In 2010, Avalanche Studios released a game called Just Cause 2. It was an open world game where destruction and chaos was the main goal of the game. With a 35 square kilometer game world to mess around in, it wasn't out of the ordinary to feel a little lonely on the island of Panau.
That was until 2 years later (this year!) when a group of Australian modders made a multiplayer mod for the PC version of the game. They occasionally do open beta weekends to stress test the system. Taking advantage of this opportunity, three friends and I decided to jump in and give it a whirl.
First and foremost, the mod is insanely easy to install. We were up and running within 5 minutes. During the test, everyone connects to only one server. Which means that you will have hundreds of people on the same server at one time. There were definitely some hotspots of action, but it never felt too crowded given the large game world.
So once you connect to the server, you can go out and do whatever you want. The amount of freedom is insane. While there are no NPCs in the game (for obvious reasons), there was still plenty of chaos thanks to the other hundreds of players. Vehicles spawn at specific spots since no NPCs = no traffic = no cars. However, trying to get a flying vehicle turns into a bloodbath as everyone races to the aircraft, trying to get it for themselves. By the way, did I mention that player killing is possible? There was plenty of that. Surviving in one of the games hot zones for more than a few minutes takes a lot of luck.
Given the large amount of people on the server at once, it was surprising to see that there was very little lag, if any throughout my playthrough. However, it was very unsurprising to see that there was a large amount of griefing. Players would spawn camp or randomly kill you, even if you're not doing anything. For example, three friends and I decided to have a race from an airport to a harbor about 7 kilometers away. We all grabbed our own cars and lined up to start. Right before we set off, an attack helicopter comes over us and completely obliterates us and our cars. However, we weren't angry. We laughed because of how spectacular the destruction was.
The mod is still very much in beta. All four of us crashed multiple times throughout our playthrough. Two of us actually fell through the geometry of the world on 2 separate occasions. However, when it worked, it was fun.
Overall, I had a great time playing the beta and it's a perfect way to breathe life back into a 2 year old game. If you own Just Cause 2, there is no reason that you shouldn't try this out. Even if you don't own the game, it goes on sale for very cheap at times, so keep an eye out for it. I, personally, am looking forward to getting shot at, blown up, run over, and thrown off a helicopter by other players in the future.
For those interested in the mod, please check out their website at http://jc-mp.com