Crysis may have come as close as we’ve seen to a gaming substitute for a tropical island vacation – an entire paradise for your exploration and demolition – but mark our words: Just Cause 2 will give it a run for its money. The hyperactive first-person shooter we just checked out behind the scenes at Eidos may compete for the prettiest and most beautiful environments we’ve ever seen developers groom for gamers.
In a way, the premise isn’t too far off from its predecessor, Just Cause. You’re a parachuting badass on a tropical isle shooting up bad guys. But the graphical richness of the island of Panau far surpasses its predecessor, approaching the almost life-life quality of Crysis, but with an extra dose of over-the-top action in the gameplay at the expense of realism.
Example: Our hero jumps off a ledge towards a beach, pulls the ripcord on his parachute seconds before smashing his face in, gently coasts for hundreds of feet toward a boat, hops off and jumps in the cockpit, takes it and crashes it into a ramp, only to deploy yet another ‘chute when airborne and start shooting a bunch of guys. Awesome.
Unlike the original Just Cause, the parachute in this game is reusable, as Avalanche Studios’ George Wright demonstrated by pulling it out over and over again whenever he had the slightest bit of air. Players also have access to a grappling hook and a tether, which can be used to bind any two in-game objects together. Tie a guy to a barrel about to explode? Funny. Tie a guy to the back of a moving Jeep? That’s just gruesome. (But yes, you can.)
According to lead game developer Peter Johnson, the final flora-and-fauna carpeted island of Panau will boast about 400 square miles of terrain, which should translate to about 20 hours of gameplay to accomplish every mission, or 90 to truly explore and do everything. Unfortunately, there’s no multiplayer support planned or in the works. Look forward to a release some time in 2010.