PC Gamer

WHY I LOVE

In Why I Love, PC Gamer writers pick an aspect of PC gaming that they love and write about why it's brilliant. Today, Phil's blown away by JC2's best weapon.

I was disappointed with Just Cause 3 for many of the same reasons that Andy outlined our 67% review. It s an incredibly repetitive, grindy experience that turns chaotic action into a chore. Overthrowing evil dictators should only feel like a job if it s your actual job. But worse than the failings of JC3 s progression systems is how unimaginative its tools are. 

There are a few exceptions. There s the wingsuit, which is brilliant. There are the tethers, which are ridiculous. There s the opportunity to upgrade your infinite C4 into a rocket-powered physics toy, which is an idea of unparalleled genius. Elsewhere, though, it s all pretty standard. In the context of an absurd action sandbox, the game s many assault rifles feel painfully dull. Putting a stream of bullets into endless waves of people wasn t fun to watch in Rambo IV, and it isn t much fun to do here. 

Fortunately, I don t think JC3 is beyond saving. All you need to do is look at its predecessor. Much like its sequel, Just Cause 2 is surprisingly short on ways to push against the outer limits of creativity. The tools that do exist are even more basic and restrictive. You have a single, weak tether, and a finite amount of regular, non-rocket-powered C4. Its structure is more suited to improvisational violence, but you have only a limited set of options with which to create it. Two things expand that sandbox in delightful ways: mods and DLC. 

It feels strange to praise Just Cause 2 s DLC, because much of it isn t noteworthy. Rather than large content packs, all of the game s optional extras are small, seemingly insignificant microtransactions. Much of them are pure filler, but one small addition—available as part of the preposterously named Black Market Boom Pack—changed how I interacted with that world. 

It s called the Air Propulsion Gun, and, as the name suggest, it shoots air instead of bullets. It s a high-powered short-range burst of force that results in some of the best physics-based mayhem since Half-Life 2 s Gravity Gun. It s not quite on a par—Rico still doesn t have much small-scale agency beyond making things explode—but sending a soldier spiralling into the air with a propulsion blast is funny in a way that doesn t get old. 

It provides the best physics-based mayhem since Half-Life 2 s Gravity Gun.

The problem with guns and explosions is they remove things from play. An enemy helicopter is an interesting problem to tackle, but shooting it down simply takes it out of the equation. That s why the more interesting option is to grapple up and hijack it. The problem has been flipped into a solution, thus forcing the enemy to respond. 

That s also the genius of the air propulsion gun. It doesn t remove things outright. A soldier is sent flying backwards, but the impact won t necessarily kill him. A vehicle can be flung into a group of soldiers, possibly exploding, but maybe not. It s a weapon in form and function, but one that doesn t do direct damage. By shifting the kill to the moment of impact, you re no longer instantly removing the threat. Even if your enemy only exists for a few extra seconds, those lengthened interactions feel more dynamic, surprising and enjoyable. 

It s even better when combined with the community s BOLOPatch trainer—a tool offering invincibility, and infinite ammo and unbreakable tethers. Avalanche has never quite perfected the balance of the Just Cause series, and so I ve always found it better to forego the difficulty for pure, unrestrained action. Military bases are cleared through a constant stream of powerful propulsion. Tens of soldiers dance and flip helplessly through the air in a mass juggling act performed by a petty, unkillable god. It s one of the silliest power fantasies you can play. 

I d hoped Just Cause 3 would build on this amazing DLC gun. So much effort has gone into improving its physics and effects but there s precious little that makes use of such enhancements. Like Just Cause 2, the majority of JC3 s weapons are designed simply to remove aspects of play. I find it really frustrating that the game can be so creative in some aspects, and so tediously restrained in so many others. 

