After you've beaten enough of these faction missions (and blown up enough stuff) you'll be given the option to go into an Agency mission. These missions are considerably longer and more involved than the standard faction missions. What's more, it's here where the story is laid out. Usually these missions involve larger set pieces and even boss characters. It takes a lot of effort to unlock the next agency mission, so once you've completed one (and gotten your achievement points) it really feels like an accomplishment.
Another type of mission has you leading a squad of killers (along with a technician) into an enemy stronghold to take it over. These missions always seem to play out the same way. Your squad stays back as you take out all of the immediate bad guys, then when you finally make it to your destination you have to fend off an assault of rushing soldiers, tanks and helicopters. You're always given a turret to use, but that doesn't make up for the fact that you're essentially doing the same mission multiple times.
It's while playing these stronghold missions where I started to notice Just Cause 2's mission problems. None of the missions feel especially fresh or original; they come off as events taken out of the Grand Theft Auto playbook. To compound this problem, you'll end up having to do the same sort of missions multiple times for different factions. That's not to say there isn't any diversity in the missions, there definitely is, but it didn't take long before I realized I was simply doing the same mission over and over again.
Another problem is the game's crummy gunplay. A lot of the time you'll be running around aiming your gun like any standard third-person shooter. When doing this the game will lock onto the chest of your enemy, allowing you to shoot without having pinpoint accuracy. Unfortunately, since most characters are packing bullet-proof vests, the game requires you to shoot a couple dozen bullets into an enemy before they die. There is another mode, which involves you focusing a little closer at an enemy giving you a more accurate shot. But even this has problems. The game has a weird problem with accuracy, so a shot that is a straight on head shot will not register as one. The game actually punishes you for trying to be accurate, all while making it a little too easy when you're not aiming. It's a huge mess.
To make matters worse, the game has a funny way of killing you in only a few seconds. You'll be alive and perfectly healthy, but all of a sudden somebody will shoot a missile at you and then a grenade will go off as you're laying on the ground. This wouldn't be so bad if the game has more checkpoints, but I found myself constantly dying five minutes into a mission and forced to go back and do it all over again. Sometimes the checkpoint is all the way back at the start, which means that you'll have to spend the time driving a vehicle each and every time. It's this kind of thing that sucks all of the fun out of the game's missions.
It turns out that the missions are the least fun part of Just Cause 2. I constantly found myself cursing the game while taking the tour of Panau. It's too easy to die, it's too hard to shoot and I didn't find any of the weapons to be especially interesting. But then I would go around and blow stuff up, get into the dozens of different races (which include everything from cars to boats to airplanes) and investigate the mysteries of Lost Island. This is the stuff that kept me going long after I had my fill of cheap deaths and annoying gunplay.
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