Just Cause 2 Multiplayer Impressions: Fun But Hollow
The multiplayer mod for Just Cause 2 has gone live. It features a small assortment of activities added on top of the general gameplay of the original release of Just Cause 2, the open-world third-person action game from Avalanche Studios. The good part is that it's filled with wacky fun but the bad part is that a large portion of the map is empty and activities are rather thin.
Now, the multiplayer beta is still basically a beta. It hasn't really evolved past that stage just yet. So for those of you who might read this many months from its original publishing date, you might find yourselves disagreeing greatly with the gist of the article, and if that's the case then it means there's plenty more to do at that point than what's present in the mod.
Keep in mind also that the multiplayer mod for Just Cause 2 is completely free, so there's nothing lost but time... your time, if you decide to download it. It's a small 28MB patch to a legitimately owned Steam copy of Just Cause 2.
Getting inside is pretty straightforward, and once you click to play it you'll be brought straight to the game within seconds. It's easy peasy.
Inside the game is where things get interesting; you can browse through a server list and choose which one you would like to join, each offering something different (or the same) and with various amounts of players. For some servers, the max player count in the shard is 5000, but I've never seen any player counts above 1,000.
The thing is, Just Cause 2's massive fictional world of tiny islands that make up Panau is a perfect setting for an MMO. There's plenty of room and lots to explore in the air, in the water or by ground. The problem is that, right now, outside of demolition derbies and various forms of races, the mod doesn't offer much else save for some silly free-for-all deathmatching.
Now this is not to say that the deathmatching isn't fun, because it's fun. The problem is that the setup for the mod kind of limits exploration and the employ of all the nooks and crannies of Panau. Instead of weapons randomly being scattered across the game world, you can only purchase them from an in-game menu with in-game credits you earn by completing races, killing other players or performing other JC2-MP related tasks.
Players can choose from a number of different weapons in the game, but not all of them are accessible, such as the shaped charges or dual-wielding. For most of the servers I've played on, ammo is never much of an issue either and there are no drops throughout the world to gain more.
I will admit that the vehicle scatter is done quite nicely, and you can explore the island to find different forms of wheels to acquire. They probably won't last long due to a hail of missiles and a swarm of bullets from a fighter jet or attack helicopter swooping in over you, but it's cool rummaging about the island to find different vehicles.
Right now the multiplayer mod feels more like novelty than something grounded. I imagine people who are short on time but want to play something like Grand Theft Auto or APB will easily find themselves enjoying Just Cause 2's casual setup.
Hopefully, though, the team can sprinkle in just a few more items and/or ways to make better use of the vast landscapes provided in Just Cause 2. Hidden items here or there, maybe a game of deathmatch “tag” for a random player or any other number of things. It just needs something to keep players spaced around the map and on the move; majority of the multiplayer seems to revolve around various segments of Panau being over-occupied, mostly due to spawning reasons.
For now, I like what they're doing and where they're going with the mod. With just a few tweaks here and there I might say that Just Cause 2 might have a more viable place a worthy MMO over GTA Online... but we'll see.
You can grab Just Cause 2 off of Steam right now for a discounted price during the holiday sale, and the Just Cause 2 multiplayer mod is available for free.
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