We've heard a lot of good stuff about island living. Quiet, sandy beaches, the soft lapping of the waves and a gentle breeze - it's a slower pace of life.
All well and good until some mulleted nutcase with an automatic weapon and pockets full of Semtex parachutes in from a burning helicopter, holds a protracted gun battle with 30 armed men and drops a grenade in your lap before swinging off into the jungle. That'd certainly be enough to have us back on a plane to rainy old Blighty before you could say 'banana republic'.
For the most part, Just Cause 2 is a noisy, ridiculous fiesta of violence and explosions - the sort of thing we imagine Steven Seagal dreams about when he's tucked up under his GI Joe duvet. Rico's parachute and whip-like grappling hook combo turns him into a sort of monochrome Spider-Man and, once you get the hang of using the two in tandem, you'll be steaming across the landscape.
Naturally, he also has the opportunity to get his hands on some tasty transport during the game. We're big fans of the stonkingly quick jets that you can have dropped off if you've got the requisite cash. Even if you wrap one around a tree during a landing attempt, you can't help but laugh as it explodes in a fireball.
That's not even within the confines of a mission either, it's just the kind of lunacy you brew up while poking around in the open world. Some of the main story missions are even more brilliantly ludicrous - in one you're tasked with taking out a launching space rocket using a fighter jet.
Even the writers of Die Hard 4.0 didn't think of that one. Unfortunately, the really blockbuster stuff only comes around every so often, and for the most part it's more standard drive-here-destroy-this fare. Worse, the pacing of the game occasionally takes an absolute nosedive.
In order to accumulate enough 'chaos' to unlock the next agency mission, you usually have to perform a bunch of tedious stronghold captures. These always follow a near-identical sequence of events, including opening a gate and defending a group of friendlies from an enraged enemy commander. It's fun at first but, as you might imagine, it becomes less amusing each time it's repeated - a bit like the Only Fools and Horses Christmas special.
The momentum that you've gathered during your demolition spree hits a brick wall and the game becomes immeasurably less enjoyable. It's not even like there's much in the way of plot to carry you through, as everything just slows to a crawl.
There's not a whole lot else to do in the world either - it's not like Saints Row, where there are a myriad of distractions if you fancy wandering off the beaten path. At least the setting has a greater degree of variety than last time. There are now snow-capped peaks, skyscrapers and dusty deserts that act as a backdrop to your rampage. Plus, the viewing distance is ridiculous - head a few hundred metres up in the air and you can see the entire network of islands laid out in front of you.
Just Cause 2 is undoubtedly an improvement on the first game. The grappling hook is still enormous fun - even more so this time around - and there's generally more variety in the missions. Sadly, it still follows its predecessor in regularly reaching points where none of the challenges on offer seem even remotely interesting. Until the chaps at Avalanche can remove those moments of buzz-kill, Just Cause is never going to be a classic.
Impressive action, but with too many breaks
- Grappling is still a laugh
- Amazing draw distances
- Jet planes!
- Occasionally dull
- Not much meat to the plot