Review: Just Cause 2 Multiplayer

The chat alone could make this game. Image credit: Tom Ruddle
Fully equipped to kill Image credit: Tom Ruddle
Sharing a vehicle with other players Image credit: Tom Ruddle

2010 was a big year for videogames, but one which flew under the radar slightly was the conspicuously manic Just Cause 2. You play as Rico Rodriguez, an American agent, tasked with causing chaos on the island of Panau in order to topple the dictator, Baby Panay. The entire game is free-roam over one of the biggest maps in video game history, with crazy weapons, both civilian and military vehicles and the series' signature combination: a permanent grappling hook and parachute, which allows you to travel quickly around the map. Whilst this was a ton of fun, you couldn't help thinking that this would be much better if you weren't the only agent causing havoc. The game was shipped without a multiplayer component, so a group of fans took it upon themselves to create their own multiplayer expansion.

The initial impression is still that of scale. The mod can handle up to 1000 players on the same server, all shooting each other and hijacking each other's cars and planes. Whilst this sounds manic, it's still quite easy to run away from the large centres and explore jungles or little fishing villages and then quickly jump back into street warfare in the capital or steal a race-car from the F1 circuit. The spawn points (airfields, military bases etc) are also protected to prevent you from being killed immediately, so you can still grab a helicopter and get out quickly.

There are special mini-games on each server, such as races. These are usually for up to 24 players, but those who are not playing can interfere with the race by attempting to destroy the racers. It's quite fun to put explosives on the lead car and then blow it up moments from the finish line.

The real fun comes from small actions which scale up into massive battles. When I played JC2 last, one player stole someone else's jet, put it in a cave and then blocked the entrance with a tank. After the player couldn't get his jet back, he called on the rest of the server to help him in the name of justice, which provoked the thief to promise money to anyone who'd help him keep the jet. I, of course, being the noble and selfless American agent that I am offered my services to the jet's owner and I brought my trusty shotgun to the party. However, the thief had managed to get hold of someone with a helicopter. I promptly died and rushed off to get a fighter jet to take down the helicopter. The ensuing confrontation was between around 50 people and lasted around 20 minutes. Eventually, we freed the jet, but it was immediately shot down from someone from our own side, who mistook it for an enemy fighter.

That's what this expansion really gives you: great stories to tell your mates of impossible feats of heroism, trickery and, yes, stupidity. So if you're a speed freak or you just want to rob a national bank, this mod will both delight you and surprise you in equal measure. It's not fully polished, true – there's a few bugs to iron out. However, as the full game is only £10 on Steam (and it goes on sale regularly) and this expansion is free (but only available on the PC), you can't really go wrong.

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