Cool guys don’t look at explosions
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Square Enix
Release: Out Now
Formats: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Rating: PEGI 18
We adored the cathartic and explosive landscape of Just Cause 2 so much we didn’t just want to love Just Cause 3, we wanted to revel in its revolutionary chaos. In many ways JC3 is more of the same, but so much of the experience feels undercooked and it’s hard not to be disappointed.
Rico Rodriguez has come home to Medici, the Mediterranean paradise he grew up on, with an aim to take down its despotic military dictator, General Di Ravello. Medici comprises three huge landmasses and groups of islands, with bases and settlements ripe for takeover and plenty of chaos-building structures to destroy. Story progress is gated by your takeovers, pushing you to chip away at new areas constantly.
It’s a satisfying way to deliver story missions, so it’s a shame the same can’t be said about the upgrade system. For some reason, upgrade “mods” are tied to your performance in the huge amount of optional racing, destruction and combat events scattered around the country, which isn’t ideal. Everything from the strength of your grappling hook tethers to being able to zoom in your aim is locked behind these challenge results. It’s hugely frustrating that you need to be good at events you hate in order to experience all of Rico’s abilities.
Even without upgrades, Rico has perhaps his most capable bag of tricks so far, with a more stable parachute and a wingsuit for speedy travel, super powerful tethers for pulling objects together and defying physics. You can pull helicopters into the ground, pull enemies into each other and tear down fuel tanks. This is beautiful chaos and although it’s incredibly repetitive, the fun comes from being able to experiment with how you go about the destruction. Go in all guns blazing, use armed vehicles, go tether crazy, try and take over a city without raising an alarm: the options and flexibility will always put a smile on your face.
Unfortunately, Avalanche has stumbled massively in its attempts to make Medici a satisfying place to explore and explode. The story fizzles out long before it should, wasting its underlying plot about world domination using a mineral known as Bavarium and coming to an awkward end. The wingsuit is also far more tricky to control than it should be, while too much of the world is wasted space and the game’s performance is abominable – especially on console. Just Cause 3 doesn’t let you fully revel in its chaos – it’s silly and hilariously enjoyable and has the best-looking explosions ever crafted, but it falls far short of being the chaotic sandbox it should have been.
An Unstable Revolution
During our time with Just Cause 3 we had no end of frustrating technical issues, as the PC version requires a very high-end rig to avoid serious performance issues, while both console versions prove to be diabolical. Lengthy and sometimes random loading times affected all platforms, with challenges taking an arbitrary amount of time to reload (from 30 seconds to around four minutes for the same event), and the initial boot-up load can take minutes. Server problems also reared their ugly heads, with the “Go Offline” mode not actually taking the game offline for the sake of leaderboards.
Review by: Martin Wharmby
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