Just Cause 2 Hands On Preview - Getting It On With Rico
Written Saturday, November 21, 2009 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
You’ve got to admire Rico Rodriguez, swarthy star of Just Cause and all-round, super spy, badass and fiery Latino lover. Not only is he cool and calm in a heated gunfight, but he’ll happily leap off a vertigo-inducing cliff edge with nary a second thought. So it was in the first Just Cause and so it continues to be in the forthcoming sequel, which we recently had the rare chance of getting precious hands-on time with.
Visiting what was once Eidos’ HQ in London - the offices now bear the moniker of Square Enix Europe since the Japanese giant bought out the ailing company – we’re led past Rhona Mitra’s Lara Croft costume, lovingly stored in a glass cabinet, through reception and into a room where the game is set up and ready to go.
First we’re given a demonstration of an intense rescue mission, which sees Rico having to locate and extract one of his contacts - a drunken Swede by the name of Karl Blaine. The objective is the perfect intro to Just Cause 2’s Hollywood action movie inspired madness, featuring a fraught gun battle, a head-to-head with a tooled up helicopter and countless teeth-rattling explosions.
Although the original Just Cause impressed with its vast open-world and exotic setting, the game was slightly too repetitive for some gamer’s tastes. Visually, Just Cause 2 outstrips its predecessor by some margin with an impressive draw distance, lush environments and an attention to detail missing from most sandbox titles, but it’s the sequel’s devotion to mission variety that will likely win the game the most plaudits.
Our hands-on initially took us to a heavily guarded base, where we decide to adopt the loud approach by flying in by attack chopper, a method that attracted a little too much heat for our own good. After a few prompt deaths, we call in the weapons merchant to upgrade our guns and treat ourselves to a jet propelled light aircraft. Shooting off the edge of a precipice straight into flight, we zip across the island at speed until we’re directly over the military compound where we eject from the cockpit, deploy our parachute and float into the danger zone all guns blazing.
Brilliantly, our ludicrously brazen strategy pays off, getting us in close to the surface entrance to an underground installation where Rico needs to plant an explosive. Getting in is easy and planting the bomb simply requires a quick button prompt matching mini-game, but getting out is a tense race against time as the timer rapidly ticks away. We zip our way from wall to wall as fast as we can, trying to dispatch as many remaining guards as humanly possible on the way. Escaping in the nick of time, we have a brief second to turn and admire our handiwork as the bunker is transformed into a smoking crater.
Our first mission accomplished with stylish aplomb, our next objective appears on the map in the northernmost region of the island. While we could make our own way there via car, truck, motorcycle, plane or helicopter, it’s actually far quicker and more convenient to call in an extraction to make your way across what we’re told is 400 square miles of varied and expansive terrain. The finished game will feature snowy mountain regions, sun baked deserts and verdant jungle, which is where our next mission takes us. Jumping from the hovering extraction helicopter, the parachute comes into play once more as we majestically glide down to a beach, where a speedboat awaits.
Pouncing behind the speedboat’s wheel, we race to the waypoint, and in true Just Cause fashion, we bail out as we hit the shore by anchoring the zipline to a tree. As we reach break neck speed, we unfurl our chute once more and drift to safety, leaving behind the flaming boat-shaped shell. Nice. Next up we’re found scaling a high rise tower to reach a set of broadcast dishes that have to be adjusted to send out a message for a rebel faction we’re working for. Instead of whipping out our trusty zipline to scale the vertiginous structure, we jump atop an external elevator. Every man deserves a quick rest... even Rico Rodriguez.