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Just Cause Review

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Worth a look for the grappling harpoon alone...

★★★★

It seems that every new action game is hoping for a slice of Grand Theft Auto’s pie, but while most stick with GTA’s classic formula, Just Cause ditches any sense of realism in favour of outrageous, visceral thrills. Courtesy of one of the most versatile gaming gadgets since Half-Life 2’s gravity gun — the grappling harpoon — you can latch onto cars, open your parachute and glide along behind them, then hijack passing helicopters and fly wherever you like; more like James Bond than another gobby gangster.

Aside from enthralling action, Just Cause also offers a sultry world to explore — a luscious South American island spread over 250,000 acres, every inch of which can be explored (the Xbox 360 version in particular offers breathtaking views when you climb a mountain to survey the landscape below). The graphics in the PS2 and Xbox versions don’t quite match the glory of their PC and 360 cousins, and while the action is varied, liberating the impoverished villages can become repetitive. But in taking GTA’s design in new directions, Just Cause is still one of 2006’s most electrifying adventures.

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