Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Reviewed on: PS4
Distributor: Megarom Interactive
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: 1 December 2015
Just Cause 3 follows the classic trend of the series with even bigger explosions and over-the-top action. You play as returning hero Rico who has headed back to his homeland, the islands of Medici. Upon arrival he learns that the islands have been taken under control by an evil dictator Di Ravello. Using all his awesome skills and weaponry, Rico now sets off to take down the dictator, one settlement at a time.
Just Cause 3 is set in a beautiful open world where your can travel via air, water, or on the ground. But Rico has another trick up his sleeve this time, his wingsuit which is the best thing to happen to the series since C4.
Chaining the classic grapple with the parachute and the wingsuit together gives you the fastest way to get around in the series. Soaring through the air atop sunflower fields, or over an ocean gap is majestic and rewarding. The same goes for using them during a shootout. Rico can still grapple his way onto a helicopter to hijack it, or tether an enemy to a barrel and shoot it, flinging them into the air above. Talking about tethers, Rico can now tether and pull and retract objects that are linked up, so taking down a statue of Di Revello is better than ever.
Instead of the typical “buy and use” weapon system, Just Cause 3 relies heavily on its progression system to unlock new weapons and vehicles.
By taking over a settlement you will be rewarded a gun, car, aircraft, or rocket launcher. These weapons can then be called upon at any time using the Rebel Drop. This is similar to the drop we used in Just Cause 2, but this time it is limited to the amount of beacons you have with you.
Action is pretty much the same in Just Cause 3, although there are a few tweaks every now and then. You can no longer toss C4, although it is now unlimited, but limited to the amount you can place at a time.
You are also unable to hop into a helicopter and destroy an entire base due to the darn anti-air weapons that plague each area. These missiles would take you down in a few seconds. This means you need to now take on a new base with caution and plan ahead depending on what they have packed in the area.
One issue I did have with the takeovers was that often you would be left with one generator until completion and would fly around for a good 20 minutes searching for this darn thing before finally finding it. There has to be some sort of marker when things get empty to help us along the way and avoid frustration.
Rico is more powerful than ever and continues to grow throughout the game, but there is a cost, and at times it can be extremely frustrating.
Skill upgrades require Gear to unlock. This Gear can only be obtained through challenges that are scattered around the world. These challenges range from every aspect of the game like flying, driving, using your wingsuit, and blowing things up. Once you’ve completed these challenges then you unlock new skills like a boost for your parachute, an extra rebel beacon holder, or an upgrade to one of Rico’s standard abilities.
Some of them are easy to finish and don’t require much skill, but others are either extremely difficult, or impossible due to bugs that plague the game. Racing from one end of the island to other in a super car to have it flip in the air when driving on solid ground is frustrating and a waste of time.
The game’s load times are the worst I have experienced in this generation of gaming, sometimes so bad that exiting the game and reloading it was faster than waiting for the game to load to retry a failed challenge.
Just Cause 3’s story is solid compared to the past titles, and the voice acting and character development has had a vast improvement.
You find yourself actually watching cutscenes. But you barely play the story as the game’s side missions and objectives are so distracting that you forget all about it. You would be on your way to a new story mission when stumbling upon a settlement, you would then capture that, unlock the new challenges around it, and do them a few dozen times to get new skills using the Gears. And so the story goes, it is the norm in open world games.
Everything you do in the game is tallied up against a bunch of players online in a leaderboard. Gliding the longest in a wingsuit (mine is 9:23:51 by the way), killing the most enemies with a single explosion, and other combat numbers. This leaderboard has very little impact on the game, but when you (finally) login to the servers and see that a friend beat you, it does get to you.
Unfortunately the bugs in Just Cause 3 make the game an unpleasant experience.
It also has a ton of technical issues, mainly frame rate drops on Xbox One and PS4. The entire experience was brought down by this. You are constantly trying to not cause massive explosions because it might slow the game down, or you are scared to take on a challenge because the game might just ruin it for you, it’s not ideal.
Hidden behind a wall of bugs is an extremely fun game that is everything you loved from the original. Getting around is fun with the wingsuit, and causing havoc with a rocket launcher has never been better.
Just Cause 3 is out now on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.