Feeling unrighteous — random thoughts on ‘Just Cause’

164_ JC_X360 screenshot.jpg

I have a few issues with “Just Cause” for the 360, and apparently, I’m not alone. I was one of the people who actually enjoyed what the demo had to offer, mostly because — well, it’s a demo, so there’s a part of me that always thinks the final product will be much better.

Yeah … not the case here. I’ll start off with the stuff I like. Visually, I think it could be better, but I don’t think it’s the eyes-bleeding experience some people are making it out to be. After seeing the woefully underwhelming “X-Men” for the 360, perhaps I’m a little more generous than the average critic.

I like the concept of the stunts. Being able to hop from one moving vehicle to another, or jump off a bike as it sails off a cliff (and gliding down with a parachute) is just plain sweet. I can even latch onto helicopters. It made me feel a little bit like an action-hero cariciature of the ’80s, the uber-soldier who could do just about anything. Rico (the hero of the game) is a like a Latino version of Vin Diesel’s “XXX” character crossed with the guy in the El Pollo Loco commercials.

However, another side effect of the ’80s action star is the “one-man-army” corollary, where one guy and a lot of ammo can manage to massively de-populate the armed ranks of a small country BY HIMSELF. Part of this ownage is because the hero is supposed to be so damn good — and the other part is that most of the people trying to kill him are so inept. They exist only to be cut down in a hail of gunfire. Think “Rambo” or even our governor in “Commando” — and you have an idea of the “Just Cause” gunplay.

It was harder to kill the zombies in “Dead Rising” than the swarms of armed militia and corrupt police in this game. You get hooked up with a simple crosshair HUD, but once it gets remotely near someone, it “locks on” for you — then all you have to do is pull the trigger. If there’s a cluster of guys together, just put the crosshairs near them and then fire away. They’ll fall like dominoes. Ridiculously easy. You can take out 100 guys on your lunch break.

And you’ll have to, since it seems that while driving, one innocuous tap of a random vehicle can seem to get you into the kind of trouble where you have to dodge cartel members, soldiers and cops all day. That’s annoying. What am I going to do, sit behind the slow, ragged truck on the dirt road so I don’t risk hitting anyone?

Other thoughts …

One more thing about the enemy solidiers — they can’t shoot. At all. I can count on one hand the times Rico has actually died from enemy bullets when I was at the helm.

Rico runs funny. I’m not sure what’s wrong with him, but I can’t think of any human being that runs like that without having some kind of injury.

Is it physically possible to to pull off the “stunt position” move out of a car in real life? Is Rico part elf?

I like it when missiles come out of nowhere to blow me out of the sky. Especially when I can’t see them because of the sun. I also like playing “find the first aid kit” when a new safehouse is open.

Liberation gets a lot easier when you unlock the truck for the heavy drop. Simply have it delivered in front of the settlement, start the liberation, get into the truck and just start firing missiles. Freedom is yours.

The official review for the paper comes out this week. Be excellent to each other.

  • Reggie

    The demo turned me off. I was looking forward to this one because of its sandbox-premise, but the janky animations and greasy controls just didn’t do anything for me. “Boiling Point” for the PC was a lot of fun, despite having some issues of its own, but after reading this and some of the reviews elsewhere, I’m glad I didn’t plunk the cash down.