When Games Matter is a weekly exploration by Drew Dixon of meaningful moments in games. Operating under the assumption that games do in fact matter, Drew seeks to highlight those moments that have much to say about who we are and the world we live in.
Videogames are not movies–that should be patently obvious and yet game developers continue to make games that are clearly modeled after them. When this happens, the results are usually pretty embarrassing. Steam is currently hosting a summer sale on games. The other day Just Cause 2 was on sale for $5. The game boasts some 400 square miles of open world island territory for you to explore, action packed missions, and destructible environments–that seemed like a lot of content for $5 so I got it.
Given the scope of the game its clear that a lot of time, money, and effort were devoted to JC2. That said, the opening sequence was one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen and I don’t think its developers intended it to be so. The opening sequence finds a woman riding in a helicopter informing you of your mission. You are supposed to take down a rogue agent who used to be your best friend and mentor on an Island in Southeast Asia. While the woman is describing your mission, your helicopter is attacked and she falls out of the helicopter only to be saved at the last minute by your character. As she is hanging on for dear life, she acts as if nothing happened and continues her report on your mission. A few seconds later you are sky diving out of the helicopter in order to catch the helicopter’s gunman who was shot out of the helicopter only to get some intel out of his pocket.
The story line of the game is ridiculous and every time a character opens his/her mouth, I either cringe or laugh out loud. Its worse than all those cheesy Jean Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal movies you used to think were cool as a kid and it never seems to get any better. And I don’t know if its a problem with my PC but the voice-overs are never in sync with the lips of the characters which makes it even funnier. I have never cared less about the characters of a game and yet Just Cause 2 is actually pretty fun to play because of the nonsensical story line actually meshes well with the games’ over-the-top mechanics. You parachuting off buildings, shooting jets and Apache Helicopters with your grappling hook and subsequently hijack them, and just generally doing insane and ridiculous things.
Its the sort of game that makes me sympathetic to those who think games are silly–because honestly, sometimes they are.