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    dkirschner's Just Cause 2 (PC)

    [April 20, 2011 08:21:39 AM]
    I finished Just Cause 2. My first thought upon completion: So short lah! I clocked just under 22 hours. Not short by itself, but considering Panau is freaking humongous, I thought there would be a lot more than 22 hours required to beat the game. There IS a lot more to do. I finished at 30.80%, so there's in fact roughly 2/3 of the non-requisite game to play. That's like 50 more hours, whoa. 50 more hours of aimless driving around blowing shit up, which would be the good part, and hunting pickups, which would be the bad part. Yes, there are 300 faction pickups alone. I think I got about 50. There are also the cash and weapon upgrade pickups. I'm not sure what % of those I got. I'm guessing no more than 30.80%. To get 100% in the game, basically I would have to start at a corner and methodically move from location of interest to location of interest, blowing up each piece of infrastructure and collecting each pickup, until I was done. It kind of sounds fun, but it'll get tedious way before 100%. But back to my point about it being a short game. There are only 7 story missions. Plenty of non-essential missions, but 7 story ones! They really could have put more in. The story itself was fun enough. In the end you find out it's just an America-backed regime change for a massive oil field, which Rico heroically (for the sake of humanity) nukes into oblivion with Baby Panay strapped to the rocket. It was a fun and funny game with a lot of pretty explosions and possibly the best graphics I've ever scene, landscapes and terrain at least. I'm very glad I chose to buy it and eventually play it.
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    [April 4, 2011 11:13:07 AM]
    Last entry for a while since I'm getting back to work and found a game that will take a long, long time. So many little short ones in a row the last week or so. I never played the first Just Cause. It didn't appeal to me enough when it came out. Just Cause 2 didn't either, until it went on sale on Steam and I started reading reviews. What I remember reading is that the territory is massive, there are over-the-top explosions a-plenty, it doesn't take itself too seriously, you can fly, drive, parachute, base jump your way all over the fictional country, and there is a multi-purpose grappling gun for your creativity to put to work. All points true. JC2 is funnnnnn. The first time I played a few days ago, I spent like 2 or 3 hours just on the first mission, which was to ride shotgun escorting an NPC. It was a great introduction to the mechanics of crawling around a vehicle, jumping between and on top of vehicles, hijacking vehicles, blowing them up, and using the grappling hook. More on that later. But I died who-knows-how-many times, probably 20 or 30. I didn't care though. Funnnn.

    My favorite thing? Explosions. The game looks incredible. Explosions are massive, ground-shaking balls of fire and steel. I played about 4 hours tonight, and spent at least half that time running wild through a port town, and my favorite part of the night was when I realized I could plant multiple remote detonation charges at once, and detonate them at the same time. I brought down 4 giant smoke stacks at once, and then two enormous cranes at once. So much destruction! I like running away, and detonating the charges as I look back over my shoulder. It's very action-movie-like. As are the speed challenges, solo races against the clock in either a plane or a car so far (helicopter and boat later too I bet). The game really is just a giant playground.

    Why was I destroying smoke stacks? Well, first of all, the fictional Southeast Asian country of Panau is huge by video game world standards. There's been a political assassination and change of power. The old dictator was killed by his son, who now rules the island nation. Scattered around the map (hundreds of them, literally) are civilian towns, cities, and various military bases and communications arrays. You (Rico) are sent into the country to topple the new dictator. One way of doing that is to destroy infrastructure, which means blowing shit up. When you blow shit up, you get 'chaos' points. Earn chaos points to unlock story missions, faction missions (3 non-government factions are vying for territory and a bid at power), stronghold missions (which actually expand whatever faction's territory), and items from the black market (you can have weapons and vehicles airdropped to you for cash, and can insta-travel to anywhere you've previously been using the black market contact). You'll also get chaos points for completing missions and completing locations. Each point of interest in the country can be 'completed,' which means you've blown up all the government stuff (propaganda wagons, dictator statues, building equipment, weaponry, fuel tanks, power generators, gas stations, etc.) and found all the upgrades (weapon and armor upgrades to upgrade weapons and health).

    All the locations I'd previously discovered were tiny compared to this port city. Each thing I found or blew up gave me 1-2% of the total. Huuuuge city! I'm stuck at 93%, but am pretty amazed I got that far. I don't go too far out of my way to explore all the towns and other locations, usually just ones that are on the way to a mission, but I couldn't resist this one once I saw how big it was. And yes, I spent somewhere between 2-3 hours blowing shit up, finding upgrades, assassinating generals, doing race missions, and running from government military. It was awesome.

