A Typical 30 Minutes in Just Cause 2

by Darius Kazemi on April 10, 2010

in Just Cause 2

So this mafia boss I’m working for asks me to blow up a statue of the country’s leader and bring its approximately 10-ton stone head to the doorstep of a friend of his. Fair enough.

A scene from Just Cause 2.

I head over to the town center where the statue lives — it’s pretty heavily guarded by a military encampment for some reason. Fortunately this means there’s a tank just sitting right there. I take my grappling wire and grapple the head of the statue to the tank. This sets off a bunch of alarms and so now there are about 20-30 heavily armed men firing at me with pistols, assault rifles, and grenades. Fair enough, I can handle 30 guys, mostly by ignoring them and moving as fast as I can.

I hop into the tank, rev the engine, and start driving toward my destination. Sure enough, the head of the statue comes right off as I pull it via the grapple-tank, trailing behind me. I can feel its 10-ton weight dragging down my already-sluggish tank. While I’m swarmed by about 4 guys on motorcycles with submachine guns and a few guys with a mounted gattling gun in a jeep. I don’t care about the motorcycle guys since their puny MP5 bullets just kind of bounce off my vehicle’s armor. What’s more worrisome is the ridge up ahead: I’m not sure I can make it up that hill given all my weight.

Turns out: yep, I’m stuck right near the top of the hill. That’s okay, it’s time to bail this tank anyway, it’s about to fall apart. I hop out and realize that I’m taking heavy fire so before my feet hit the ground I’ve grappled to a nearby tree, using that momentum to launch a stunt parachute that I pilot upwards to give myself a birds-eye view of the carnage below. For a lack of anywhere else to go, I float over toward my destination, a mansion about 200 meters away.


As I approach the mansion I realize I’m still being followed, but at least I have enough distance that my pursuers can’t get a good shot at me. I land on the roof and what do you know, there’s a military-grade transport helicopter parked right here! I hop in and pilot it over to where I left the statue head: again, it’s a good thing I’m being followed, since by this point most of the guys who were guarding the statue head are now over at the mansion. I land nearby and quickly grapple the head to the body of the helicopter. Hopping back in I say a little prayer and ascend: it’s working! I’m carrying the statue head beneath me. I quickly make it over to the mansion and drop off the head, mission accomplished.

Copter carrying a giant statue head.

At this point I’m feeling a lot of adrenaline and I realize that there’s now a rival helicopter in pursuit. Sadly, my copter is a transport vehicle and contains no mounted weapons. Fortunately the enemy copter has miniguns! I think I’ll be taking those. So I leave the pilot seat of my copter mid-air and dangle from its body by my grappling hook. I zero in on the enemy copter and grapple to it, pulling myself into its cockpit where I have a little fist fight with the pilot, throwing him out of the vehicle as I take his place at the controls.

Grappling to a mid-air copter.

Hijacking a helicopter.

I spend the next 15 minutes flying from settlement to settlement blowing up other statues of the dictator and various military installations. Every time the government sends a helicopter after me, I thank them for the new equipment and repeat my hijacking maneuvers. In about 15 minutes I hijack and jettison seven helicopters, each time eager to upgrade to the newer, better model they send to kill me.

Eventually my destructive spree comes to an end: I start strafing an air base but their SAM sites take me out. Not before I do a whole lot of damage though!

The best part: after I die, it respawns me in the nearest friendly base. And everything I’ve just done persists in the world. I don’t have to go back and find all those random statues again: once you take them out, they’re taken out.

The chaos I cause is permanent.

I love this game.


Teck Lee Tan April 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Just as important as the [selective] damage persistence, is the fact that there are no penalties with regards to weapons, ammo, or equipment. :)

Carl Lange April 10, 2010 at 2:09 pm

My problem with games like this, and games in general, is that they get repetitive. How long until the game runs out of missions for you to do and starts asking you to do the same things in different locations?

Darius Kazemi April 10, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I agree with you in general, but Just Cause 2 gives you so much to do outside the mission structure that you can have a lot of fun just roaming. I’ve played for about 10 hours so far, 8 of those hours have been free roaming the countryside. The missions are actually very repetitive in structure but the gameplay in JC2 allows for so much creativity that when I get bored with one way of storming a stronghold (a common mission type) I’ll try something totally different, like seeing if I can make it through exclusively killing enemies with my grappling gun, or what happens if I crash a helicopter into the middle of the base before I go in. That sort of thing.

Darius Kazemi April 10, 2010 at 3:39 pm

The other cool thing to note is that the game lets you go anywhere in the world from the very start, and it doesn’t limit your access to any kind of vehicle or whatever. If you want to go into a military base and hijack a fighter plane in the first 10 minutes, assuming you’re good enough at the game, you can do it.

Drew Sikora April 10, 2010 at 7:31 pm

This is the first game in which I have not cared a rats ass for the story. In fact, once the game stopped forcing me to play missions (like, after the first two or three) I’ve simply gone and methodically started taking out every settlement on the map. Once I have no more shit to blow up, I will return to the storyline. I’m interested to see how that works out, since by the time I get to this head retrieval mission there shouldn’t be any statues left standing!!

Alexx Kay April 12, 2010 at 10:22 am

I’ve put in about 24 hours so far, and (obviously) loving it!

I particularly like how they handle racing challenges. The higher challenge levels are NOT, as they are in many games, reached by requiring microscopic precision steering and perfect knowledge of the route. Instead, they make them challenging by having them do things like go through the middle of a military base en route, so you do a lot of the race while under enemy fire. Which makes me especially appreciate the sub-feature that you don’t need to be in any particular vehicle to complete the race. When your fancy sports car spins out or gets shot up too much, you can jump out and hijack the military jeep that’s chasing you, and often still have enough time to complete the race!

Darius Kazemi April 12, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Oh cool, I’ve been avoiding races because I usually hate them. I’ll have to give one a shot. The multiple vehicles thing sounds good too, I assume it’s a “you have 15 seconds to get back in a car before forfeiting the race” type thing?

Alexx Kay April 12, 2010 at 1:29 pm

It’s actually even more forgiving than that. Races typically start with about 30 seconds on the clock, and every checkpoint adds 10 seconds. If you’re driving well, you can get the clock well over a minute. There are only two conditions that fail the race – clock runs out, or death. You only need to be in a vehicle when actually going through a checkpoint, the game doesn’t care what happens between them.

Darius Kazemi April 12, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Oh, so I don’t even have to beat an opponent to pass the race? Nice! Will definitely try one out tonight.

Darren Torpey April 15, 2010 at 6:50 am

This sounds really great. I’ll definitely try to make this my next rental from GameFly.

Reminds me of the best parts of Mercenaries 2 and Prototype. In particular, the just-flying-around-blowing-up-bases reminds me of Mercs 2, and the helicopter-to-helicopter juggling reminds me of both games very much.

Nick Robinson January 26, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Just Cause 2 was very nearly my favorite game of 2010. In a world where achievement hooks take some of the ‘umph’ out of repeat playthroughs, it’s one of those games that I feel a deep yearning to experience all over again JUST FOR THE FUN OF IT. That is the mark of an excellent product.

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