Written by  :  D Michael (232)
Written on  :  May 18, 2007
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  1.43 Stars1.43 Stars1.43 Stars1.43 Stars1.43 Stars

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Just Cause? Lost Cause...

The Good

I have to admit this game was attractive at first glance. From the Guevara-esque cover to the GTA style freedom of play, it was hard for me to pass on this game, especially considering the fact that I obtained it from ebay at the whopping price of one dollar.

The story is of course something that many tend to dream about; being at the forefront of regime change in a corrupt third world country (or maybe that's just me), where the cause, the "just" cause is good, even though the methods are bad. How many games place the main character in the leading role of revolution where gun toting, car stealing, and drug dealing violence is an amalgam of methods for justice? It's hard not to like the idea.

The graphics are par for the course. I wouldn't call them superb, but they serve the purpose.

That's it for the good. Yep, that's it.

The Bad

Where do I begin?

Let's start with controls. First and foremost, there are too many of them. Controls for walking, driving a boat, a car, an aircraft, swimming, they're all different. Why? Sure, you can change the control options but it's long and tedious. As a matter of fact, there are so many controls that you'll find yourself changing them on an as needed basis. I for one don't understand why the forward button for driving a boat, walking, swimming forward must be different for every activity. Even after I change all of these in options, guess what! I pull up the map and moving the map forward, backward, etc. is all different as well. Ridiculous. Why do the pick up item and swap weapon (as in a weapon that is on the ground) have to be different? With my grappling hook, why does shortening or lengthening my distance have to be different keys than forward and back? Argh...

Combat is terrible. I have never once died in combat. As a matter of fact, early on in the game I was a gunner on a truck as helicopters and other vehicles chased us. The targets would be hit whenever I fired the weapon. I closed my eyes, and made it through the rest of the mission while destroying all incoming enemies. While this autoaim does not continue through to shoot outs, it's almost impossible to die in this game unless you're hit by a car. Furthermore, enemies appear out of nowhere. Have a empty road ahead of you? Turn 360 degrees and you'll have new enemies that appear out of nowhere.

You're always wanted. The cops never give up. In GTA you could lower your wanted level and cruise the streets in peace if you wanted too... however in this game, even though your wanted level drops down, the cops are always after you. To make matters worse, they all say the same thing; "stop right there citizen!". This is all you hear throughout the entire game. Well, there's that and the fact that a helicopter is chasing me everywhere shooting rockets at me. It never stops because I never die, and they never run out of ammo or people.

89 vehicles to command? Yeah, if you consider a VW lookalike bus and a VW lookalike station wagon to be 2 different vehicles. You actually have boat, car, plane.

Saving your game is an outrage. We're confined to console style saving tactics where the game can only be saved at key locations and not during missions or other events. Bleh. Too many times I've played longer than I care to play because there were logistical problems preventing me from saving.

The graphics seem a bit blurry and washed-out. The sound works ok, but the voice acting and cutscenes are rock-bottom terrible.

The Bottom Line

If premise alone made for great games, Just Cause might be at the top of the list. But that isn't reality, and I'm forced to accept the fact that good idea met bad design and this game won't be remembered for anything except for what NOT to do in game design.