Just Cause 2 is one of the best open-world games for letting loose and causing mayhem, but it could have been even better with multiplayer.
Now, a group of developers have gone back and addressed the omission, releasing a multiplayer mod for Just Cause 2 on PC. It’s available through Steam as a free download if you have a copy of Just Cause 2. The three-year-old game is on sale now for just $3.
In multiplayer, there are no computer-controlled enemies and no clear objectives. Instead, there can be hundreds of players roaming the island of Panau in cars, boats, planes or helicopters, looking to cause trouble. You make your own fun by messing with everyone else.
Your character spawns in mid-air at a random location, allowing you to grapple and parachute your way down to the ground. Chances are, you’ll touch down in the middle of nowhere, but you can teleport to more populated areas by typing into the chat bar. Typing “/tp airport,” for instance, takes you to an area filled with planes, choppers and, in my experience, dozens of players trying to kill each other.
It’s a pretty chaotic scene in these hotspots. The sky is filled with players parachuting in, and fighter jets spewing bullets toward everything in sight. I cracked myself up by attempting some mid-air collisions on unsuspecting airliners, but just getting off the ground can be a struggle; other players can grapple onto your vehicle and hijack it instantly, and the bigger planes tend to have a cluster of players vying for control. Usually, the plane ends up rammed into a wall, at which point everyone pulls out their guns and starts shooting.
Gunplay isn’t particularly nuanced or exciting, which is no surprise given that Just Cause 2 wasn’t designed around multiplayer combat. It’s often a matter of who has the better weapon and faster network connection. There isn’t even much of a reward for taking out other players, so you’re better off staying away from this kind of combat.
The closest Just Cause 2 multiplayer gets to an actual mission structure is its racing mode, which you join by typing “/race” into the chat bar. Racing other players rewards you with money, good toward the purchase of weapons and vehicles in the open world, but too many of these races are mundane checkpoint-to-checkpoint affairs. I’d love to see some kind of team-based racing, where half the players are free to grapple between vehicles and shoot at one another.
Messing around in the open world is good fun, and the fact that hundreds of players can populate the map at once is impressive. But I do lament the lack of objectives and non-player characters to shoot at. Imagine being able to stir up the kind of chaos that was possible in single-player, with enemy choppers, SUVs and footsoldiers all trying to take you down, but with the help of a dozen other players at your side. As a concept, Just Cause 2 multiplayer has the potential for greatness.
In its current form, Just Cause 2 multiplayer is the kind of thing that could only exist as a mod. It’s a structural mess, but one that allows for plenty of laugh-out-loud moments.