Friday, 26 March 2010

A Just Cause?

10,000ft above a beautiful rainforest, I jump out the pilot's seat of my stolen harrier jet, and freefall towards the dense green canopy. As I sail suicidally though the clouds, I spot a civilian single prop plane flying below me. As I sail nearer to the plane, a grappling hook fires from my wrist, and within seconds I'm standing on the cockpit of the plane staring at the unaware pilot.
Without securing myself, I lift open the cockpit and throw the civillian out - Ha! Take that, as he falls towards certain doom.

I fly the plane towards a large city, the lights emmisive in the nights sky. I see tracers, balls, must not have lost that army chopper, it just took its time. I Jump out the plane, leaving it careering towards a built up skyline. As I fall I accidentally press the space bar and a parachute pops out of no where. Fuck, its a long glide from this height. I detatch the parachute, choosing to free-fall, after all, I've got unlimited parachutes to save some time, after all, I've got unlimited parachutes, its 3:00am and I don't have time to mess around... Wait, its 3:am? Fuck, I'm up at 9, I'd better save.

And that was my first exeperience of the far-fetched experience that is Just Cause 2. And this for me is unusual, as I'm a self-confessed realism geek. Someone once described as 'allergic to fun' choosing rather to simulate a long flight to Chicago, or get into a realistic firefight and shit my virtual pants.

Just Cause 2 is the complete opposite of the realistic games I've conditioned myself to like. For example, on one freefall session, I used 6 parachutes in one drop, but wait... My character doesn't even have a backpack! You come equipped with a grappling hook that will attatch to anything and ninja skills to go with it. You can hijack a commercial Jet mid flight, all in within 4 minutes of each other. And still have time to admire the scenery.

And here's one of the main sticking points of this game for me, the scenery. Some of the views I've experienced within the short time I've played this game have been absolutely breathtaking. Jungles rich with vegetation, sunsets that reflect across shallow seas. haze, fog, volumetric clouds. Its pretty fucking good.

The models look awesome, and the technical skill of the artists is un-disputed. Some of the Normal maps are fantastically sculpted. But I can't help but not quite like the style of some of the vehicles. Some very bland, some tasteless, some just look shit. Its a strange kettle of fish, by trying to make (espeiclaly the militairy) the vehicles unique from any in the real world, the designers have hit a barrier. The style can only be explained as rather boring, big chunky vehicles without many details, and laden with flat surfaces, liek real army vehicles? Hell no, real army vehicles are laden with bits and bobs. But then thats realistic, and this game? Ok so maybe it gets away with that one...

However lacking in taste some of the vehicles are, the game is a beautiful fun fest, guarenteed to keep you occupied like a child for a few hours, and well worth £26.00!

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