Just Cause 2 is ridiculous in the best possible way. In the space of a few moments, you can grapple to a hovering helicopter; beat up the pilot and hijack the chopper; blow up a cluster of fuel tanks; put the chopper on a collision course with an enormous antenna; jump out at the last moment; and watch the resulting explosion as you parachute down to the saddle of a moving motorcycle below. But in the life of Rico Rodriguez, such events are just another day at the office, though in this case, the office is the gigantic island nation of Panau, where three gangs vie to wrest control from a corrupt government. This is a big game that gives you a lot to do and a lot of crazy ways to do it. When Just Cause 2 gives you the freedom to do the things you want in the way you want, it shines in all its preposterousness and good humor. When missions and challenges shoehorn you into specific actions, however, the same loose mechanics that make the open-world exploration such a joy become a frustrating burden. Nevertheless, this sandbox action game surmounts its few issues with liberal doses of ludicrousness; well, that, and the ability to attach disreputable cops to a buggy with your grappling hook and drag them around.
There’s a story tying all of the craziness together, but it’s about as believable as the crazy stunts you pull. As in the original Just Cause, you play as Rico, a member of a US agency called, appropriately enough, The Agency. The story is all silly fluff, standing out more for its so-excruciating-it’s-almost-good voice acting and broad ethnic caricatures than for any intricate plot developments. (Don’t bother looking: There aren’t any.) You’ll probably have more fun trying to figure out where different characters are from based on their insane accents than you will working out what exactly is going on or why you should care, but the tale still works well in light of the game’s screwy attitude. Contradictory updates from the government-run news agency will have you giggling precisely because they’re so crazy; Rico offhandedly dismisses the insane, supernatural events that occur after an eventful flight into a Bermuda Triangle-type region. Most importantly, the tale provides oh-so-implausible excuses to blow up gas stations, radar installations, and offshore oil platforms.