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Just Cause 3 Review

It’s a bird…It’s a plane…It’s Rico Rodriguez!

Rico is back baby and boy, it is more explosive than ever. It feels like Just Cause 2 released ages ago and since then no game has really delivered the same feelings it did. Sure we have gotten big expansive beautiful worlds to explore and enjoy, but none that gave us the same level of freedom, explosives and nonsense Just Cause 2 delivered. Well, Just Cause 3 does and blows it out of the park.

Freedom? Check. Explosives? Double check. Nonsense? Triple check. As previously you take control of Rico Rodriguez who’s not just a badass, but it’s the badass, returning to his home of Medici Islands only to find it usurped by a crazy dictator with world domination aspirations. Solution? Well, blowing sh*t sky high is a good start and it is one of Just Cause 3’s most enjoyable features.

The Rock

The Rock

What happens along the main missions are a series of cliches and tropes we have already experienced before. Good versus evil, Galactic Empire versus Rebel Alliance, it’s the story of the underdogs, the rebels rising to overthrow the evil oppressors. Amongst them a hero rises, one that everyone looks up to and while in Just Cause 3 he does not wield a lightsaber, he does have a couple of interesting deadly toys at his disposal, but more on that later. And as any hero he is accompanied by a ragtag team of colourful characters such as the best friend, the rogue, the science guy, the back stabbing son of a bi*ch etc. See, this story has been told many times, but it doesn’t mean it’s no good or anything like that. It is interesting in its own way and it serves as a foundation of all the craziness and bat-sh*t insane stuff you will do in the game.

Any game that lets you walk on top of a moving airplane is a little out there for me. A game that lets you walk on a flying missile well, its a little “galaxy far far away” out there. But that’s what is cool and amazing about Just Cause 3. Physics? Pfffff, who needs that sh*t, let me have fun! That’s what Just Cause 3 is all about, fun. Go wherever and do whatever is to your liking. Strap a bomb on a car, drive it to an outpost, jump out and blow it to smithereens? Yea, you can do that, but that is so Just Cause 2. Strap rocket booster bombs on goats, tether them to a car, drive the car over a cliff activate the rockets and see your crazy contraption fly towards the giant satellite dish obliterating it… this is Just Cause 3 baby.

Cow lover...

Cow lover…

That is only one example of the crazy stunts you can pull of in this game. There are already a ton of beautifully executed stunts on Youtube and I guess it is only the beginning. Now before, in Just Cause 2, Rico was pretty agile with the combination of the grappling hook and the parachute, getting from one place to another quickly and with style.Avalanche has put a lot of cool toys for us to find, use and enjoy in the expansive map of Medici Islands. One of the coolest toys, no no, the coolest new toy they introduced in Just Cause 3 is the wingsuit. It completes the holy trinity of traversal as going from the grappling and reeling in to the wingsuit to the parachute is the best part of the whole game.

To view all of the screenshots captured directly from the PS4, click here.

The three separate systems come into a perfect unison delivering the best sense of movement freedom ever put into a game. If you think about, deeply, it is a foreshadowing of the events that unfold in the game, it is all about the freedom to go anywhere and do anything. And when you get to experience it yourself, it is simply just magical. How fast yet quite gracefully slow Rico glides through over the trees, small towns, over water and the other beautiful landscapes of the islands and how the excellent sound design comes to life with the wind whooshing increasing the closer you get to the ground. Yep, magical indeed.

It's magical...

It’s magical…

And that is all you will want to do in the game. Sure there are a ton of vehicles such as cars, trucks, bikes, choppers, boats and planes with good handling physics apart from the bikes which do not absolutely work, and the obligatory fast travel system, but you will nor want to use any of those. However you need to drive these vehicles with ranging physics from good to atrocious if you want access to better gear and this is one of my gripes with the game. In order to unlock these upgrades or MODs, you have to complete challenges mainly timed to earn “gears” or stars to unlock the next upgrade and so on. This is not the first and probably not the last game that does this, but as I said controlling some of these vehicles at high speed trying to beat the timer is just a vicious experience that will get on your nerve quickly. Replaying the same challenge over and over again hoping this time you will not hit that rock or that tree is not fun, not at all.

Now luckily, but not really, you will have a ton of time to come up with the strategy to beat the challenge because of the loading times. From mere seconds to full on 5 minutes of waiting, the loading times are as incoherent as they are crazy. Start a challenge and the game loads in a couple of seconds. Fail, hit retry and wait 2-3 minutes? What?!  I get the the world is truly massive and loading all the assets takes a while, but that long on a powerful machine like the PS4? Things get even worse when it comes to the frame rate.

It goes all over the place. One moment you are gliding through the beautiful Medici landscapes in a steady 30fps when the frame drops when you glide over an occupied settlement or army base. And once the action and explosions start it drops even more hindering the whole experience. But when you’ve cleared the base or whatever, the frame rate goes back to normal. I tested this theory of mine and every time you glide over or are near an enemy the frame drops, so it has to do with the hostile A.I always watching your actions be ready to counteract. I guess once you’ve liberated the entire map, the frame rate will be always steady?

Big bada boom

Big bada boom

I, myself, can neither confirm or deny that since I am far away from liberating all of Medici. See, the world is massive. And spread out there are a ton of settlements, cities, military bases and installations that need to be liberated. Blow up generators, satellite dishes, fuel tanks and much more to get rid of the DRM. Liberating these areas unlocks new challenges which unlock new vehicles, weapons and MODs for you to use for liberating the next one and so on. Going in gun blazing, blowing everything and everyone up is a lot of fun, the first couple of times. As much fun is tethering stuff together then increasing the tension so the two or more objects will go flying towards each other. Combining all of these make for some enjoyable game sessions.

However as you do the same things over and over again, the enjoyment begin to dissipate and what was once fun, cool and awesome to do feels more like a chore you have to do. Just Cause 3 is a very textbook open-world game with a heavy focus of quantity over quality and that is well, great in its own self. Think of it this way: if you had to eat only one dish for a long time, the first 20-30 times it is awesome, but then you know its texture and taste and no matter what you do to it, it is still that same one dish. Still great, but you want to try something else for a change.

At least Avalanche put their greatest chefs to craft a visually stunning dish. Enough with the food references, Just Cause 3 is one of the best looking games to date. The vibrant saturated colours bring the Medici Islands to life. The skybox is gorgeous, the water is jaw dropping and the different biomes ranging from lush woods to beautiful beaches to the snowy mountains everything looks as good as you expect it to be for a 2015 release. They have perfectly captured the Mediterranean look and feel, I know, I live in the Mediterraneans. While flying around you will see a beautiful rendition of the famous Rock of Gibraltar, a subtle rendition of the Navagio beach and so on.

Just Cause 3_20151208162645

Just Cause 3_20151208162645

I usually close a review with a summary of what I said, but I am not going to do that right here right now. Why? Well, I’m tired so I will just write only one sentence. Visually stunning with crazy over the top blockbuster action, Just Cause 3 is the perfect open-world game for someone who has a lot of time in his/her hands and when you buy it, make sure it is on PC to bypass all of the loading times/frame rate problems. Thanks for reading!

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