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Just Cause

Developer: Avalanche Studios | Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 09/27/06 | Genre: Action

justcause2.jpgJust Cause takes place in a fictional Caribbean country, where you personally hand the country over to the rebels city by city. I'm not too sure what the story is, I'm guessing somebody needs to be taken out of power for some reason, and there are other people that need to be helped. I thought the cutscenes would help with this, but they don't. First you go in to take over a country, then you're allying with a druglord to take out another druglord for some reason. It's explained, but none of it makes sense, so you do it and we can hope there are better things to come.

They did flesh out the characters. There's the overweight boss who tell's the hero what to do, the milliant feminist that hates the hero but will end up laying next to him for a few minutes at some point, and a catholic hispanic man. Oddly they choose not to make the hispanic man the comic relief, but the hero. The cliches were going fairly well until that.

Most of the missions so far involve chasing after somebody in a car and killing them. There are two ways to do this, you can get in a car and chase them down and hope the horrible auto-targeting does not decide you want to use your grapple gun on a random car that drives by, in the event you manage to grapple the targets car you have to reel yourself in and hope the game does not decide the grapple gun should let loose. If you manage to do all of this you'll fall down and get run over. The other way is to steal a helicopter and use your infinite missles to kill them insantly. I'm quite suprised they bothered to have cars, they should just give you a little rotor like Inspector Gadget so you can fly around and kill people. It would be a million times more fun.

The "chase" missions would be a lot more fun if the auto-targeting bothered to work correctly, but it works as well as a Gamefaqs poster with a dictonary. Ever go into a image heavy thread and each image loads just right so every time you try to read the page jumps around? That is exactly what the auto-targeting system is like. It does not matter where you are looking, the game randomly selects something on the screen to target and there is no way to untarget it until it dies or it leaves the screen. This means when you are attempting to grapple the target's car there is a very good chance the game will choose somebody elses car and there is nothing you can do about it. You have grapple it, let go, and try again. The developers hate people that play this game.

There is another type of mission, in this mission you have to take a vehicle from one point to another. For some reason the developers decided they needed to make up for the coma patients that normally shoot at you and make these missions impposible to complete. In GTA and Saint's Row a chase means you are chased and you try to get away, in Just Cause it means every time you see an enemy you politely get out of your vehicle and shoot them in the head. If you attempt to get away from the enemy they turn on their 2d fighter boss AI and read your key inputs while sitting next to your vehicle. There is no way to lose them at this point, they become part of your vehicle. They will even do this while driving backwards, being pushed by your vehicle, or both at the same time. About ten seconds after this one of them will somehow get under your vehicle and attempt to flip it. I was pushed by two purple cars along a highway like this. The developers hate people that play this game.

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A big problem with vehicles is that somebody covered every road in the game with clear ice and covered the tires with those air holes that those puck games use where you hit the puck with a little paddle thing. Turning often sends you spinning, and all of the other drivers can't handle the ice and randomly ram into you and then the police come to shoot you.

When you finally realize that that only way to beat the "chase" missions is to use a helicopter you'll see some very nice graphics. You can see very far away and can get very high up, looking down at the tiny islands is quite a site. The jungles are jungles and not a few tress within a few feet of each other and a deep green texture applied to the ground. The vehicles are detailed and the LOD system avoids pop-in very well. The characters look like they were pulled from Goldeneye for the N64 though. There are some other graphical probelems. Apparently the developers are idiots and decided PC gamers don't want Anti-Aliasing or VSync. If you want this options you need to turn them on in your graphics card utility; they cause no problems. There is also no widescreen support. To do this they had to remove functionality because the game is a very obvious port of the 360 version (more on that later). Widescreen support works with a 3rd party file and causes no problem with the game except stretching of objects very close to the edge of the screen (incorrect FOV I believe, this can't be changed without the developers in Just Cause). I'm sure the developers have no reason to not have widescreen support and took it out to be assholes. The movies are squished, but other developers got around this by putting black bars on the edges of the screen when you have widescreen on.

There are three graphic options I reccomend you turn off. These are post processing effects, heat haze, and motion blur. Post processing makes things close up impossible to see because there are multiple super novas reflecting off of them, heat haze make things far away impossible to see, and motion blur makes every thing impossible to see when you are in motion.

Sound sounds just like regular sound. The developers are stuck in the late 90's because people yelling at you have an infinite range on their voice, a required part of all late 90's 3D games. Things sound like you would expect them to sound, not a lot to say.

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Let's get back to why I think this was ported from the 360 to the PC. First, there is no mouse control in the menus. Second, when saving it says it's "checking storage device". Guess which console says this when it's reading or writing a save from the HD. I'm going to tell you the answer so don't bother, it's the XBox 360. This is better than games that tell you not to turn off your PC or remove the storage device though.

It's fun to run around and blow crap up, but this game is very obnoxious. I think the developers tried to find out how to make the game as annoying as possible, which they did. Take all of the bad parts of good games and put them together, now take 10% of the good stuff out of those games and throw that in with the bad stuff, that's what Just Cause is.

By Noah Thompson - 10/30/06
ESRB Details: Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Language, Sexual Themes
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Screenshots for Just Cause

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