    JC2 is like GTA and all those in that causing mayhem doesn't go unnoticed. Since this is a military dictatorship, there are soldiers everywhere. They don't mess with you until you destroy something, start running over civilians, drive like a maniac, steal one of their vehicles, go into forbidden territory, the usual stuff. It's called 'heat' and works just like in GTA games I've played. More destruction = more heat = more/tougher military. I can get to level 3 right now, and they send out a chopper, which is easy enough to hide from given the verticality of the game. Evade for long enough, and your pursuers think they lost you and then you're free to roam again. Sometimes though the enemies are annoying and, even though I know they can't see me (like when I'm up inside a building), they'll start to lose interest and then one of them will yell like he sees me, and I'll get heat all over again. The solution is to move somewhere else, but really they shouldn't see me sometimes and they do. Nothing else in the game is unfair or stupid so far, which is good.

    Getting around is fast and fun. I mentioned the grappling hook. Imagine how Spiderman leaps from building to building. It's just like that. You can grapple to about any surface anytime and zip to it. You've also got an instantly and repeatably deployable parachute. I figured this trick out today, if you grapple the ground ahead of you, deploy the chute, and then grapple the ground again, you'll swing past that grapple point on your chute, and repeat, for really fast travel. You can do this around city buildings and anywhere else too. I've gotten alright at doing it, and it's really fun. Grappling up buildings can be a pain when there are ledges. It can be hard to get over them. It can also be annoying trying to grapple around because things get in your way, like ledges and poles. Sometimes too the targeting can be difficult if there are multiple things and spots to grapple right next to each other. Just got to learn to be more precise.

    Grappling isn't just for moving though! Grappling is for causing destruction. You can grapple enemies and yank them toward you. Grapple --> yank --> shoot is a good combination. So is grapple --> over the edge of a building. You can also grapple two things to one another, and this is where it gets really fun. So far I've come up with some neat ones.

    -an enemy to a ceiling to string them up like a pinata.
    -an exploding barrel above an enemy to the enemy so the barrel falls and explodes on their head.
    -an chemical tank to an enemy, shoot the tank, watch it rocket away, dragging the enemy through the air with it before it explodes.
    -an enemy to a moving vehicle.
    -a moving vehicle to a moving vehicle, then blow out the tires of one, watch it veer and wreck, yanking the second one with it to a fiery death.
    -a vehicle to a statue to pull it down!
    -an enemy to an enemy, tossing them at one another.
    -an enemy to a wall over a ledge and watch them fly through the air to smack into the side of another building.
    -an enemy to a plane/helicopter

    The list goes on. It is ridiculous how much fun it is to play around with. I want to try grappling like a car to a plane, or a person to a boat.

    Panau is an interesting place for me, since it's in Southeast Asia and I'm in Southeast Asia. I never would have known it a couple years ago, but I can pick out basically where this is supposed to be based on the language(s) and the voice acting. There is a lot of Malay in the game, and some of the writing looks Thai. The voice acting sounds a mix of Minglish, Singlish, Indonesian/Indian/Chinese English. It's pretty cool, if a bit exaggerated. It sounds kinda like they got some real talent from here and then some non-locals trying to do some. So I'd say that Panau is most closely Malaysia or Indonesia. Really neat to see aspects of this part of the world more accurately represented than not, and featured in a highly successful game.

    JC2 reminds me of GTA. That's my only real point of comparison, and I know it's quite different too. I have GTA 4, but I kind of don't think it could be better than this. It doesn't have a grappling gun. It also reminds me of what Far Cry 2 was supposed to be like, but I couldn't play FC2 because I couldn't fix the mouse lag and it was making me feel ill. Games seem to be getting massive though. FC2 was huge. GTA is always huge. The new Batman game, Arkham City is supposed to be something like this. I recently read the devs said there will be 5 times more space than Arkham Asylum. Wow. AA wasn't huge by any means, but 5 times what it was will be large. And then JC2, massive. And I'm sure there are plenty more I've never played with giant worlds to explore. Oblivion. Next Elder Scrolls game. Not to mention any MMO out there.

    No more entries for a while. They flooded in this week. Will likely be playing this a long time to come. Good times.
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    dkirschner's Just Cause 2 (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 3 April, 2011

    GameLog closed on: Thursday 30 June, 2011

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Over-the-top, huge explosions, have a feeling I'll be enjoying this a long time. ------------------- Fantastic fun. Keeping this open in case I get the urge to piss of Baby Panau by strapping explosives to fuel tanks and watching them go boom.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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