Warning, spoilers may follow for both Just Cause 2 and 3.
This game is fundamentally summed up in the very first tutorial mission; you stunt on the top of a plane with a rocket launcher making things go boom. Why?
This beautiful specimen of a game was developed by Avalanche Studios and distributed by Square Enix for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, and was released on December 1st 2015 – Each device has been able to run the game at varying qualities, the Xbox One at the lowest with 1960 x 900, the PC running up to 4K, and the PS4 running at the standard HD, 1080p.
The Just Cause series focuses on the main protagonist, Rico Rodriguez, as he works for an organisation known as The Agency – His primary role is to destabilise dictator governments so that a better, democratic, (And most importantly) pro US government can be put into it’s place for the benefit of The Agency to make money – For example, in Just Cause 2, Rico is dropped into the dystopian island of Panau to overthrow the dictator Pandak “Baby” Panay; Rico does this because he is helping the citizens of Panau whereas The Agency wants this so that they can get their hands on a very large amount of oil.
In Just Cause 3, there is similar reasoning behind Mr Rodriguez going to work… Except he has a more personal reason. The land that he is dispatched to is a group of Mediterranean islands called Medici; the birthplace of Rico Rodriguez. The dictator, General Sebastiano Di Ravello, has taken control and Rico works with old friends that are heads of a resistance movement to reclaim the land as their own.
Some people may argue that the Just Cause gameplay style was perfected with Just Cause 2 – The controls worked well, the story was engaging and most of all there were all the explosions one could muster… But somehow, Just Cause 3 tops it – The minor changes to gameplay and then adding new features like a wing suit, being able to grapple two objects together and unlimited bombs mean that your face while playing will always look like this:
But there are issues. First of all, if you compared the size of the map to the previous game, it’s much bigger. So what’s the issue? The map isn’t as well populated, and at times the map feels empty. To attempt to remedy this they added small abandoned towns with nothing in them, and nothing to do. The developers also placed monasteries that can be used to clear your Heat (Just Cause’s term for a Wanted Level); I never used them, instead choosing to go out in a blaze of glory. The second issue is that there isn’t as much that can be destroyed. The staple of the series is to blow things up and cause chaos. If you would allow me to compare to Just Cause 2 again, even when you are not in areas that require anything to be destroyed, like a petrol station on the side of the motorway, there’s always something to shoot to go bang. This also contributes to the map feeling empty but there’s nothing like that in Just Cause 3. Everything that is required to be destroyed is within an area that is marked on the map and nothing outside of it.
Another issue is that the games difficulty curve purely goes up with the enemies getting stronger – In Just Cause 2 you were able to upgrade vehicles and weapons to be able to make your life easier, finding crates of money or upgrade tokens may have been tedious, but were more than common enough to be able you to get any of the upgrades you wished for. In Just Cause 3 the enemy just starts killing you more. Each death doesn’t feel like it’s setting you back, just that there’s a little time wasted before the base or town your liberating is completed.
This doesn’t stop the game being an amazing, or from being a beautiful game to play. Just like in previous iterations of the series, the game doesn’t take itself seriously – The ability to take off in a plane that’s riding on the back of a train, jump a Formula 1 car off of a mountain ramp, place bombs with rockets on them to a cow and blow it to sky… There’s what feels like an infinite amount of things you can do just for the purpose of making yourself laugh. There’s also a few subtle jokes within the story where you are effectively doing the same thing multiple times and Rico says “Let me guess”. Unfortunately, there’s no more spinning trees…
The game is immensely fun. It has heart and soul but also gives the vibe of not caring how stupid it can be; and while the game has a few flaws, none of them cause the game to have a reason not to be played. So if you haven’t done so (If you haven’t already, why not?) go out, get the game, buy a disk, get it from a digital store, play the shit out of it. If you’ve already got the game, keep playing it. Finished it? There’s always the multiplayer mod.
My Verdict? I give it a solid 8.5 out of 10