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The open-world sandbox genre is pretty crowded these days. You have titles like Grand Theft Auto dominating the urban portion of the genre and Infamous and Prototype dominating the more fantasy aspects of the genre. To stand out, you have to provide something special, and Just Cause 2, available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, does just that. Set on the island of Panay, protagonist Rico Rodriguez returns with one objective: liberate the island of Panay from its dictator by causing chaos. Whether on a mission or just roaming the island of Panay, Just Cause 2 places an emphasis on explosions; the bigger they are, the better for you.

To help him with this objective, Rico uses two very unique tools not often seen in the genre, and never both in the same game: a grappling hook and a parachute. The grappling hook allows Rico to climb any building or vehicle in the game, such as a helicopter. The parachute allows Rico to safely descend from any building or helicopter. Each item has unlimited uses; combined, they let Rico effortlessly climb and descend anything in the game. While most games are played horizontally, these tools give Just Cause 2 a sense of verticality that is barely seen in gaming.

While these two tools are helpful, Rico will need weapons and vehicles to help him cause enough chaos. Luckily for him, any vehicle in the game can be hijacked; what better way to cause chaos then to turn tanks and helicopters against his opponents? When you find yourself low on weapons, ammunition or even vehicles, one call to the black market dealer will have a fresh supply of items dropped off at your exact location.

Just Cause 2, releasing on March 23rd, 2010, is the closest to pure fun as you can get in a video game. While the plot never takes itself seriously, the real enjoyment comes from the situations and scenarios you find yourself in and the stories you’ll have to share with your friends. Just Cause 2 defines the sandbox element of the open-world sandbox genre and is shaping up to be a must-play game for this console generation.

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