Title: Just Cause 3
Platform: Windows, PS4, Xbox One

Reviewed on: Windows

Genre: Action, TPS
Players: Single player


Written by Whistler 7th December 2015














It can be said that just as light needs darkness to exist for chaos to thrive there needs to be order, because chaos without opposition is just a tad too messy and nobody can really be bothered to fill out the paperwork.

Yet in this case for a game that’s all about sheer unrivalled chaos it seems to get bogged down in rules, restrictions, a questionable unlock system and some god awful floaty controls.

That said Just Cause 3 can be a cathartic joyride of sheer utter explosive brilliance, but only when it stops thrusting repetitious side fillers, performance affecting online connection issues and oversized open world down our throats.


Just Cause 3 follows much the same formula as its predecessors; you are the rebel without a cause and former CIA operative one man army Rico Rodriguez who now comes home to help liberate the fictional island of Medici from the tyrannical dictator Di Ravello. What starts off as a simple crusade to liberate the oppressed peoples actually continues to be a simple crusade with the occasional silly plot device (in most cases Bavarium, magical rock only found in Merdici that seems to serve as Just Cause 3’s space magic/’the Truth’/magical orbs/parasites). Alas despite trying to throw wrenches into the mix the formula stays much the same and goes flat much faster despite a shinier label.






















When your flirting with violence and maximum insanity Just Cause 3 is an addictive action packed gunfest that promotes creativity with the range of gadgets and toys at your disposal from hijacking helicopters with your upgraded grappling hook, grappling two pursuing military vehicles together to create a more explosive equivalent to tying an unsuspecting fool’s shoes together. Also the explosions are good, really good. I won’t lie, the giddy joy I experienced from concocting massive cloudbursts, there’s no denying the amount of effort channeled into the explosive effects are unrivalled to my knowledge.     

You can grapple just about anything to create plenty of chaotic pleasure triggers as you combine it with other tools like the wingsuit or arsenal of weaponry. However all of this is weighted down as Just Cause 3 restricts itself to the framework and regulations found in the plethora of modern open world games without understanding why those titles have them.


Main missions are boisterous and often very tongue in cheek affairs while having dot-to-dot objectives allow the player to add some creativity to the mix but then it expects you willingly go about tying up all the busywork side missions. Having such a large sandbox of course means that Just Cause 3 is littered with settlements and camps you need to liberate in order to unlock the main missions (usually in a form of liberate x amount of settlements in region Y to unlock mission B). Alas though what started as a big playground to do as I will became an overly monotonous slog that felt like it was just regurgitating the worst of Arkham Knight’s side objectives. Liberating a settlement or military site rarely step out of their comfort zone has you check of a to-do list of structures to destroy. There was only so many times I could really retain interest in blowing up propaganda speakers, beheading a statue and annoying the local police station and ignore how none of these objects have any kind of profound effect. You see where in say Metal Gear Solid V destroying a satellite dish will cut out that encampments communication capabilities and thusly cuts them off from potential reinforcements, in Just Cause 3 they’re purely scenery dressing that happens to be on Rico’s shopping list before NPC #241 will let him progress the plot.






















Just Cause 3 also for whatever reason implements a questionable unlock system, where experience points are still a perfectly valid system instead when you clear settlements you can then take on several challenges for gears. After collecting enough gears you unlock add-ons for you toys like typical additional ammo or faster resupplying to more interesting situational ones like using C4 for rocket boosting. But then there’s unlocking how to flipping aim down the sights of your weapon, I’m not entirely sure who’s marvellous idea that was but I’m hoping they aren’t winning any notable awards anytime soon. Alas these repetitive un-motivating challenges and repetitious side objectives just add to a seemingly unending grind that in no ways hides how much padding has been thrown in to justify Just Cause 3’s sandbox.


The sandbox and more so the visuals are also perplexing.

I will say the natural landscapes are a wondrous sight to take in, from large scaled mountain sides and sandy beaches to colourful fields that honestly made me want a third person holiday simulator. But then it feels like guy in charge of urban populating took a long holiday himself and then just grabbed some unused assets from a failed PS2 game. Buildings at best look awful and at worst, bloody awful where you’d be forgiven for thinking the textures were taking a ridiculous amount of time to load in. Character models suffer to much the same effect, where Rico looks nice and stylized for the modern age everyone else looks like they got stuck on a lower graphics setting or that nowhere near enough effort was put into their textures and animations.






















But the biggest offender of Just Cause 3 is that it just sets itself up to be this big sprawling fun ride when really if it scaled back its oversized playground it could fit more variety and not have to waste as much time chucking in filler.

It wants to stand amongst others like Witcher 3, Metal Gear Solid V and Shadow of Mordor without learning and understanding all the fine tuning that’s needed to make sure you balance size, content and enjoyment.

There’s fun to be had but where either of titles I previously mentioned are like epic feasts you’ll remember for a lifetime, Just Cause 3 is like some fast food, you enjoyed while you had it but honestly you feel like you’ll be ill if you have anymore. There’s fun to be had in Rico’s explosive homecoming but his ride all too often gets stuck in the mud of frustration and tedium where it barely manages to fill even a quarter of the 400 square mile map with meaningful content. Style over substance is all too apparent here so perhaps Just Cause 3 is best played in short burst as opposed to continuously playing to make sure you can review all the content.


 

Pros:  

Enjoyable gameplay in short bursts,

Impressive explosion effects,

Great tongue in cheek humour,

Allows for creativity,

Smooth seamless open world.


Cons:    

Repetitive padding,

Controls aren’t as fluid as predecessor,

Constant long load times for cutscene transitions,

Poor unlock system,

Jarring visuals,

Runs out of variety fast,

Optimizations issues,

Intrusive online connection issues on PC.


Final Verdict,

Just Cause 3 is a fun romp but desperately fails in the content department with a 7/10.


Written by,

Whistler


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