Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Avalanche Studios
My first experience with Just Cause 3 was back in October during NYCC at a Square Enix event, and after five minutes, I couldn’t wait to blow stuff up at home. So was the final release enough to satisfy my pyromania and wingsuit flying? For the most part I would say yes. At the center of this open world third person-action adventure is a truly explosive sandbox, with a plethora of ways to travel and blow everything up with. One of the biggest takeaways from the game is the sheer size of the map. For those that didn’t play Just Cause 2, it has one of the largest open world maps out there that is 400 square miles. That’s a lot ground to cover.
Just Cause 3 brings back Rico Rodriguez, who’s left the Agency and returned to his homeland of Medici, only to find it under control of the mad dictator, General Di Ravello. Rico needs to team up with the local rebels as well as some returning characters from JC2 to overthrow the dictator’s rule. Your best friends during this adventure are a parachute, grappling hook, and a wingsuit that you get almost immediately. This is where the fun really begins.
I’ll prepare you all now. You’ll be putting a ton of hours into JC3. There’s just an enormous amount of weapons and vehicles to unlock throughout the campaign by liberating provinces in each of the three regions of the map. Similar to Fallout 4, it’s easy to lose track of the story missions because the whole world is open right at the start for you to explore and you can get distracted liberating an area you are in, or just going skydiving, which I did a lot.
The grappling hook has made its triumphant return and it’s better than ever. You can use the hook for a variety of things, like attach it to enemies for a quick attack or tether just about anything your imagination can think of. For example, if you need to take some radio towers down but ran out of bullets, just use your grapple and tether it to a building down the block then pull that bad boy down. It’s crazy how many creative ways you can use the grapple. One of coolest ways I used it was to maintain altitude with the wingsuit by grappling to trees or rocks along the way.
To add to the already awesome traversing mechanics in the previous game, JC3 takes it to a whole new level. You have the ability to pull out your parachute at any given time, as well as switch between it and the wingsuit, all while using the grapple to move faster and stay in the air almost indefinitely if you’re skilled enough. Once you liberate new areas, you gain new challenges using vehicles and even the wingsuit which help build up your score on the leaderboards. I was able to reach the top of the leaderboard on a couple challenges but was quickly dethroned.
The Just Cause community is full of some extremely skilled and creative minds. They’re known for making mods on the pc which ended up heavily influencing the design team for the latest entry. Even your upgrades are called mods. I’ve seen some videos in the past of some outrageous things people were able to do in JC2, so it’s great to see some of those ideas come to life in an official release.
I love that you have the creative control to travel however you want. If you’re old fashioned and want to only use vehicles to get around, you can. This brings me to a handy component called Rebel Drops. Rebel Drops are when you find a little transmitter that allows you to call for a vehicle/weapon drop anywhere. You will need to unlock more vehicles and weapons by finding them and adding them to your garage similar to GTA.
Everything I have discussed will be available within the first 5-7 missions. Now let’s talk about performance. My review copy of the game is on the Xbox One, and I have had some performance hiccups that will unfortunately affect the score. One of the biggest issues has to be the load times. I know we have an open world without any loading unless you have to reload your save, but I had load times of up to 7 minutes. That’s a bit crazy for a new gen console. There have been other games that had large worlds and only loaded once, but never this long. It became more frustrating when I died and had to reload. This prompted the occasional rage quit.
Another issue was significant framerate drops amidst heavy explosions. Keep in mind I’m running this on an external HDD, which helped my Fallout 4 experience. I hope these are addressed sooner than later via a patch. Lastly, I had a couple of game breaking glitches during missions where a cinematic was supposed to be shown and instead it places me in a first person view unable to do anything but move the camera. I couldn’t even die, which brought on more rage quitting.
Just Cause 3 has a ton to offer and gets most of it right. I can only speak for the Xbox One version, but if you have both consoles, I would grab it for the PS4. The resolution on the Xbox is 900p and the PS4 is 1080p. I’m going to assume the PS4 version doesn’t suffer the same performance concerns. The biggest selling point on the Xbox was the inclusion of Just Cause 2 for backward compatibility.
Is it worth the new release price? Maybe, considering I’m still trucking through my version, even with the headaches. I’ve had a more positive experience despite the bugs and believe they could be rectified with a patch. This is an explosive open world with so much to explore, and liberate. Now, back to work Rico!