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Just Cause

Memory Usage
Free Roaming Action Adventure
Avalanche Studios
429KB Minimum
September 2006

Just Do It For A Cause!!!

Review Date: 20/11/06

Avalanche Studios is based at Stockholm in Sweden and was founded in March of 2003. After developing a new games engine named “Avalanche Engine” which features advanced weather system, day-night cycle and much more they then moved on to making there first video game as a company called Just Cause that has the size of over 250,000 acres (1024 km²). Way bigger than GTA SA!

Just Cause is set on an island called "San Esperito" where you control a CIA agent named “Rico Rodriguez”. This Latin America land is run by its leader “General Salvador Mendoza”. You are sent in to help out in this war that also involves the Guerilla, Cartel and the Police, your mission is to overthrow the government and return this tropical island to peace.

The graphics are amazing, ranging from the lush green fields and mountains that contain trees that floods the island as if it was paradise for growing Mother Nature. The water feels almost life like with its beautiful and dazzling lighting that reflects of it. You can almost feel the heat of the sun when you’re facing it, the bright glare is upon you which makes it hard to see and drive, as it does in real life.

All the vehicles are designed well, the best being the agent’s bike and car plus the police jeep along with many others seem to have that extra detail to them. As with most free roaming games the cars come complete with damage modeling, which is done pretty good from the bumpers, boot, bonnet and doors falling off after taking enough bullets or damage. The windows also smashes and the tires being shot, which I may add is sometimes fun just to shoot your own 2 back tires and try to control it as you drive and even sliding around corners too.

The Cut-scenes look even more stunning with the water, lighting and shadows seems so real, which brings me to the characters, they have the right facial animation down to a t, in the cut scenes that is. When looking at the people in the actual gameplay they do look a bit plain and less facial expression apart from the main character Rico. He has amazing detailed to him and when you free falling (talk more on that later) you can see his clothes ripple as it blows in the wind and even the cross he wears around his neck moves with gravity.

The main let down is the draw distance, the mountains, sea, trees and most of the buildings are fine which you can spot from far away. But when it comes to traveling in a car, you will suddenly get other vehicles appear just ahead of you. This is not too much of a problem unless of course you’re driving a very fast car on the wrong side of the road. The other times when the draw distance is bad is when you are flying or sky diving at a rapid speed that at times the road doesn’t have time to load up which then very rarely has a big slow down of the frame rate.

The last thing I mention about graphics is the shadow, not so much as an error or problem, just that the Ps2 has not got enough memory and power to display real time shadow and lighting that moves with the sun and each object. Other ps2 have done this before but not on this type of grand scale so the developers has left this out of this version but looks extremely realistic on the Xbox 360 and PC from images and videos I have seen.

The music to me is the biggest let down to the game. Thinking of all the free roaming driving games there are a constant music playing from the amazing radio in GTA to the random varied music in True Crime, Driver and so on that gives you that cool fun atmosphere when driving and even the occasional song you can sing along with. But if Just Cause is trying to make a new fresh feel to free roaming then they have missed out on one of the most valuable parts. Where the section of music plays Latino American rock type music is pretty cool but usually only shows up on the big main missions and barely at all when driving around the mass jungle and towns which does bore you with the long times of silentness.

If it was not for the sound and voices then it would render your sound senses useless. The sounds of all different weapons from pistols, machine guns and rockets that pack a punch are pretty good. You can hear the bullets ripping into the metal of the cars and even the sweet sound of skids you make as you whip you super cars about.

Maybe at first some players will get confused with the controls as there is a bit to get use to but the good thing is every time you enter a vehicle it shows you the setup as there is many things you can do and not just accelerate and turn, as you can also shoot with some vehicles - rockets/machine guns. As well as the quick dive out of car you got the ability to flip out the widow on the roof of the car which then leads to other actions like using a parachute or jump to another car close by. This all can be done with a press of a button that you will easy learn, even though it shows action buttons you can perform.

Weapons can easy be changed with the left/right d-pad or up to go straight to the grapple hook and down to your explosives.

