Just Cause Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Just Cause is a classic example of a developer thinking “big” as it was always going to be a ambitious project and it was certainly one that had plenty of promise. Much credit is due to all involved for creating a large and generally interesting playing environment, but any true gamer knows where a development teams attention is best placed, therefore we don’t think we need to tell you what we’re on about. Has Just Cause got that special touch?

The island of San Espirito will be your virtual home whilst you are trying to overthrow the evil government (who are allegedly stockpiling Weapons of Mass Destruction), and it just so happens to be a rather unsettled paradise. You may initially be greeted by a blinding sun, oceanic blue skies, appealing water and picturesque views, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a island where holidaymakers should flock to in their droves as it‘s not exactly a place to escape to for some peace and quiet. The island is a ridiculously enormous size (over 250,000 acres apparently!), but a large amount of this is made up of trees and greenery, so if you like bark and grass then you are pretty much set. It’s certainly one of the most visually appealing sandbox environments we have ever had the pleasure of parachuting into.

Staying on the subject, parachuting is something that you’ll be doing a lot of in your time spent on the scorching island of San Espirito. Rico Rodriguez (top secret agent and the games main character) is basically a South American Bond, that is capable of many amazing feats involving said parachute and a grappling hook. The parachute can be deployed during most sizeable falls (assuring that Rico hits the baking hot ground at survivable speed) or whilst perched on top of speeding vehicles (this stunt position also allows you to leap onto nearby vehicles). It’s quite a special experience to climb into the clouds in a helicopter and then jump out, freefalling through the picture perfect skies and deploying your parachute when the time is right.

As for the grappling hook, once it becomes one of your tools you are able to connect it to cars, which is handy for being dragged into the air as well as to catch up to vehicles that are a requirement of your mission or are manned by targets. Combining the parachute and the hook is one of the games pleasures, but it’s not enough to truly kick the game into shape.

The game is mission based, and involves you doing everything you would normally find in such a game, kill someone, steal or blow something up. There’s also freedom to tackle the missions in any way you desire, perhaps even more so then games of its ilk (for obvious reasons).

With such an expansive environment, you’ll be pleased to know that helicopter extraction is available to chauffeur you to key points of the island (mission points and unlocked safe houses). Driving around is an option, but with so much ground to cover, extraction will surely be many peoples chosen method of transport.

The massive size of the island, means that unsurprisingly there’s quite a lot of things you can do when you aren’t involved in one of the 21 story missions. This is comprised of collect missions, racing, and side missions, including liberation efforts.

The problem with Just Cause is that nothing is quite as satisfying as it should be, ask us about the driving and we’ll most likely tell you that it’s nowhere near as good as similar games. Question us about the shooting and we’ll tell you that it feels rather repetitive, as enemies die in the same way and don’t have the smallest hint of intelligence, this unfortunately means that every new shootout feels mostly like the last one.

Regardless of its shortcomings, Just Cause is still a game that should be experienced by any action fan with a heartbeat. It’s certainly worthy of a Rental, which is enough to get at least a couple of days thrill out of it, as we can’t really recommend a full purchase due to its problems, thus we’ll remember Eidos’s game as one of 2006’s minor disappointments.