Just Cause

By on October 10, 2006

Too much of a good thing can be bad.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

What do you get when you combine a vast, open environment to roam, tons of vehicles to roam about in and loads of guns to shoot people? Well you get Just Cause. Avalanche Studio’s first attempt at making a game and boy, do they have the makings of a good game developer.

In Just Cause you play a suave CIA agent who runs by the name Rodriguez…Rico Rodriguez, an Antonio Banderas look-alike with Jackie Chan abilities. Now that’s a lethal combination. You are sent to a fake country called San Esperito where you have to topple the dangerous government. And you are given all you would need like a SUV that shoots rockets out of its headlamps, a super-boat that the government must have borrowed from Batman and green guns to go with the greenery.

It takes only 21 missions in six or so hours to topple this government by the looks of it but don’t worry there are side missions to keep you pre-occupied. Side missions range from shooting random people, picking up certain items, oh and taking over towns. The benefits of this are that you get access to more safe houses which contain better weapons and a special vehicle sometimes. There are racing missions too. What racing a boat or car through 10 checkpoints has to do with toppling a government, I do not know but its there. You have 20 or so square miles of luscious green foliage to cover in the game if you feel that the toppling the government can take a back seat. It’s just that there is a lot of area in the game but they all look and feel the same. It’s the same windy road, same trees here and there, and same people walking aimlessly. You just get tired after the first couple of hours of playing.

Don’t get me wrong but there are tons of things to do in the game that would take you days of playing, but they just don’t have the variety to keep you interested. And to compensate for this, the developers let you do whatever you feel like doing. You have to create your own fun and this might be the only enjoyable part of the game. For instance, I jump from a plane thousands of feet in the air, do a couple of flips and let my parachute open, but suddenly I realize that I am still too high up in the air, I let go of my parachute and keep diving, then I see a small plane flying below me, I shoot my grappling hook at it and now I am para-flying (???), then I get bored of that and let go off the hook and parachute to the top of a car. See what I mean? There should have been a video recording feature and we would have gotten some insane videos by now.

The game is too easy to play too. The AI is one of the stupidest that I have ever seen. I guess they would have to pray to the God of War to get a bullet in you and even if they do it would take tons of bullets to keep you down. And even after you have completed your mission and are almost on the verge of walking the stair to heaven, give the CIA a call and they extract you to any safe house that you have unlocked and viola, health, ammo and a save point, just like that. And you don’t even have to bother aiming because the computer does that for you. All you have to do is pull the trigger which makes the game just too easy.

The story missions are just there because it has to be. Most of the time you would not know why you are doing the mission, but you still do it. The only relief you get are the cut-scenes between each mission which are really awesome to look at. The graphics on the PC and Xbox 360 are just mind blowing and they look really good on the Xbox and PS 2 as well. Though there are quite a few bugs here and there, the amazing water effects and lighting effects make you forget the silly bugs.

The music in the game is really entertaining and has a Latino touch to it. The music changes tempo depending on the situation and really helps you feel the action. The voice acting on the other hand is just hilarious. It’s funny to hear the accent on some of the characters and the inclusion of some Spanish words and the way they were said might bring about a chuckle or two.

Though the game tries to be a GTA-killer, frankly it is not. But Avalanche Studios has the potential to make some great games in the future. If they have spent more time on making the story more interesting, making the side missions more fun even if that means reducing the total area of the game, then it would have been a GTA-killer. This game deserves a play if you have a creative mind to create your own fun. For the rest, have another run at San Andreas.

The Scorecard
Confusing story missions, pointless side mission; but this doesn’t stop you from creating your own fun.
Excellent effects on the next gen. and good visuals on the current gen.
Entertaining music but silly voice-overs.
Depends on how you come up to make use of the 20 square miles.
Tries to be a GTA-killer but doesn’t reach the mark.


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