So, an update…

24 02 2010

So, I figured I should stop being lazy and actually put something here.

Practically anyone who follows vidja (I say vidja, not video) games these days has to at least come across and ad for a game called Just Cause 2. It’s being developed by Avalanche Studios, and is the follow up to Just Cause, a game released on PS2, Xbox 360 and PC in 2006. The first game was, well… It wasn’t anything special. It was riddled with bugs, the animation and cutscenes were bad, and it was an overall forgettable game.

Except, of course, for the use of stunts and a grappling hook. What set this game apart from most other open-world games was  main character Rico Rodriguez’s grappling hook and parachute. You could latch onto any vehicle in the game and para-sail away. You could launch  yourself from a moving vehicle, open your parachute and glide at your leisure. It was a game that anyone watching would immediately be drawn to, if only for how ridiculous it was. It never took itself seriously and asked for quite a large suspension of disbelief from its audience.

One glance at the sequel shows, much to my relief, the game keeps up that style, even enhancing it in some ways. For starters, Rico now has the ability to hook his grappling hook to two items. Hook one end to a car, the other to an enemy and take him for a ride. Hook one end to a gas tank, the other to an enemy and shoot the tank. Watch it decompress and send the guy flying before it eventually explodes. Like I said, it’s not a game that takes itself seriously at all. Therein lies the fun and personality.

Too often these days, a game comes out and it seems its chief worry is realism. Everything needs to fit the bounds of the reality the world follows, it needs to be serious. Just Cause (and Just Cause 2) are incredibly fresh breaths of air to the otherwise crowded open-world industry. Sure, the missions are very likely the same archetype any open-world game would give you, but that’s not the point. The point here is the nigh-unrivaled sense of freedom you would get with this game.  Avalanche, Eidos and Square-Enix have done a great job marketing this game and building excitement for it. They know it’s silly, they know it’s fun and they’re running with it.

Other developers could learn a thing or two from this game. Not only is it looking to be an incredibly vast improvement on the first effort, but it looks FUN. In the end, isn’t that why we play vidja games?




2 responses

19 04 2010

Just think how much more fun it’d be if Fenix from Gears of war could kill his enemies by jumping on them and making them pop, Mario style! Anyway, you have a great point. Although I can’t really get into Just Cause on a personal level, I understand how games like Heavy Rain and even GTA try so hard to immerse you in reality that you may be taken aback by its tedium.

Grapple on, Rico Suave. Grapple on.

19 04 2010

Yeah, that’s basically the entire point I was trying to make, how I appreciate when games do take themselves seriously and try to immerse you in their story, but then you get a game like Just Cause 2 where it doesn’t even attempt to draw you in with its story. It simply hands you a grappling hook, some guns, some explosives and a 400 square-mile island playground to have fun with. It’s quite refreshing, and it isn’t for everyone, but it’s a great thing to mess around with for fun.

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