My hope is, just like with JC2, Avalanche is saving its best tools for DLC. If that s the case, it s a shitty business model, but I d still happily pay a few extra pounds for weapons that manipulated the world in more interesting ways. Just Cause 3 falls short of its reputation as a cartoonish action playground. With some more imaginative weapons, it would be instantly, immeasurably more fun.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

When I received definitive confirmation that Just Cause 3 [official site] wouldn’t have any multiplayer support out of the box, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. If memory serves, I was talking to one of the game’s producers at the time so it’s entirely possible that I left the room wincing, with a wounded expression on my face. Later in the day, when I’d recovered, Avalanche told me that their dedication to modding support would allow for all manner of enjoyable shenanigans and, sure enough, the team behind the Just Cause 2 multiplayer mod have released the first footage of Just Cause 3 Multiplayer. Delicious.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

When I received definitive confirmation that Just Cause 3 [official site] wouldn’t have any multiplayer support out of the box, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. If memory serves, I was talking to one of the game’s producers at the time so it’s entirely possible that I left the room wincing, with a wounded expression on my face. Later in the day, when I’d recovered, Avalanche told me that their dedication to modding support would allow for all manner of enjoyable shenanigans and, sure enough, the team behind the Just Cause 2 multiplayer mod have released the first footage of Just Cause 3 Multiplayer. Delicious.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

Just Cause 2 [official site] doesn’t have a great mission in its entire running length, although it has some pretty OK ones. What it does have is a beautiful, diverse open world in which to wreak havoc of the most over the top kind, with land, sea and air vehicles, a re-usable parachute and a grappling hook.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Remember that Just Cause 2 multiplayer mod? You know, the one we made our Mod of the Week back in September 2013? Do you go on to remember that it received a beta update recently that added Steam achievements, and assorted other stuff? My, you have a fantastic memory. Er...remember when I lent you twenty quid?

Thanks muchly. I have some fuel for future memories in the form of hot news—hot news that the aforementioned update releases tomorrow for everybody. Hooray! From tomorrow, that brill multiplayer mod will come with Steam achievements, plus a few extra, equally exciting features. Feature The First: you'll be able to make your own NPCs, and not by shoving two NPCs together until a baby appears. (You can just drop them into the world.)

You can also display giant text in the game world, Splinter Cell Blacklist-style. I can imagine people having a lot of fun with that one. More details on the mod's forum (ta, PCGamesN.)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Emily Gera)

Happy nearly-birthday to the Just Cause 2 multiplayer mod [official site], which came out just about two years ago and has graduated into its old age with a nip and tuck in the form of quite a hefty update which you can check out here.

The update, which ticks over into 0.2, is in public beta at the moment and adds a whole lot of bug fixes and features. But more on that after the jump.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

The Just Cause 2 Multiplayer Mod, which came out nearly two years ago, is getting a big update. The changelog is long, but the most significant additions are Steam achievements, scripting for NPCs, and an overhaul of the main menu.

On the achievements side, you've got examples like "Careful Down There", which you get for standing on top of a flying plane for one minute, or "Taxi Service" for... driving people around in a taxi. Example scripts include Wingsuit, Companions, and a minigame called 'Drift!'

If you want to try out the public beta of update 0.2, you can opt in via the Betas tab in JC2: Multiplayer's Steam properties menu.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

You probably like action games. But which ones should you like best?! We’ve narrowed it down to 25, and then put them in the unimpeachably correct order. Read on for details of the best action biff-zap-collect-me-do gaming you can stuff down your trousers.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Ben Barrett)

What are the best Steam Summer Sale deals? Each day for the duration of the sale, we’ll be offering our picks – based on price, what we like, and what we think more people should play. Read on for the five best deals from day 9 of the sale.>

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

Just a spot of friendly grappling.

As cool ways to get around go, grappling hooks are up there with skateboards and motorbikes. Unlike boards and bikes, however, the super-rad accidents grappling hooks cause won’t have you lose significant patches of your skin. Not your own, anyway.

You can now grapple around San Andreas to your hearts’ content in Just Cause 2 style, swinging to buildings and tying vehicles together, thanks to a mod for Grand Theft Auto V [official site].

… [visit site to read more]

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