The Freedom of Movement

just cause 2Well, we all had a lot of laughs on Thursday, didn’t we? We fooled a few of you, but it was all in good fun. With that out of the way, I had some time yesterday to really sink my teeth into Just Cause 2. While the demo did give me some pause, I was willing to look past my reservations and give the game a go. It turns out that second guessing myself in this instance was a good call, because so far the game has been excellent. While the story is non-existent and the voice acting borders on offensive, the freedom that the game allows you is nothing short of revolutionary.

For those of you who haven’t picked the game up yet, you’re basically dropped into a massive island playground after a couple of requisite missions and you’re left to your own devices. When I say this island is huge, I’m not exaggerating. I stole a helicopter from a mountain top military base and flew it all the way into the capital city; all told, the trip took me twenty minutes. So, with a sandbox on such a massive scale, how does the game allow you to move around so easily?

The main hook of the travel system is the ability to use the player character’s grapple claw and parachute at any point. If you can see it, you can grapple it, and at any height above a few feet you can deploy your chute and glide away. This is something that Just Cause 2 does right that a fair few other open-world games fall short in. The ability to go anywhere quickly is essential to maintaining the player’s interest, and Just Cause 2 supplies it in spades.

We’ve talked about this before on GamerSushi, but Just Cause 2 was the first game to really make me appreciate the concession of freedom over realism. Far Cry 2, a game that was decent in most respects, quickly fell of my radar due to the horrible travel system. There was no fast travel option outside of a cross-country bus service that dropped you off in a random location, all of which happened to be far away from every mission. Considering that every quest involved driving through miles of treacherous African terrain while every militia-man with a gun and a brain cell tried to perforate your poor body, this can cause undue frustration. Not to hate on Far Cry 2 too much, but if you wanted to do the optional buddy side-quests that required even more driving.

While I appreciate UbiSoft’s commitment to realism (even if you can’t see your body when you look down), there are some occasions where you need to sacrifice some of your “vision” to make the game enjoyable. Sure, it isn’t realistic to have your character in Just Cause 2 grapple onto a mountain side and glide onto a 747 and hijack it, but dang if it isn’t fun. Another game that handles this sort of thing well is Infamous. No fall damage, the ability to grind on electric rails and later the ability to glide? Yes please.

Before I ramble on too much, what games have really captured your attention with the ease to move around? What games have caused you to abandon them due to the difficulty inherit with traveling? Are any of you plying Just Cause 2, and what do you think of it?

Written by

mitch@gamersushi.com Twitter: @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Lube182 Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: Stardew Valley, Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy Double Feature: Rainbow Six Siege and The Division

8 thoughts on “The Freedom of Movement”

  1. I agree with you about Far Cry, that totally killed the game for me. Not to mention every time you passed a militia station they hunted you down until either you or they were dead. Oh and they respawn every 10 minutes. But due to the coolness from what I see from Just Cause 2 it has peaked my interest. Also the Lost island is in the game, hatch and all: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8r7rlJQ3pk

  2. I agree with you, very fun game. However, the missions quickly become repetitive and I have since put it on the back-burner after about 11 hours of gameplay.

    What I really like about the game is it’s constant updating of all your small stats, which pop up in the top left corner. How many kilometers driven, fallen, hours of play, kills in the last 10 seconds, etc etc. Very cool way of keeping you updated.

    Buuut then I bought BFBC2 two days ago and well… everything else has gone kaput.

  3. Personally, as a Assassin’s Creed fan girl (don’t judge me; you know, Altair is the shit), I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that AC had a pretty free flowing traveling system. Plus, the teeny tiny auto-map didn’t disrupt gaming, an aspect that alotta games don’t respect.

  4. Okay, see me and my friend loved travelling in FC2. I enjoyed skulking around uninhabited areas to avoid patrols or sneaking through enemy checkpoints but to each his own (not meaning to extend the FC2 thing discussion but the bus took you to one of 6 predetermined points on the map that were generally close to the main mission. travelling to Buddy Missions were annoying though).
    I also really enjoyed inFamous’ travelling but what I hated was where enemies wouldn’t respawn en masse when you cleared an area. Cue travelling for ages before hearing a gunshot, kill two enemies repeat.

  5. @ DaPurpleSharpie
    I completely forgot about Assassin’s Creed! I wish more games would make the travelling and exploration as fluid as AC 1&2. But Ezio is a far more likeable character IMHO.

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