Imagine you are stranded on a desolate island, isolated from the rest of humanity with only a PC for company and some games to choose from. What PC games would you choose? League of Legends? Dota 2? Well tough luck, because this island unfortunately does not have Internet (but somehow provides power via generators...or something). What now?...
How will you fill your time? What would be the games you pick to occupy the days, weeks, and possibly years before your rescue?
We kind of like Just Cause 2. You know, just alittlebit. So, when we whiffed the pungent, parachute-tinged odor of Just Cause 3 on the horizon, we nearly jumped (off a plane, onto a party zeppelin) for joy. But then stupid old reality had to get in our way. "It's just a rumour and we're not releasing any game in 2012," Just Cause creator Christofer Sundberg told Eurogamer. So then, there you have... what? No, we're not crying. It's just raining. Seriously. We knocked out our two hours of torrential blubbering before we wrote this article. That's called professionalism.
You there! Yes, you. We can see it: you're glowing. Are you about to give birth to a brand new bouncing baby rig? That sounds terrifying. We usually build ours. Regardless, you can't just put that thing on your desk and let it gather dust. You need to show it off to everyone within a two-mile radius with an audiovisual assault that sends small woodland animals fleeing for higher ground. But where to start? There are so many games and so little time before your machine becomes completely obsolete.
Fortunately, we're here to help. So, without further ado, here are 12 games that'll have your friends going green with envy at your bleeding-edge PC's bulging Technology Biceps. Jump past the break to see them all.
There’s a song that goes “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.” For the sake of being on topic, let’s say a videogame character is the modern-day Shakespeare behind those heart-rending, tear-jerking lyrics. As a videogame character, he can do quite a lot. Grapple up mountains, drive cars off said mountains, steal planes and then leap out of them to steal better planes, etc. “Anything,” one might say. However, he still won’t – or really, can’t – do “that.” What is “that,” you ask? Well, anything that actually matters, to be honest.
Sure, when playing games like Grand Theft Auto, Just Cause 2, or Red Faction: Guerrilla, I can mow down crowds of people like they’re an unruly, weed-ridden lawn, but – like actual plants and unlike actual people – they grow back. And if I die, I grow back too. I can cause traffic pile-ups so large they’d fill three nights-worth of evening news programs or send entire buildings crashing to the ground, but when I turn around, everyone’s come back to life and moved on with said lives. The only time I can ever do anything that “matters” is during scripted, generally linear missions. But those run so contrary to the message of “freedom” open-world games proudly trumpet that they may as well be from separate games entirely.
The end result? The game world feels false – less like an actual living, breathing place and more like a theme park where half the rides are out of order. It’s not convincing and – in some cases where story and non-story gameplay clash, ala Grand Theft Auto IV – serves to yank the player right out of the experience.
PC gaming’s certainly not dying, but by the same token, we recently saw a big-name PC-exclusive game roaming about our local wildlife reserve. The poor creatures are all but extinct these days, and piracy’s not doing anything to help. Fortunately, according to Avalanche boss Cristofer Sundberg, things don’t have to stay this way.
“If we constantly keep on delivering console ports and not games design for the PC player, the PC market will suffer from bad sales, piracy and bad DRM solutions. I strongly believe that most PC players are online players and online games are so much easier to design that we both protect the developer against piracy - and the consumer against a limited game experience,” he told CVG.
"As PC sales constantly dropping, there is a small group of very dedicated PC players who deserve a game designed for them and I strongly believe that PC games and console games are two completely different games.”
Now that’s speaking our language. However, it’s one thing to talk big, and another thing entirely to bite the bullet and risk financial well-being by taking action. Avalanche’s most recent game – while excellent – lacked any discernible PC-only features and had no online component to speak of. If we had an actual, real-life PC-exclusive game in place of every “PC gaming should be” or “PC gaming shouldn’t be” quote from a major developer, we’d feel a lot better about all the cash we’ve used to stoke the flames of the money furnace that is our PC. As is, though… well, there's a reason why people think PC gaming is dying.
In Just Cause 2, anything can happen. Well, ok, maybe not “anything,” but every conceivable event involving a parachute, grappling hook, explosions, and crazy moon physics. So I’m keeping a diary of my high-flying adventures, because it’s actually mathematically impossible for the above combination of factors to not be entertaining. So read on, and feel free to comment about your experiences with the game as well! Also, if you’d like to start from the beginning, here’s part one.
One of the coolest things about Just Cause 2 is that if you can see someplace, odds are, you can go there.
Game diaries are great and all, but let’s face it: they can be kind of boring. “And then I shot this guy, and then I delivered a George Foreman grill to this other guy.” Etc. This led me to realize something that, I’m pretty sure, no other author in the history of writing has ever figured out: People like reading interesting things. With that in mind, I’ve decided to only spin yarns about my virtual exploits when I think you’ll derive some form of entertainment from them. So, with that said, I’m now interrupting my regularly scheduled High-Minded Industry Critiques to bring you… Tales of Interest.
Just Cause 2 is about warring factions, revolution, and the wealth of complex politics surrounding such achingly relevant issues.
No it’s not. Not at all. Just Cause 2 is a game about a grappling hook. This is that grappling hook’s story.
Bells and whistles. In some cases, that’s all that separates the (in tech years) eons-old Windows XP from spry upstarts like Windows 7 and, to a lesser extent, Windows Vista. But – like it or not – the bell may be tolling for Windows XP. At least, if you’re a gamer, anyway. Fittingly enough, Just Cause 2, a game about revolutions and, er, parachuting, is leading the charge.
“There is no XP support for Just Cause 2. This is because the game has been written to take advantage of the extra performance offered by Direct X10 and sadly Windows XP does not support that application,” Square Enix Community Manager Mike Oldman told VE3D.
Granted, games like Halo 2 and Shadowrun also gave the cold shoulder to XP for similar reasons, but that was before we were two Windows OSes removed from XP’s heyday. Maybe it’s finally time to move on and let people see what DirectX 10/11 can really do. So, you know, basically the opposite of Halo 2 and Shadowrun.
Just Cause 2 is out on March 23, in case you're interested. Check out the full, not-afraid-to-stick-their-tongues-out-at Windows XP specs for the game through the link.