Just Cause

Time flies when you’re having fun.  Take last weekend, for example.  When I wasn’t being a productive member of my household, I killed a lot of time.  And how did I do it?  The best way possible: destabilizing governments and knocking over drug cartels while driving around in a tank and listening to Manowar.  You know, as one does.

While the addition of heavy metal was my own doing, the rest of the mayhem was accomplished in the game Just Cause, an open-world sandbox game released a few years ago.  If you’ve played any of the Grand Theft Auto games, then this will be very similar.  Except you get a grappling hook and a parachute.

Yeah, it’s kind of turned up to 11.

The story, such as it is, has you playing as Rico, a special agent tasked with formenting revolution in the tropical island nation of San Esperito through various means.  There are a wide variety of vehicles, from cars and motorcycles to attack helicopters, boats, and yes, tanks.  Gameplay is your typical sandbox fare: wander around in the world, doing story missions to unlock progress, causing as much mayhem as you want along the way.

To be honest, the gameplay is only average at best.  You’ve got your standard suite of weapons and vehicles.  If you’ve played GTA, you’ve played Just Cause.  But what really attracted me was the scenery: it’s beautiful.  Rather than driving/flying around a gritty ersatz New York or Los Angeles, you get to spend your time in a lush tropical environment.  White sand beaches, vibrant green forests, and beautiful sunsets are frequent occurrences.  Plus, there’s just so much scenery.  According to Wikipedia, this virtual playground encompasses almost 400 square miles.  Sure, in an eight-year-old game this isn’t the most populous environment, but it’s still a beautiful sight to see.

Plus, did I mention I was able to invade and take over settlements with a tank?  Oh, and you can leap out onto the hood of your moving vehicle, hook on to a passing helicopter, reel yourself in, toss the pilot out, and proceed to rain death from the skies.

Seriously, this game is just outlandish fun.  It may not be anything super special to write home about (aside from the aforementioned action movie moments), and the story is so far mostly forgettable, but it’s definitely a fun diversion.  If you can pick it up on sale, I can definitely recommend it.  I hear the sequel is good too, improving on the original in many ways, I’m just not sure my laptop can run it as well as I’d like.

But really: tank.  Helicopter.  Grappling hook.  Parachute.  Up to 11.