Once again, we’re given the reins to one of the most destructive members of the Agency, and dropped (quite literally, I may add) into the lands of a place that’s been overran by Di Ravello, the latest dictator that’s made the top of Rico’s “who to overthrow in the most creative way possible” list. Those who have played Just Cause 2 should instantly know what they’re in for, newcomers to the series are certainly in for a wild ride!
Out of the gate you’re treated to a set-piece that shows what’s coming from the rest of the game. Set to a brilliant cover of Prodigy’s “Firestarter” by Torre Florim, snippets of Medici are shown with various states of explosions and wanton destruction. Under the cover of night you’re flown in to Rico’s homeland, but things don’t stay quiet for long.
I found myself doing the exact same thing I’d been doing in Just Cause 2. Entirely sacking off the storyline to go destroy things in the most creative manner possible. However, I soon realised that I’d need to complete at least some of the story in order to obtain access to the really fun stuff. Such as the explosives that act as a thruster for some time before exploding...
Delving into the story, it’s clear that the voice actors have been given a shake up since JC2’s outing. Lines are more believably delivered, and don’t feel like they have that odd “forced” regional accent that was prevalent in the series’ last outing either. In fact, all the sounds in the game feel much tighter than before, especially when you start hearing gun fights breaking out in the distance; it’s a small touch that really adds to the immersion of you being in the middle of a fight between Di Ravello’s forces and the Rebel army. The only place the audio got chewed up and distorted was during the big explosions of the Crash Bomb challenge series.
The most annoying factor though are the load times. Between missions and loading the game initially, the load times for the most part aren’t too distracting in their length. However, when you’re trying to get top marks in one of the games various challenge modes, then having to wait 30 seconds to a minute for each restart really gets in the way - especially if you fluff it up early on in the challenge. The most rewarding of the challenges has to be the wingsuit ones, as getting these to their highest ratings require patience and some delicate tweaking of the controls, scoring high is the trick to unlocking upgrades in relevant categories.
Speaking of wingsuits, the refinements to Rico’s arsenal of things are all welcome additions. The aforementioned suit allows him to glide for great distances much faster than his parachute allows. The grapple is still there in all it’s glory, though now you can attach multiple things to other things and pull those things together to see what carnage you can create. Most of you reading this have likely seen an enemy being attached to a gas canister then that canister being shot, but now, you can attach that gas canister to a fuel tank AND an enemy, watching the whole charade unfold in a glorious explosion of epic proportion. (Bonus points for making Rico walk away without looking at the explosion). They do tend to be the root cause of some frame rate issues, though I’ve had them when the only other thing around was a few of Di Ravello’s army taking pot shots at me at the foot of one of their bases.
One of the things that really threw me though, was the choice of putting the “aim-down sights” feature behind an unlockable upgrade, at first, it felt like something in the game was broken. I kept pressing the button, and checking the controller menu to make sure I was pressing the right thing and felt confused as to why it wasn’t working. It wasn’t until I’d explored the available upgrades that I’d noticed it was hidden away there. It’s also weird in that to unlock precision shooting, you have to score well in a precision shooting challenge...
It’s a good thing that Rico’s wingsuit and parachute combined with the grapple is such an effective way of getting around Medici, as cars and bikes can feel a little clunky to drive. Bikes are the worst though, with a really shoddy feeling of control. So much so that I tend to avoid them wherever possible. The tanks are great fun though and control well, and can make light work of liberating a base. As do the helicopters, though you need to be very careful of the SAM sites that are all over the larger bases.
In all, Just Cause 3 is one of those games that you can have absolutely nothing to do, but still have plenty of fun with. I’ll never tire of liberating bases from opposing forces in the most creative ways possible (Ever tried attaching a car to an enemy electric station, popping some thruster-bombs on it and setting them off? You will now.). As it stands, the game is great fun, like Just Cause 2 is. If Avalanche Studios can get the loading time and frame rate issues sorted, this game will be whole lot more enjoyable because of it.
After this review had been put together, Avalanche Studios have since put out a patch that aims to fix issues referenced within, such as the load times and frame rate drops. Whilst load times have improved, frame rate drops are still currently an issue. The review score reflects the game at the time it was played.
Just Cause 3 (Reviewed on Xbox One)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Rico’s back, with some nifty new tricks up his sleeve, and some great refinements, however, a couple of technical issues with frame rate and lengthy load times sully the fun experience that’s waiting for you.