Just Cause 3 (PC [Reviewed], PS4, Xbox One)
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre(s): Open-world, Action Adventure
Release Date: December 1, 2015
ESRB Rating: M -Mature
The Just Cause series has been steadily climbing up the gaming prestige ladder starting especially on the previous game, Just Cause 2. It turned a lot of heads and I remember being very impressed with the demo of that game back when they had put it out.
If you liked part 2 at all you will love this game because it’s everything that was good about part 2 done bigger and better and some of the quibbles about part 2 refined and improved upon.
If you want a live action cartoon of all the best staples of open world sandbox games this is your ticket.
A gorgeous, lush island that impresses with the eye candy maxed out. This is a game that may tempt some people to hit the upgraditis itch.
It can’t be helped by its nature, but as gorgeous and impressive and vast as this game world is there is a bit of repetition of assets in the game world that become recognizable after a point.
Like its predecessor, this game and its engine really impress me in terms of its scope, its stability, and its potential from some occasionally jaw dropping vistas, water, and other effects. Like other fast paced games, this is something that most of you will want to try and get near or at the magic 60fps for best results.
There have been some performance complaints in the early goings out and about and again mostly SLI and Crossfire multiple GPU users but as of the day I write this the complaints have gradually dropped and I expect like so many other games that updated GPU drivers and patches from the game developers will go a long ways in that area.
Speaking only for myself I never had any problems from day one running this game at full eye candy and 60fps on a single GPU solution at 1920×1200.
Some colorful and appropriate music from well known composer Henry Jackman supports some over the top and at times very impressive sound design.
Unlike some other games that have disappointed me, the military hardware and firepower sounds awesome in this game with some kick and power as it should.
Attention to detail like breaking sound barrier effects with supersonic jets and so forth abound.
Voice acting is cheesy but not distracting and it’s all about punchy one-liners and having fun.
Nothing is taken too seriously and it works.
STORY AND GAMEPLAY:
The story doesn’t really merit its own section and that’s perfectly fine.
Rico, the one man army hero of this series, returns to his home island to save it from an evil dictator.
That’s all you need to know and it’s effective enough.
People poor mouthing the narrative and story just don’t get this series and what it’s supposed to be about. Those complaints are meaningless.
There are skippable cutscenes for the story that is watchable and for this kind of over the top game I felt some of the characters were fairly well drawn up. It’s take it or leave it, and ultimately the story is little more than excuse to unleash you in this game world.
Unlike a lot of other games and especially in this genre, Avalanche Studios had a tight concept and focus for this game and it executes that plan and focus in spades.
The strengths far and away for this series are: 1.) The vast, gorgeous, and physics-defying open world, 2.) the wide variety of destruction and mayhem gameplay mechanics, 3.) and its overall promotion of player agency.
Player agency means having lots of incentive offered to keep playing like numerous rewards and upgrades. It even tracks everything you do with an online database so you can compete against other players’ performances.
The Just Cause series never takes itself seriously. That’s the point. These games are about having an open world sandbox that’s all about chaos, insanity, and being rewarded and encouraged to experiment. The laws of physics are held loosely as a rule of thumb.
Just Cause 2 is where this series was put on the map with robust sales on all available platforms in addition to the nifty bonus of nice mods for the PC. Part 3 is more of the same to another level.
One of the weaknesses of any game like this is, yes, things can get repetitive after a while. As gorgeous as this game world is… and it truly is a sight to behold and experience with all the eye candy maxed out… like part 2 you will again find yourself feeling stuck in a rut when you have destroyed the same kinds of bases ad nausuem.
The good news is: No encounter is ever exactly the same and as your toolbox of destructive goodies ever expands, experimenting for degrees of physics defying chaos is always satisfying and at times laugh out loud worthy.
It’s astonishing what Rico can do with his grappling hook in clear defiance of the laws of physics and that’s all part of the beauty of this: Cut the player loose and take the handcuffs off.
Avalanche has done a better job in this game than they did part 2 of offering a wide variety of sidequests and incentive to do them.
Get more gears and unlock more goodies and mods for said goodies across the spectrum of mods and vehicles. Thanks to garages in addition to what you achieve via other tasks, you can amass a downright overwhelming fleet of vehicles in short order.
It’s telling that some of us can mention that things can get repetitive and then turn around and find that two hours has disappeared playing this so obviously Avalanche is on to something here and definitely is doing a lot of things right.
I have no problems recommending people start the Just Cause series with this game. One has aged quite a bit and 2 is fun but this simply is better than 2 in every single regard so you may as well jump on board with this.
This is arguably the best cut loose and just tear things apart open world sandbox game of its kind to date. It’s a cartoon mixed with all the best of the high action and spaghetti western staples cranked to 11.
It’s all about getting lost and getting crazy in an open world sandbox and being encouraged and rewarded to do it as insanely as you possibly can. How can you not like that?
If you are a fan of these kinds of games at all then it’s a no brainer.
The PC version is already starting to benefit from a very loyal and enthusiastic mod community that could really have some special things going in such a wide open and vast game world. Be sure to keep tabs with them at Just Cause 3 Mods.
Finally, I’ll let this two minute viral video speak for itself. You have to love a game where you can stand still for two minutes and…. watch what happens: