Just Cause 2 was an absolutely mental and extremely fun open-world adventure; I spent much more time grappling and parachuting around than I did doing the story or side missions, content with stealing a ‘plane or helicopter now and then and causing total destruction across the colossal map.
But it still felt quite empty, with NPCs simply existing, rather than inhabiting the world. A multiplayer mode would’ve been great, but a dozen players just wouldn’t do. In fact, even fifty or a hundred players couldn’t fill the thousand or so square kilometer of area available. Thankfully, a team of modders have somehow made it possible for five thousand players to co-exist on a multiplayer server.
Bear in mind that there was previously no multiplayer mode in Just Cause 2 and this seems like quite an impressive feat.
Jumping into the beta proved simple – it’s only available on selected weekends but all that was required was a ten megabyte launcher, with everything else presumably everything done server-side. Those servers seem to hold up very well too – there was minimal lag with one and a half thousand people, even while shooting (or grappling) other players and vehicles.
The modification has been in development since the game released in 2010, though were some technical issues which then led to a two year hiatus. Still, it’s on track to become one of the most impressive and ambitious mod releases in history, adding much more than just a multiplayer mode to the game.
Firstly, there’s the ability to teleport to certain locations around the map with a simple command, making it extremely easy to meet up with friends in this virtual, persistent world (at least for the weekend during beta testing) and to then steal a vehicle in order to cause havoc across the island.
The vehicles have been improved too – there’s a sublimely integrated speedometer which floats to the side of the vehicle you’re driving and a new ability to boost, which fits in perfectly with the game and control scheme, allowing you to get around much faster, even with another player standing atop your vehicle. There are also races, which are crazy in every sense of the word.
While you’ll initially start with just $100, a random set of weapons and the standard Rico skin, an additional menu has been included which allows for the purchasing of any weapon, any vehicle and various character skins from the game. Money appears to be collected when you kill other players, which makes the whole environment feel a bit more hostile than it should, but it’s great when you team up with a friend rather than being overpowered by a gang.
There are also various multiplayer factions, which could create war-like scenarios in the game. These offer various perks such as being able to teleport straight to other players in the faction and added protection when it comes to players within your faction.
Some sections of the map, in particular the airports and the Mile High Club – a nightclub blimp floating above the island – are heavily populated, leading to framerate drops among the absolute chaos, with hundreds of players, dozens of ‘planes and helicopters, and a lot of explosions.
Along with those framerate issues – which should hopefully be fixed after the beta concludes – there are other visual glitches, such as dead enemies standing up, other players’ parachutes being invisible and players appearing to be standing rather than hanging from an object. These are all understandable though, it is a beta of course.
As well as being a massive multiplayer game, Just Cause 2 Multiplayer can also be quite a personal experience with one or two friends – you’re often able to find a less populated section of the map to play around in and most vehicles feature the ability for multiple players to ride in them, or on top of them if you wish. There’s also a lot of fun to be found in synchronised skydiving from a gigantic height with a mate.
It’s a stunning, truly open multiplayer world that is almost unmatched in its freedom, breathing new life into a game you can often pick up for a couple of pounds in a Steam sale.
I can’t seem to get over how impressive this modification is – and is going to be once they’ve ironed out all the issues. It’s due for full release this year, with regular beta testing weekends providing a test of the servers as well as an early preview of what’s to come. The launcher can be downloaded over on the website, with another test presumably in a few weeks from now.
If you didn’t already describe Just Cause 2 as “crazy”, “manic”, or any other closely linked synonyms then you will with Just Cause 2 Multiplayer. And if you did? Well, we’ll just have to make up a new word, won’t we? How about mayhemic?