Just Cause 2 and Why It Is Not For Me

I have heard a ton of great things about Just Cause 2 from a lot of people who’s opinions I respect. Still despite months of awesome praise the idea of playing Just Cause 2 just was not appealing to me. I am not the biggest fan of open world gaming and prefer a game with a tighter focus but after finally giving Red Dead Redemption a try and loving a good portion of that game, I felt it was time to give Just Cause 2 a try. Well that and the fact that Gamefly sent it to me as my next game out.

I am not going to beat around the bush, before I even started the game I envisioned I was going to hate it and I said so publicly. I was not wrong. Just Cause 2 is everything everyone said it was, a huge, beautifully realized sandbox to play around in and the mechanics themselves are actually pretty cool. But it is also a game that tries to present a narrative to drive you along and OH LORD it is awful.

I quickly voiced my complaints and was told to ignore the story and just play around in the world and blow stuff up. Unfortunately that just is not the type of gamer I am. I am not one to play in the sandbox unless there is a purpose to me being there. In the case of open world games, that purpose is generally the story progression.

I am the type of gamer that goes from mission to mission, advancing the storyline to get to the end game. Just Cause 2 has a system to its progression and I did not enjoy it at all and worse than that the story might as well not be there because it is told and performed in such a way that I wanted to slit my wrists watching it. OK, so maybe I am being a bit dramatic but I can easily state that it is one of the worst attempts at the GTA style of storytelling ever.

I was told yesterday that I shouldn’t complain that the chocolate wasn’t fish and just enjoy the chocolate. If you don’t get the meaning of that, well it was implying that I shouldn’t complain that Just Cause 2 was not anything other than what it is. I would agree with that sentiment completely if Just Cause 2 did not act like a fish. If it was like Crackdown and the story was nothing more than end pieces used to give a purpose to the sandbox I would probably be on board with it. But the story in Just Cause 2 is not that. It is cutscenes before and sometimes after missions with terrible voice acting that is trying to tell a cohesive narrative.

Just Cause 2, much like Saints Row, is not what I want out of an open world game. That doesn’t make Just Cause 2 a bad game, it just makes it a game that is not for me. And honestly with all the games that are out there, having a few not work for me makes me appreciate the ones I do like even more.

If you want my “professional” opinion on Just Cause 2 after three hours of play, it is very good. Basically it is Mercs 2 (another title I didn’t enjoy for much the same reasons) done well. So if you like playing in sandboxes and blowing stuff up Just Cause 2 might be right up your alley.


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2 thoughts on “Just Cause 2 and Why It Is Not For Me

  1. Makes sense to me. Although I’ll throw this out there: I actually loved the story. For the same reason I love SyFy Channel original movies. It was so GLORIOUSLY awful. And maybe that’s not your cup of tea either, which is also understandable.

    Actually I’m gonna throw out a bit of a controversial statement: if I played games for their stories I wouldn’t play games. I can count the games I’ve played with good stories on one hand. So I guess in a few ways we’re not in the same boat here. I tend to ignore a game’s story because they rarely hold my interest. And I would much rather play a game like Just Cause 2 that has a terrible story but doesn’t take itself seriously, vs. a game like Heavy Rain that has a terrible story and thinks WAY too highly of itself.

    There. I think I’ve said at least 3 things most gamers would disagree with so I’ll shut up now.

  2. I don’t necessarily play games for their story because as you said actual good stories in games are few and far between. But if a game has a story and tries to present itself in a narrative style, I need the hook to keep me playing through it. I’ll play a game like Pac-Man CE DX for hours on end just because the gameplay is so good but that is all that game is, pure gameplay. Give that gameplay a narrative progression that doesn’t work for me and I’m no longer on board with it.

    …and I enjoyed Heavy Rain but to each their own.

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