There was no game released this year that embodied pure fun more that Just Cause 2. It's the over-the-top summer action blockbuster of video games.
This one really flew in under the radar (probably upside down at mach 3), catching me completely by surprise. But looking at the formula, it's no wonder it turned out to be such a blast. Take one secret agent, give him a grappling hook arm, an endless supply of parachutes, an arsenal of upgradeable weapons, hundreds of different vehicles from motorbikes to fighter jets, then give him a corrupt government to fight against. To top all of that off, put it all in an absolutely ENORMOUS open world. Seriously, you have an entire island nation to explore with literally thousands of things to do in it. OK, so most of those things involve blowing shit up, but I'm not sure you could call that a problem. Purely as a technical feat, creating such huge vistas, where you can jump off the highest snow capped mountain, and parachute all the way down to a sunny beach shore without ever seeing a loading screen is astonishing.
The fun is in the sheer amount of ways you can approach any given situation. In a stroke of absolute, gameplay mechanic genius, the developers made the grappling hook serve two purposes. One, it lets you attach to, and climb up any surface. And two, you can use it to attach anything, to anything else. Examples of how this ratchets the game up to unprecedented levels of awesome include;
- Need to destroy a gas station? Attach a car to the bottom of a helicopter and use it as a wrecking ball.
- Pinned down by enemy fire? Why not attach one of the bad guys to a nearby gas cylinder, then shoot a few holes in it, launching it like a rocket into the air where it will explode with your victim attached.
- Being chased down the freeway by a car full of gun toting maniacs? Why not climb out on to the roof of your vehicle, shoot one end of the hook into their car, and the other end into, say, a bridge pylon, then wait for them to reach the end of the rope and watch their car launch off the edge of the bridge. Alternatively, attach them to a car going the opposite way, or attach them to your own car, and then drive it off a cliff, bailing at the last second. The possibilities are endless.
It's the videogame equivalent of this;