Regarding Due Provocation

by on Apr.14, 2010, under games

According to Steam, I’ve spent just over thirty-eight hours in Panau, yet to undertake any of Just Cause 2’s story missions. Surely this trap tastes familiar to anyone who remembers falling into a Grand Theft Auto game for the first time to discover that the game is more about messing around than about experiencing a piece of fiction. You literally play with the game.

Experiencing the demo through several of its enforced thirty minute intervals (I can’t remember the last single player demo I played more than once) assured me of the graphical fortitude of the title. From the amazing variety of the landscape of the ocean floor, to the postcard evoking vistas (just wait until sunrise/sunset), the attention to detail in the world design and the visuals is flattering to the “PC enthusiast gamer” as our ilk are now known. No shoddy port of a console game here, thank you. And the world is monstrously huge without resorting drip fed area unlocks. There are no arbitrary barriers blocking off entire regions of the map, nor does entering an area before the game intends provoke a nuclear response or automagically jack up your Heat (pronounced “Wanted Level”).

I did find trying to control the plethora of mechanical contrivances available with the keyboard to be untenable. The Xbox 360 controller seems to be the preferred instrument in this case. If you have a wired 360 controller laying around, then great. Maybe you do, but the wireless model included with the console requires the purchase of an adapter to be useful here. A Dualshock 3 USB alternative exists for the more adventurous gamer, which is how I’ve been playing. Being able to not only guide my careening vehicles via analog inputs without buying additional hardware but subvert a device and lash it to a platform for which it was not intended makes my world a happier place.

Everyone is already talking about how crummy the narrative is. While I haven’t played through the story, the cutscenes I have seen are atrocious. The dialog is a steaming pile of manure that sounds like the lines were uttered wilst gripping action figures in each fist. The saving grace here is that, like popcorn action films, the story is nearly irrelevant to the experience. But I can’t shake the feeling that Avalanche Studios and Eidos missed an oppurtunity with this game. With a compelling story and multi-dimensional characters driving the action (like GTA IV or Vice City), we could have had a Matrix instead of an Avatar.

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