Just Cause 2 – Review (PS3)

As someone who didn’t play the original Just Cause this game wasn’t really on my radar until a Gametrailers special featuring it. Once I got my hands on the demo and experienced it for myself, I knew I’d end up getting a copy.

The game takes place a few years after the first game with agency operative Rico Rodriguez taking a trip to the (fictional) island of Panau in Asia. His mission is to assassinate Panau’s repressive leader ‘Baby’ Panay and track down Tom Sheldon, a rogue operative who has defected away from the agency.

The big draw here is the gameplay itself, which consists of causing as much chaos as possible. And that’s literally ‘chaos’ – it’s the game’s version of XP and you’ll need a set amount to unlock the agency missions as you go along.

Which brings me to my one major complaint with Just Cause 2… it’s too long. I know that might sound crazy, when people complain games are so short these days but this game took me 23 hours to play through. That in itself wouldn’t be a problem if they’d added in some extra agency missions.

In fact it’s more of a pacing issue than the length of the game. With only 6 agency missions (the last one kicks straight in after mission 6) that is a lot of time (almost 4 hours to unlock each mission if you split it equally) to be messing around and causing chaos.

It is super fun to cause chaos and the takeover/faction missions are mainly interesting but I felt a few of the bigger side missions could’ve been incorporated as full agency missions. It felt like I was really grinding towards the last mission by the time I got anywhere near it.

I always think the best games find a way of making sure you don’t feel bored on the route to unlocking missions, sadly for me I found it a bit of a struggle towards the end of the game.

But overall that’s an issue that won’t bother some people and it certainly doesn’t hurt the gameplay or any of the mechanics at play here.

Just Cause 2 is a great game. It builds on the framework of the original game and titles like Mercenaries 2 to provide one of the best open world experiences out there. I wish I had got around to playing this last year as it would certainly have got a nod for Single Player Game Of The Year.

While the game is based around the spy/thriller genre it has such a sense of fun that you can’t help but laugh at most of it. With the ability to tie an enemy to a gas canister, shoot it and send him whizzing into the air you get the feeling the developers had a blast making it.

Speaking of blasts Just Cause 2 has some great looking explosions and with the amount of them happening it can make for some pretty spectacular gameplay.

When you find yourself chasing and shooting down a recently launched space rocket with a fighter jet, you know you’re onto a winner. šŸ˜†

With a whole heap of content (I think my 23 hours equates to about 20% of the game) and the fact the game is so much fun, I would definitely recommend giving Just Cause 2 a chance. This is the perfect title to get stuck into over these barren game release summer months.

Rating: 9/10

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The Expendables – Review (Film)

I remember hearing more and more casting news on The Expendables – with an ever expanding list of action stars added to the list we were expecting something special.

So did Sly Stallone and co. deliver on the promise of The Expendables?

Pretty much I’d say.

The Expendables are a bunch of highly trained mercenaries who take care of people’s problems, for a price.

The film tells the story of a mission gone wrong as The Expendables head to South America to overthrow a dictator.

The plot is as outlandish as you’d expect and with a cast list featuring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis you know what’s in store. Explosions, gunfire and shouting.

But it’s not just about that. Some of the banter between characters is excellent (usually featuring the great Jet Li) and the feeling of togetherness the group has is portrayed well.

It’s not without its share of mis-steps though. The ’emotional’ scene with Rourke and Stallone was ridiculous and could’ve been handled with a lot more subtlety. As much good banter as there was between characters it didn’t stop other parts feeling stiff or just too cheesy.

Overall then The Expendables is well worth a watch if you like action films. There is enough going on and plenty of explosions to keep you entertained, unfortunately it’s when Stallone tries to dig a little deeper that things fall a bit flat.

Rating 8/10