Articles

Just Cause 2 Gameplay Performance and Image Quality

Author:Mark Warner

Editor:Brent Justice

Date: Tuesday , May 04, 2010

Just Cause 2 is here for your acrobatic action hero fix, bringing with it plenty of mind-bending stunts, frantic gun-play, and airborne high-speed chases. We'll examine this new game's performance with four of today's most sought-after video cards and let you know which one is the best match for your upgrade needs. Fermi vs. 5800!

The Video Cards

For this gameplay evaluation, we will be looking at Just Cause 2 using four video cards. From AMD, we will be using the ATI Radeon HD 5870 and the Radeon HD 5850. And from NVIDIA, we have the new Fermi-based video cards, the GeForce GTX 480 and the GeForce GTX 470.


Introduction

Just Cause 2 is the direct sequel to the moderately successful 2006 title, Just Cause. Developed by Avalanche Studios and Eidos Interactive, it was brought to the market for Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 by Square Enix. On Metacritic, Just Cause 2 has earned a critic score of 84/100 and a user score of 8.5/10. This sequel has been generally better received than the first Just Cause, which scored 75/100 for professional reviews and a Metacritic user score of 7.9/10.

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 is a third-person action-adventure game. After a brief introductory level, the player is free to roam world, similar to the Grand Theft Auto series of open-world games. The player takes control of Rico Rodriquez, an agent of "the Agency," who was sent to the fictional southeast-Asian island nation of Panau to seek out a rogue agent and overthrow a dictator who has violently seized control of the island. The plot escalates wildly from there, calling into play vast international political superpowers not-so-secretly vying for at least some form of control of the island and its resources. Action in Just Cause 2 is purposefully ridiculous, allowing and encouraging the player to engage in the most outrageous action sequences imaginable.

The Engine

Just Cause 2 is powered by developer Avalanche Studios’ own proprietary "Avalanche Engine 2.0," an updated version of the same game engine that powered the first game in the series. Unfortunately, as it is an in-house proprietary game engine, we don’t know much about its features and capabilities. One thing we do know is that it is a DirectX 10 engine, as it requires Windows Vista or Windows 7 to run. It features real-time deformation to show damage to vehicles, as well as destructible environment elements such as small vegetation objects such as shrubs and small trees, and smaller manmade landscape items like fences, signposts, and some smaller buildings. It natively supports anti-aliasing modes, including NVIDIA’s CSAA options, and ATI’s MSAA options. The ATI custom AA filter options are not directly supported by the game. Just Cause 2 is a "TWIMTBP" title, and there are two graphical features that are available on NVIDIA GPUs only. The game uses NVIDIA CUDA to simulate water deformation in the open sea and in rivers, and a Bokeh filter to enhance blurred images with depth-of-field effects enabled.