Just Cause 3 Review (Playstation 4) – It’s No GTA, But It’s Close

Just Cause 3 Review (Playstation 4) – It’s No GTA, But It’s Close

Just Cause 3 by Avalanche Software is a third-person action-adventure game that shares many similarities with Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series. As the game’s wise cracking, flamboyant protagonist Rico Rodriguez, the player is returned to the fictitious, open sandbox Mediterranean island known as Medici (Rico’s homeland) from Just Cause 2. The once peaceful tropical island is now at war with General Sebastiano Di Ravello; a ruthless dictator hellbent on controlling the island and its inhabitants. Assisted by his childhood friend Mario Frigo, scientist Dimah al-Masri and a group of ragtag rebels, Rico must rid his homeland of propaganda, tyranny and military oppression.

The game’s opening sequence doubles as both a tutorial and introduction to the game’s story,  as Rico rides atop a biplane — with rocket launcher in hand – to disarm a handful of anti-craft missile turrets that line the Medici coastline. From there, the plane is struck by a missile and the player is thrust (no pun attended) into a free-fall scenario and taught (rather quickly) how to use Rico’s improved parachute and special ‘grappling’ ability (an important skill used throughout the game).

The game world from Just Cause 2 has increased by an additional 400 square miles to accommodate the story line. The environment has also been expanded, making it possible for the gamer to explore caves, scale buildings, and hang from the underbelly of bridges from almost every possible angle. New to the series is the ‘wing suit’, where Rico can jump from a location and ‘glide’ across the landscape. The player can keep Rico’s altitude by pressing down on the Analog stick, and then descend rapidly by pressing up.

Just Cause 3 Playstation 4

Likewise, the wing suit can also be used in tandem with the grappling hook, keeping Rico airborne during dangerous situations. An online leader board constantly keeps track of personal ‘bests’, ranking the longest distance flown, the best grapple, etc., against other players. It provides a competitive edge to Just Cause 3’s single-player campaign.

Some game mechanics have either been changed or have been updated for more versatility. For example: Rico’s grappling hook can now tether objects of all sizes together (i.e. cars, tanks, etc.) and destroy them. This is easily achieved by pointing the in-game crosshairs at an object; tapping the L1 button; and then repeating the process on a second object to attach it to the first one.  When both objects are tethered together, the player can press the L2 button to destroy them. Thanks to the game’s featured ‘mods’, the length of the tethers can be increased.

Also new to the series is Just Cause 3’s emphasis on destruction and chaos. Just about everything in the game’s environment can be destroyed, including statues, power stations and vehicles. As mentioned earlier, Rico can ‘tether’ objects together and make them collide. Certain missions will even focus on demolition, encouraging the player to destroy ‘propaganda’ related objects such as billboards, public sound systems (which deliver the dictator’s speeches to the public), and towering, stone statues that are carved in General Sebastiano Di Ravello’s likeness. For example: the player can tether the giant stone statues to the ground and force them to crumble by pressing and holding L2. But if all else fails, a simple grenade will do.

Just Cause 3 Playstation 4

The gameplay also benefits from a multitude of improvements. For example: the enemy AI will match its firepower to whatever the player is using. If the player is using a tank, the AI will use rocket launches, helicopters and tanks to retaliate. The same thing will happen when the player inflicts a certain amount of damage on an enemy facility. Moreover, the number of enemy backup units that appear is determined by how quickly the player dispatches the first group of soldiers. In fact, the game is always challenging the player’s ability to out think increasingly difficult scenarios, as the enemy ‘Threat Level’ rises.

The parachuting mechanics from Just Cause 2 have been revamped for better stability. While parachuting, the player can easily slow Rico’s decent by holding down on the Left Analog stick. It is also possible to ‘grab’ more air after an initial parachute jump by pressing up on the Left Analog stick. Also, the player can anchor themselves to a building or some other object to stabilize their fall to terra firma. But most importantly, the physics engine has been reworked to allow  a seamless transition from one form of air travel to another. For example: the player can jump from a building or mountain, activate the wing suit by pressing Triangle button, and then use the grappling hook by pressing L1 to either interrupt air travel or increase Rico’s speed.

Combat is a bloody, heart-pumping affair that pushes the player’s skills to their limits. The CPU doesn’t stand blindly in the open and return fire; it will engage the player in a constant game of cat and mouse. For example: When attacked, enemy soldiers will either disperse from large groups and circle back to surround Rico or they will commandeer a tank (or helicopter) to pin the player down. Since the game doesn’t provide a ‘cover’ system like some games, the player must always stay on the move to avoid being killed. In fact, the only way to survive most combat scenarios is to think ‘outside the box’.

Just Cause 3 Playstation 4

Some of the vehicles steer rather poorly (especially the smaller coops and 4-door sedans), and they don’t always brake properly when taking wide turns. Buses and other large vehicles are expected to have poor steering due to their size, and they’re not the best choice for high-speed chases. Sports cars like the Autostraad D700 (think the E87 BMW 1 / 2 Series) are probably the best vehicles in the game due to their speed and handling. Unfortunately, the driving mechanics haven’t improved much since Just Cause 2.

With gripes aside, Just Cause 3 is still a vast improvement over its predecessor(s). The driving mechanics are a hindrance, but the retooled game mechanics, improved enemy AI, and next-gen facelift are enough to make Just Cause 3 a worthwhile purchase, especially for gamers that are  looking for an alternative to Rockstar’s GTA series.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Playstation 4 (Also Available for Xbox One)
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Square-Enix
ESRB: M (Mature)
Price: $49.99

Just Cause 3 Official Website: https://justcause.com/dlc/sky-fortress

Review Score
Incredibly detailed 3D graphics complemented by high resolution textures.
Impressive voice acting and sound effects
While the driving mechanics leave a lot to desire, the main gameplay (i.e. running, gunning, gliding, etc.) have been seen a vast improvement.
Just Cause 3 is a fun game that doesn't always take itself seriously. If you can overlook the dodgy vehicle mechanics, what you will find is a solid, open world adventure deserving of your attention
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