Friday, January 3, 2014

More Just Bwause 2 (Just Cause 2 Multiplayer Review)

So it's been awhile... quite awhile... since ol' BW has bwogged. Let's just say it's cause I've been busy playing video games. Why? Just Cause... 2.

Okay, very punny, but if you've read all the back-bwogs (and seriously, you should) you know I love me some JC2. They finally released the multiplayer mod just before Christmas. The price? FREE. Factor in that this game is less than $10 to get from just about anywhere (Steam sale had it at less than $3!), you have some good times in store! I was fortunate enough on my first foray into the MP servers to actually hit it off with admins of a smaller server, which meant a lot more fun and a lot less frantic airport-camping shootouts (that's what happens when everyone can teleport and servers hold thousands of players at a time, I suppose). In the shot above, we took a trip to visit the beached whale. No big deal. It doesn't always have to be about explosions.

...Okay, then we blew up the whale with bazookas. Moving on...

I can't speak for all the servers, but here's my typical experience:

1) Tons more vehicles. The airports have been stocked with dozens of craft. If there are a couple hundred other players, you'll probably end up driving the fire truck with sirens blaring up and down the runways just to annoy the Alienware spammers. Actually... I did that anyways. We jousted on the runways with the different trucks and cars around the area, and the whole thing was made even more intense because...

2) There's boosting. It's not enabled on every server but most will let you press the shift key while driving (the x key while flying) to get a boost in speed. A crazy boost in speed. Combine that with the Derby arena (a special area in that big satellite dish that's just a giant free-for-all demolition derby) and it's easy to flip your car so high that your game crashes. Ask me how I know. You have to boost slowly though, or Windows asks if you want to turn on Sticky Keys. Ask me how I know.

3) Co-pilots. I'm not sure exactly how many helicopters have this feature but the larger ones have a couple seats in addition to the pilot's seat (see the above whale watching example). It's a nice feature, and handy if you're hunting...

4) Bounties. You earn money in a variety of ways (usually winning races and pvp) and you can spend it in the Buy Menu to purchase weapons and the normal stuff. Models are usually $0, which is why I'm usually the Pilot instead of the Ninja. You can also, however, post bounties on players anonymously. This is a cool idea but it's even better if you talk with the server admin and implement a Ping script, where you can spend $10 to give the approximate distance and direction of any player. There's already teleporting to different areas (airports, cities, that crescent-shaped island, etc) but everyone can do that for free and since you can see all player names above their heads through buildings up to 500m (you can change this but that's both the default and the maximum distance) and there's colored pixels on your map as well, it makes it an unlikely place for someone worth a couple thousand to hang out.

5) Persistent world features. The main mechanic of JC2 is a beautifully dubbed metric called "Chaos". Simply put, blowing things up means beating the game. In multiplayer, though, that's not the case - and things don't stay that way. Cars respawn faster (sort of) and so do water towers and buildings. It's kind of creepy, and I'm sure there's a script to make it more useful, but most creepy is...

6) No NPCs. Oh you'll hear the military guy get all mad when you blow up the things that magically reset, but you'll never see him. There's no traffic, no police, and no pedestrians. Imagine logging on to a server set to accept five hundred people but currently completely empty - just you. It's simultaneously awesome and terribly boring. If you want a car, you'll have to make it to a city or village or something. There's more vehicles littered around the landscape it seems, so it's not too bad, but it does seem sort of weird to have to grapple/glide/run for more than a couple seconds to find even a junky moped. Of course, there's the boosting we talked about earlier, so "junky" is a relative term.

Things are still a little ping-y when it gets to the whole grappling thing and there are some minor annoyances for sure, depending largely on the server you're on and what you're trying to do, but the multiplayer mod is absolutely worth checking out. The download isn't that big and it's free so you have no excuse not to, really. Just like all those YouTube videos from back in beta, you can all grapple on each other's planes and stuff too. Actually, it's a good tactic if someone is trying to run you down. The only way to get rid of them is to exit your vehicle (yeah, think about that for half a second) and shoot at them or try a Transporter 2 move that somehow destroys them and keeps you intact. Or, if you're like me and neither stupid enough to just give up your car or skilled enough to emulate Jason Statham, you drive off a cliff. Sometimes the whole thing ends up as a glider shootout, which is pretty cool in its own right.

So think about playing the game solo, then imagine all the NPCs suddenly being scattered across the world and given sniper rifles and shotguns and the ability to spam your chatbox with comments about bestiality (true. story.) and you've just about got what it's like to play JC2MP. Doesn't that sound lovely, Rico?

With Brightest of (I Even Boosted A Boat Onto The Tarmac At Airport1!) Greens,