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Just Cause 3

By on February 12, 2016

In Just Cause 3, you play as Rico Rodriguez, the legendary mercenary with a penchant for destruction. Rico has returned to his homeland of Medici, a fictional Mediterranean island under the grip of tyranical ruler General Di Ravello.

So, a simple setup to setup a generally simple plot you probably won’t pay much attention to through your time with Just Cause 3. Rico joins the freedom fighters, meets people from previous Just Cause games, and generally does his thing, ‘on island’. That’s not to say that the plot is bad in any particular way, but more that its job is putting you into an array of ridiculous situations and letting the gameplay mechanics – that sweet sweet chaos – rule.

Rewinding to Just Cause 1, a game that was very much fun, but struggled to keep my attention to the end, then the followup (that’s Just Cause 2, for the maths fans) which had similar issues as well as gameplay imbalances – the series found cult popularity on PC where modding gave JC2 life with a library of additions including co-op play.

Where JC3 gets it so right is that developers Avalanche seem to have learned from what was popular with the modders and tailored the game to suit. Now, admittedly my biggest gripe is that there’s no co-op play which would have been mind-breakingly great, but I can safely say that JC3 is more consistently fun, and less of a chore than it’s predecessors. Just Cause 3 is essentially a realisation of what the previous games should have been.

Rico is an agile chap. His parachute is now complimented by a wingsuit, and a much improved grappling hook. Where movement in the previous games was a bit hit & miss, then frequently let down by the difficulty of linkage to other objectives & destinations (distances, scarcity of desirable vehicles, fast travel options) – Just Cause 3 pretty dismisses all of these complaints with a system allowing frequent fast travel, solid equipment drop options and a densely packed map.

Critically, the movement between parachute, wingsuit and grapple has been absolutely nailed. I quickly felt like a complete badass when playing the game, and my only gripe with this being that it’s sometimes difficult to implement options to transition from the wingsuit flight onto the ground. Sure, as anybody who’s seen my Twitch or YouTube coverage of the game can testify, you’ll frequently fail at a transition that will make you look like a numpty (flying face-first into a road etc), but most of the time the sense of baddass-ery is total, and that’s an amazing achievement.

Just Cause 3 Review

“Mine Now”

There’s always plenty to do in JC3, story missions, liberations of towns & military bases, random events etc. Skills progression is linked to a series of challenges, and offers some genuinely interesting options to improve your butt-kicking abilities through the game. I found a lot of these to be fun, and generally if you’re not interested in honing a particular skill set, don’t do the related challenges. For instance, once you realise you won’t drive anywhere cause wingsuits, jets & choppers are too much fun, you don’t need to bother with the car racing challenges.

The game’s rhythm of challenges, liberations & generally blowing stuff up, driven by the destruction of ‘chaos objects’, is something I really enjoyed. I haven’t played a game this long that didn’t feel like work for a long time. Even though JC3 still has those elements (various types of collectible, audio logs etc) your fun is never gated by these, they’re completely optional.

JC3 isn’t without it’s problems. Early story missions focus on escort mission types which can test your patience, missions focussed on fighting infantry enemies grated due to the sheer numbers of foes & the limits of the shooting mechanics – while I experienced frequent crashing of the game back to the dashboard. Overall those didn’t really impact my enjoyment in any memorable way, unlike the loading times.

Loading times are heinous, egregious, interminable and any other words I can think up. Long. By and large it’s not too much of an issue when exploring the islands and loading story missions; its the challenges, and the number of times you’ll inevitably be restarting them over & over that the loading becomes a sick joke.

So, overall, not a perfect game, but it sure is enjoyable. I can’t recall a game I’ve payed in recent years that’s so much fun with so little associated stress. The moment to moment gameplay is ridiculous fun. Refined movement and vehicle handling – combined with the freedom to create chaotic and random events with tethers & explosives is unique amongst a market saturated with similar open-world adventure games.

My rating: Stupid F***ing Fun

About Mr Vandelay

Editor at large

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