All the vehicles are easy to control, from the bikes to cars and even planes which is controlled with R1 to accurate and L1 to slow down. The only problem I found with the handling of the vehicles is that the police jeep and a extremely fast car is over sensitive and is almost imposable to control, which leads you to swerving/skidding and hitting everything. But these two are the only ones I recall of the many (over 85) vehicles that do not handle right, so there is no thing particularly to worry about.

Just cause is a free-roaming game like GTA and True Crime and as you get to explore, start missions when you want, along with lots of side missions and just have lots of fun that doesn’t have to involve any story. Just cause add more fun to the free-roaming genre by give you these crazy James Bond type moves, that involve a Parachute which can be used a unlimited amount of times. You can dive off a cliff and sky dive down towards the ground then open up your shoot at the last second that lets you just glide across towns and the world below you.

If your too scared in real life to jump out of a plane then this is the game to try it as you can take a plane or helicopter miles up into the air where you can only see the clouds below as you jump out and descend at a speed which you can control to a speeding bullet or pull pack on the pad to spread you arms/legs to slow you down. This is great fun to do, but that’s not all you can do, as with a grappling hook you can shoot it at a car and as it drives away you be pulled up into the air. Ones your paragliding along the car you can pull yourself in if you like and jump onto it which you can then flip in through the window to take control of it.

The same can be done with a helicopter, if you have one following you which is annoying you by shooting you all the time, instead of just blowing it out of the sky you can use the grappling hook on it and pull yourself up to it where you can then grab onto the end of the wing and then into the cockpit. (And you thought high jacking a heli in mid-air was imposable)

The game throws you straight in by following a cut-scene of you jumping out of a plane where you get your first experience of free falling. As you do the main missions from different groups you get to visit many cool interesting area like breaking into a prison to get someone out, going to a bar that’s inside a volcano, stealing a truck full of stock which rolls about in the back of the truck which you must try not to loss any of it as you are being chases, along with blowing up many buildings along the way.

As you progress through the game you can unlock safe houses, where you can save the game, Store vehicles and collect weapons. As well as the main safe houses you can unlock others that’s own by the cartel and Guerilla which has each a unique vehicles and weapons. As the whole land is owned by the government and another gang you can attack these villages, villas and military bases. By taking control of this places and doing any missions will give you points which will unlock new weapons to make missions easier and more fun, included in some of these places there are helicopters, jet planes, jeeps and even tanks for you to use at your disposable.

You have a PDA with you that can be uses to many things by pressing select you go to a menu, where you can check you the map, although you cant zoom in much and nor can you pin point a spot like on GTA to find a place you want to go to(which is a bit annoying as you do have to keep checking the map), as well as the map you have your stats, extraction (which is used to pick you up and be flown to one of your bases, if you want to get there quickly) and heavy drop.

Heavy drop is very much like on Mercenaries game where you can get vehicles dropped down to you, though they are free you only have a choose of 4, (Bike, Jeep, Speedboat and a mini helicopter). Although these vehicles are very good where as 2 of them have weapons too, I find that you mostly need them when you’re under attack and need to get away but the bigger problem is that they do not let you use it when under fire.

Overall the gameplay is good and very fun with all the action of the vehicles and stunt moves and the great weapons where you can even shoot the grenades in mid-air to explode them.

The game only contains 20 main missions although very good for a free roaming games its very short. If you are a good gamer and only played the main missions then you would complete it in a few days, but if you are after more fun and you throw in a load of side missions along the way it can be a much longer game.

Where as I did a lot of side missions and just had fun messing around I finally complete the game in about 40 hours of gameplay which is excellent as the longest gameplay of games take from 40-60hours and that’s in the RPG genre. I’m still playing the game now to try and complete every side mission which are over 300, that include very good races but only 8 of them and have taken me to about 85hours.

As you can see there are hours upon hours of gameplay, although many of the side missions are basically the same, if you love the gameplay the replay value is great.

Not as good as the 360 and PC version but still a great game that will last a very long time as long as your aim is not just to play the main missions.


Graphics, Great graphics but has no real shadow effect and draw distance can be poor.

Sound/Music, Sound is great, but barely has any music.
Controls, Good controls, don’t take to long to get used to, few bad handling cars.
Gameplay, Great fun to play on land, sea and air but can get repetitive.
Replay Value, Massive area to explore, tons of side missions but very short main game.
Final Rating:

Review Date: 20/11/06

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