Just Cause created a massive, island-based gameworld and threw in parachute-based action to a mixed reaction from critics. The ability to travel with your parachute was supplemented by stealing vehicles GTA-style, as well as some visceral third-person action.

Confident that the gaming public is ready for another dose of unadulterated carnage, publisher Eidos has announced Just Cause 2, which promises more of the same mayhem as the first instalment, but with gameplay improvements and enhanced skills. We recently sat down with Eidos and were shown some video footage and screenshots of the upcoming game, which appears to be shaping up nicely.

Rico Rodriguez, the protagonist from Just Cause, is back. He's survived death-defying adventures in the Caribbean, lived to tell the tale and is heading off to another island. But it's not San Esperito; it's a smaller, more "jam-packed" island, according to Eidos. The fictitious island of Panau, with its blend of Pacific, Thai, and various other Asian flavours, will offer plenty of distractions for those who just want to explore.

In Just Cause 2, Rico has been pulled out of early retirement and is hot on the tail of a former boss who has seen fit to take a wad of stolen cash to the island of Panau--the exact location of which is about as certain as the one in Lost. Panau will feature a range of climates and terrain, including high-rise cities complete with skyscrapers just asking to be climbed, thick jungle foliage, snow-laden mountains, and sun-drenched beaches, all complete with their own dynamic climates. In the video footage we saw, the draw distance looked impressive, as did the detailed close-up scenery.

Along the way, Rico will come up against Baby Panay, a tyrannical yet short-statured dictator. Think the Kim Jong-Il from Team America and you're probably on the right track.

Eidos says the developers have worked on making the gameplay in Just Cause 2 more challenging and rewarding than the first game, with changes such as increased enemy artificial intelligence; your enemies use cover to their advantage this time around, and can also shoot while in vehicles.

Additional improvements, such as more numerous and complex missions, are some of the things Swedish developer Avalanche Studios is working on to make JC2 a more balanced, refined beast than its predecessor.

Rico's parachute physics will be more realistic, and his swimming controls have been improved to reflect his on-land controls, according to Eidos. More improvements will be seen in the environmental effects, including climate changes such as storms, blizzards, and knee-deep snow in higher altitudes.

Although most gamers could finish Just Cause in five to six hours, the next instalment should have a longer lifespan in which Rico will have to complete side tasks before unlocking additional missions. Thankfully, he'll have his trusty (and upgraded) grappling hook on hand to grab onto objects, vehicles, people, and buildings if you need to traverse the world at speed.

You'll also be able to choose how to approach certain scenarios in the game. One example given was a mission in which you'll need to infiltrate an enemy compound nestled at the base of a large mountain. If you're feeling a particular case of bravado, you can attack it head-on by foot or car. You can also use your parachute to BASE jump off of the neighbouring mountain into the base, or even take a high-altitude approach, lobbing grenades from up above while floating around out of harm's way.

Just Cause 2 has been confirmed for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC, and is expected to be out in the second half of 2008.




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