Thursday, March 4, 2010

Quick Notes on the Just Cause 2 demo

So I just downloaded and played the Just Cause 2 demo on PC via Steam. I've got some thoughts. You can read them if you'd like.

It has a huge scale for a demo, you have a large map available to you, but the scale is kind of made ineffectual by a 30-minute time limit. After the time limit is up they boast about how much there is to do in the game, showing how large the map is. I have to ask: If there's so much to do, why only allow 30 minutes? I wasn't sure if there'd be enough time to complete a mission (you have to unlock missions by blowing stuff up and causing enough chaos), so I didn't bother. Instead, I just ran around grappling things and blowing some stuff up.

The grapple gun was fun, though I can't figure out how to para-sail behind moving vehicles. I assume that's possible, you can do that in the first game, can't you?

Controls were usual, with a little tweak in how it handled weapons. Standard WASD movement, E is the use key, R reloads, SHIFT sprints, spacebar jumps. You can single-wield a gun, in which case the left-mouse button fires and the right-mouse button throws a grenade. You can also dual-wield some weapons, in which case LMB fires one weapon and RMB fires the other one. You can get a sniper rifle, which can only be single-wielded, and RMB throws a grenade while the sniper is equipped. I couldn't figure out how to use the scope, if that's possible, but I didn't look it up or anything.

One thing that really annoyed me happened when new missions and black market items unlocked. Instead of having a notification pop-up, a warning flashes on-screen that your PDA is opening soon (your PDA has your map, available missions, amount of chaos wreaked, etc.). Whatever you're doing is interrupted by the PDA opening. This is the biggest irritation so far. I was in the middle of a stunt, only to be yanked out and brought into the PDA screen. Once you exit the PDA screen the action is resumed from where you were, but it kind of kills the flow. I'm assuming you'll be unlocking new missions and black market items throughout the entire game, but I hope these annoying and unnecessary interruptions won't be as common as they were in the 30-minute demo.

Also, I think this is the game I heard about that makes it easy to record stunts and upload them onto youtube. What if my PDA opens in the middle of a stunt? Probably stops/upsets the recording? They probably have that 'hit a key to save a video of your last 30 seconds of play time' thing, I imagine going into the PDA resets that, or you end up getting 30 seconds of you accessing the PDA.

I feel like the demo would have been better if it were 10 minutes of tutorial, then 30 minutes of sandboxing, or perhaps a handful of missions before they drop you into sandboxing.

I'm still not sure how the stealth/alert system (not really a stealth system, hopefully you know what I mean) worked. It seemed to be inconsistent but perhaps it makes sense once I've read the manual.

I'm hoping they immerse you into the game a little more gently in the full version. All that said, I wasn't ever bored, and I get the feeling there's a lot more I could have done, I just didn't quite know all I could do or how to do it. Many times I wondered, is there something else I'm supposed to be doing? They tell you to try and get 5,000 chaos points, which I finally earned by the end of the 30 minutes (I could do it a lot faster on a second play), but missions were unlocking the whole time so I'm not sure if I should have given one a go, or if I'd even had enough time to try.

I'm really going to have to wait for reviews and the full game for this one. Basically this demo just reinforced everything the trailers have said--you have an impressive sandbox available to do cool stunts, and you can kill people and destroy things in interesting ways. It was fun. $50-60 fun? That depends on the missions and storyline. I'm certainly not paying that much for a giant explodey sandbox. I have a whole batch of GTA games that can do that just fine.


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