With the final piece of DLC having been released, I finally sat down to complete the main game, and close out the Rico Rodriguez trilogy, with Just Cause 3. Though admittedly I’ve never played the first one…
I have been putting it off, and putting it off for months, now, after watching my wife finish it the week of release. I can’t properly enjoy the same story twice in quick succession, after all, so I figured I would wait until the full Air, Land & Sean Expansion Pass had released before I did it.
The main character of the franchise, the aforementioned Rico, returns to his home of Medici, a Mediterranean island, to overthrow the dictator who has ruled over it since he was a lad. Why it took until he was in his 40s to do so is anyone's guess. He joins the rebellion, led by his cousin Mario, to overthrow Di Ravello and return happiness to the people. The dictator has begun mining a rare, unstable mineral called bavarium, and has begun weaponising it.
He does this by liberating every area of the island chain, blowing up anything coloured with a red stripe -- antennas, power generators, statues, billboards… Once each stronghold/town has been cleared of these items, Di Ravello’s troops leave and it is liberated. Once all of the settlements in the area are liberated, you encounter far fewer enemy units, so it helps missions if you clear regions ahead of time.
There are strongholds that will give you much more trouble than the rest, as they call in air raids, or worse, to stop you. It’s possible to liberate them, but much easier if you wait for the relevant mission which will disable the air strikes.
Your task is made easier by the supporting cast, one of whom has been working on weaponising bavarium -- a scientist called Dima. Regretting her life choices, she has joined the rebellion and gives Rico a wingsuit and an unlimited amount of remote bavarium charges to blow things up with.
If you happen to have the Air, Sea & Land Pass too, you will also get access to a bavarium jetpack, a mech and a rocket boat. These come in handy for liberating places -- unless you’ve already done the oil rigs, making the boat pretty useless for the main game… Which is weird, given that you’re on a series of islands, and regularly have to cross vast stretches of ocean.
The final mission for Just Cause 2 ended with you riding a nuclear missile, whilst dodging bullets from the evil dictator. Following that, I just knew that the one location on the map which didn’t have a settlement -- an active volcano to the north -- would be where you have the final battle with Di Ravello. Sure enough, Rico has to head out there and take him out. Unfortunately, Ravello was in a helicopter, and Rico wasn’t, making it pretty much identical to several other encounters throughout the game.
With a disappointing trio of DLC, a rubbish ending, enemies that just seem really too tough and far too much padding, I’m not in a hurry to replay Just Cause 3. For context, I own Just Cause 2 on three systems, and have completed it once on each, and multiple times on one of them. I had high hopes that Just Cause 3 would raise the stakes, but it just added a few new toys and locked some stuff behind a challenge wall -- you have to finish races, timed destructions and other things, to unlock upgrades to your equipment. You can’t even fine aim until you’ve done a bunch of firing ranges, to unlock it -- yet you’re stuck with the starting amount of health and armour forever.
I’m going back to Just Cause 2, where Rico was from some South American country, and I can upgrade my health...