemed like heaven. Sadly, we’ll just have to wait until next year until we take this vacation.