It’s fun. But it’s buggy, empty, ugly, downright broken and stupid. It’s probably one of the most shallow games you’ll ever play but you might get a laugh or two out of it. That is basically Just Cause in a nutshell. There’s a few more details than that, and I’d be happy to tell you them. It’s not necessarily a bad game, a lot of the mechanics show promise and the whole thing could’ve been something fun. “But the emphasis is on “It could have.”. Because when it boils down to it, Just Cause is one big mess, and why? Well not JUSST CAUSE I’m mean or JUST CAUSE I don’t like these sort of games…”
The story is more paper thin than melted paper spread across the smoothest surface in the world, no joke. You play Rico Rodriguez, some CIA guy who is flown deep into some fictional Caribbean island to stop the dictatorship or make a revolution or something. There’s no real substance for the plot, every character is full to the brim with just utter garbage and there’s no sense to care. The story might as well be non-existent, it’s not even competent and that’s when you can really call it one of the things that aren’t a “game’s strong points.”.
Combat and gunware works horribly in Just Cause. You are fitted with these pistols which have unlimited ammo, do ridiculous damage and can pick off a mosquito from a mile away. Machine guns do their job, rocket launchers do their job and everything is so balanced that it is boring. Nevertheless, jumping nine-thousand feet from a plane, parachuting, then shooting people in the face never loses its charm. Except in Just Cause. There is really nothing more boring than shooting in this thing, you might as well be watching paint dry.
That been said, there is still some fun to be had. Jumping out of a plane at nine-thousand feet never loses its charm. Jumping out of a giant jumbo jet at a billion feet, then grappling hooking back on to it and trying desperately to start it back up again… quite intense stuff. Oh yeah the grappling hook, never thought of mentioning that. The grappling hook can be used to attach a hook to any vehicle, and you can reel yourself in and hijack it. There’s no quicktime event, just one button and your in control of just about anything. It’s just a clean, good mechanic.
You may have heard that Just Cause is bigger than San Andreas, bigger than Obivion, bigger than China! Well, you’re right, the game world is 250,000 vitural acres of pure… emptiness. You’re left with the feeling that the developers just filled the whole world with the same seven things over and over. Dirt, roads, trees, mountains, stuff to hijack, water and grass. There’s no big difference aside from urban areas and green areas. There’s no ‘stand out’ in the environment, it’s all just generic. In a sense, every other free-roam game is bigger than it.
So, who can I recommend Just Cause to? No-one. This has to be the most negative GTNPA I’ve ever written but it is one of those rare games that is so awful that you might as well not review it. Supposedly the sequel will be twenty times better, and I will admit, it does show promise. But you can never make up for mistakes in the past, unless you have a fully loaded sub-machine gun and maybe a spade. Just Cause is well… well… imagine the game developers all smug in their studios. A reporters asks them “Why, Why? Why!”. Their reply? “Just Cause.”