After almost 5 long years, Avalanche Studios have introduced us to the third installment in the Just Cause series, Just Cause 3. Can the newest game in the series recapture the over-the-top action of the first two games or will Just Cause 3 get lost in the shuffle during the busy holiday season?
Just Cause is the series that has always eluded me. By the time the first game had released, I didn’t want to invest any more into my PlayStation 2 and I didn’t have an Xbox 360 as I was waiting to buy a PlayStation 3. By the time the second game came out, I was busy with all the other recent releases. I even downloaded the game from PlayStation Plus and never did get around to playing it. The series always interested me though and that’s what made me happy to get the opportunity to review Just Cause 3. I feel like not playing the first couple games will give me a greater appreciation for what this game is; a fantastic action-adventure game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has certainly made a great impression on me.
The first thing you’ll notice when starting up Just Cause 3 is the scope and the detail of the game. The map is massive and has tons of scenery and places to explore. You can tell that Avalanche took a great deal of time an effort to not only make a world that looked nice and full of life, but also one that made it easy to travel around with the various modes of transportation made available to you. By land, sea, or air in multiple ways, you can get to your destination quickly and efficiently. The thing I noticed most was that the streets were populated with civilians, even as firefights were breaking out. It was crazy to see all these people running around as I was trying to take down the opposing forces. The world isn’t quite as amazing as what you would see in Grand Theft Auto, but it’s still impressive in its own right. It’s a living, breathing set of islands.
The plot involves you controlling Rico Rodriguez who is battling the military dictatorship of Sebastiano Di Ravello. The story is largely forgettable, however Rico is the one-man army you’ve always wanted to be. There isn’t much that this man can’t do. You’re supplied with a grappling hook, wingsuit, and parachute which all provide excellent modes of transportation and total destruction. No cliff is too high, no point is out of reach. If you can think it, Rico can probably do it. The grappling hook itself provides most of the fun as you can tether two objects together and watch them smash into each other. You can even grapple onto an enemy and dropkick him. The most frequently-used part of the tether is to swing explosive barrels into targets though. It’s satisfying to experiment with different strategies to complete your objectives and to see what strange things work with all the tools provided. Guns become secondary and almost unnecessary.
While the game can get repetitive after a little while, Avalanche added gear mods to make things a little more interesting. These mods are unlocked by completing challenges after liberating areas. Some of these are simple like adding more grenade capacity while others change the game like the rocket boost mines. Gaining the different gear mods becomes an addictive process and makes the liberation of these areas a little more bearable after you’ve been doing it for a few hours.
I noticed a few bugs when I was playing the game. I had to restart a mission because the game said there was still an enemy to kill despite having no one on screen anywhere (I looked around for 5 straight minutes). Other than that, there was a bit of a frame rate drop here and there. The load times were the worst thing though, I easily waited over 3 minutes to get into the game from the load screen which is way too long. The technical issues aren’t bad enough to warrant not purchasing/playing the game, but they are a minor annoyance.
All in all Just Cause 3 is an incredibly fun way with a lot of emphasis on experimenting and playing your way. You’re never forced to do things any one way, the game allows you freedom that you just don’t see often in today’s world of cookie-cutter games. Avalanche doesn’t play it safe with this series, they go for it every time despite how insane things may get in the game world. This isn’t a game for people who like a linear style of play, this is the type of game that imaginative people will enjoy. The whole map is your playground and you get to do everything your way. I’d recommend this game to all action fans and everyone who wants something different, go pick up Just Cause 3.
*This game was provided to FYIG by Square-Enix for review purposes*