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May 10, 2006
Just Cause - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
26/9/2006EidosAvalanche Studios1$79.95

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Flying the plane.
When I first saw the press kit for this game my immediate thoughts were "how in the hell are they going to make a game based on the 1995 thriller movie starring Sean Connery and Laurence Fishburne?" The answer is quite simple - they aren't. This game is no relation to the movie thank goodness. That's not saying it was a bad movie, far from it, rather, it probably wouldn't make a great game (although if they can make a game based on Jaws anything is possible I guess!). You can consider Just Cause (the game) more of a Grand Theft Auto clone then anything else - although it has several major differences which promise to make it quite unique in its own right.

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Using the rocket launcher.
In Just Cause, you take on the role of the flamboyant Rico Rodriguez – an undercover CIA operative specialising in regime change - as he tries to overthrow the corrupt government of San Esperito. This rogue South American island is suspected of stockpiling WMDs (gee, haven't we heard that from the CIA before?!) and it’s your job to negate the threat to world peace. It could be to your advantage that this tropical paradise is about to implode as various factions vie for power – it just needs a gentle nudge in the right direction. That really is the key to this game. It's your choice to be on the side of good or bad, and your decisions will determine how other character treat you as a result.

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Driving in the jungles.
Just Cause offers the freedom to tackle your assignment however you want: play the island’s three factions off against one another; incite a rebellion among the masses; or build alliances with rebel forces and drug cartels. The incredibly detailed game world (and it really is one of the most impressive looking PS2 titles as you can see) consists of 1,225 sq. miles of mountains, jungles, beaches, cities and villages which can be explored by land, sea and air in a wide range of vehicles (more on them in a minute). In terms of missions the game will include not only the main missions to complete the game but also many side quests which may unlock new vehicles, items or weapons.

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Cruising around the city.
In terms of the game the developers are including around 20 missions with players taking on a variety of identities. In what seems to be standard for GTA styled games the developers are incorporating plenty of side missions. What really promises to make this game special is the inclusion of around 100 vehicles. Now we're not talking 100 different cars, but rather around 100 ermm, everything. From cars to jeeps, light aircraft to fighter jets, boats to submarines this game has it all - and remarkably the game seems to have a purpose for every vehicle. In some sections it will even be possible to parachute out of the plane! In fact using the parachute is one of the main areas of moving around the island as you are able to launch yourself into the air from vehicles and then navigate around the island from a top-down perspective.

The weaponry in Just Cause promises to be extensive with around 25 available for gamers to used. As well as standard issue such as handguns, machine guns, and the like the developers are also promising a couple of surprises to keep us entertained. Some other neat features of the game include pedestrians (which can be shot - although the police then have a shoot to kill arrest attitude as a result), seamless changes from night to day with each 24 hour cycle taking about 25 minutes or so.

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Yet more stunning visuals.
I guess the best way to end this preview is with a comment from Christofer Sundberg, director at Avalanche Studios who says “Our overall vision for Just Cause is to create a realistic game world where players can unleash their creativity in order to bring down a regime using any means possible. We want to provide the player with close to endless opportunities to play missions, explore the world and perform stunts using land, sea and air transport.”

It's so hard to determine how good, or bad, Just Cause will be. Avalanche Studios are an unknown developer with this game being their first title. One thing is certain the game is graphically spectacular, and while the surrounding screenshots are likely from the PC version the PS2 game should look very similar, albeit with a much lower resolution. While initially announced for a 2005 release, the game disappeared for quite a time before being announced for a late September release in Australia.