Just Cause is another example of a successful game that came out before 2010 and spawned a whole series. The real 1989 operation “Operation Just Cause”, the essence of which boiled down to the invasion of US troops in Panama, prompted Avalanche Studios to create a game in which gamers have to free various countries from tough dictators.
The projects are developed in the genres of “action in the open world”, “sandbox”, “third-person shooter”, “adventure thriller”. The closest game in meaning is GTA, but the scale of the action is significantly different. I could say that these games borrowed “madness” from Saints Row, but they came out almost at the same time, and the first Saints Row was … pretty serious.
What did Just Cause manage to surprise the players, and thus stay afloat to this day? Spoiler alert: a lot. In this article, you will learn the history of the Just Cause series of games: about the plot thread that runs through four (so far) parts, about the features of the gameplay, the pros and cons.
MEET RICO RODRIGUEZ. JUST CAUSE (2006)
The first part of the series from Avalanche Studios introduces gamers to Rico Rodriguez – the main protagonist of the entire series. It is known about the hero that he, being a 38-year-old trained fighter, is a CIA agent and performs various tasks for him. His father once worked for the “Black Hand” group, which is the main enemy, but the players will learn about this fact, oh, how long ago.
According to the plot, Rico goes on another mission, to the fictional tropical state of San Esperito, the locals of which are suffering from the actions of the dictator Salvador Mendoza. People have organized resistance, but they still need help, which you will provide. Together with other agents, Tom Sheldon and Maria Kane, you will start your revolution.
Effectively landing from an airplane, the player finds himself on a huge island. After the introductory mission, the game does not oblige you to complete story missions – you can just walk, enjoying the vastness of the open world, and it was he who became one of the features of Just Cause.
The area of the game world is 1025 square kilometers! In 2006, Just Cause was the record holder in this regard.
What to do in the game? In addition to the plot, you can liberate settlements, villages, cities from bandits. Search missions, side quests and races are also available to complete. All of this (except for races) will bring you points that can be spent on new equipment.
The CIA agent’s arsenal is impressive. With the help of his PDA, which has a map and information about tasks, he can summon support, expressed in the supply of various weapons and vehicles. The guns are divided into 4 groups: pistols and revolvers, grenade launchers and sawn-off shotguns, heavy weapons, “special”. Of the latter, at the start you have double revolvers and … fists. However, in the process of passing you will unlock many more weapons.
Transport includes the following: jets, helicopters, jeeps, boats, cars. And all this with “home delivery” – just select the tool on the PDA, and it will be quickly delivered to you from the air.
And now for the most interesting part. The gameplay of Just Cause would not catch on, if not for:
Hook “Cat”. With its help, Rico can cling to vehicles and perform various stunts. For example, right on the go, climb onto the roof of a car or hook onto an airplane!
Parachute. While jumping, you can use a parachute and soar in the air. It goes well with a grappling hook.
Together with the abundance of content, Just Cause gave the player what Grand Theft Auto could not – freedom that was not limited to carjacking. Stunts, “skydiving”, liberation of settlements, huge territories – that’s what critics and gamers remember this part for.
There was no multiplayer in the game. For now.
Of the shortcomings, two things were noted. Despite the scale of the world, it is not filled with a variety of events, which is why the passage after you “try everything”, slipped into a routine. The plot does not reveal the backstory of the character, and in general there is no hint of something grandiose.
But that didn’t stop Just Cause from setting a big bar for the genre and showcasing bold game mechanics. On average, the game received a score of 7 out of 10, and it was only a matter of time to continue.
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BACK TO WORK. JUST CAUSE 2 (2010)
While developing the sequel, the company Avalanche Studios sought to improve the developments of the first part, arguing that they “missed a lot of opportunities.” The game visited PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and became one of the best in the series. And that’s why.
Rico is once again sent to overthrow the dictator, this time to the Panau archipelago. The previous ruler – Panay – died, and the reins of power passed into the hands of his son, Little Panay, who turns out to be a murderer and tyrant. Having built many military bases on the islands, he does not even suspect that Rico Rodriguez is following him.
The story turned out to be an order of magnitude more interesting than the original. The prescribed villain, unexpected plot twists – thanks to this, the player in Just Cause 2 will not run away for a walk right after the start
and the emphasis in gameplay from the size of the game world to its elaboration. Its area is 1000 sq. kilometers, but at the same time a variety of areas (beaches, plains, mountains, forests) and 368 settlements are available to the player for research. The territories are divided among themselves by three groups, from which you can take tasks.
Just Cause 2
The gameplay is largely the same. We run, explore the surroundings, complete tasks, clear the settlements from bandits. There are more weapons, as well as vehicles, and they can be purchased at the local Black Market. The cat hook remains, and even more: the gadget has been significantly improved. Now Rico can use it to attract objects to each other (for example, tie two enemies) and cling not only to cars, but also buildings and other surfaces.
Just Cause 2
The game was created on the Avalanche Engine 2.0, and this allowed the developers to seriously raise the bar for quality. The behavior of cars has become more realistic, physics has been corrected, and most importantly, destructibility has appeared. Enemy structures (statues of the president, gas tanks, water towers), marked in red, can be destroyed to the ground and get “Chaos points” for this, which are necessary to advance through the story.
One can doubt the reality of what is happening. Easily destructible buildings, enemies with zero body mass, tricks on military hummers. But Just Cause is an arcade sandbox, and if in the original there was still an emphasis on realism, then from the second part the developers went into trash and fun
At the time of release, the game was one of the most technologically advanced. Thanks to the engine, the players saw excellent graphics, explosive special effects, good destructibility, cool physics.