The latest installment in the Avalanche Studios series sees Rico Rodriguez returning to his homeland of Medici, a not-so-small cluster of fictional Mediterranean islands. Our goal is simple: to free Medici from General Di Ravello, a dictator controlling the beautiful and 400 square miles size region.
Just Cause 3
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Square Enix
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows (tested)
Almost 6 years have passed since the release of Just Cause 2, and fans all over the world of the GTA-with-cheats game were desperate for the new installment. And oh boy Avalanche Studios delivered.
Just Cause 3 is a mayhem simulator where everything starts and ends with some really big explosions. Rico Rodriguez is returning to his homeland Medici to free it from the Dictator General di Ravello. He and his pals -the rebels- will start liberating the islands by causing as much damage as possible in order to show the people that Di Ravello is not in charge.
Right from the start we are presented with the tone for the rest of the game and what to expect from it. Rico and his mate Sheldon are flying into Medici. But the plan does not go as expected: the plane is attacked by military troops with rocket launchers, missiles systems, jet fighters and what not. Just a minute into the game and we are already walking on top of our plane, firing an unlimited amount of RPGs. Next thing you know and you are already parachuting, gliding and fighting with a tank. And this is Just Cause 3.
It is not hard to follow the story. It is as silly as the game itself and nothing is supposed to be taken seriously. All characters are developed through jokes and everything is setup as our own playground to simply cause as much damage as possible in the most creative ways. Everything else is just an excuse to support the amazing game play.
Everything you can do with Rico feels completely polished and perfect. After just a couple of missions you will upgrade your grappling hook, enable fast travel and rebel support. From this point and on, the game opens up for you to do as you wish, in the way you want, when you want. And there isn’t any shortage of anything.
Medici offers an endless amount of content to enjoy in its 400 square-miles. It is divided in 3 regions with a huge number of bases, towns and outposts. But it doesn’t stop there: there is way more content hidden in secret areas, challenges and Easter eggs.
So.. how does it work? Like this: You go out in the world and cause mayhem to liberate it. By doing so, you will unlock challenges. The higher the score you get in those challenges, the higher the amount of gears you will earn. Those gears will rewards you with mods to tune up Rico and teach him to deliver some really cool stunts, equip him with the strongest vehicles, weapons, you name it.
Some of the mods are really overpowered, and that’s why Avalanche Studios gives you the ability to turn them on or off as you wish, on the go. For instance, there is a challenge that will reward you with a rocket propelled planted explosives. Another challenge will reward you with homing grenades that explode on impact. Some of them are silly (but useful) like giving you the ability to traverse the city like Spiderman with your grappling hook, and some of them are more regular like increasing the amount of ammo you can have.
I did enjoy the progress system, but a word of caution: It is easy to feel you are grinding something if you want to rush a specific mod, locked in a specific challenge, locked in a specific town you haven’t liberated yet. So yes, while everything in the game seems to be there to have some silly fun, it is way better to unlock everything after your first playthrough.
And while you have pretty much unlimited access to the most powerful vehicles and weapons, the most fun I had was thanks to the grappling hook. The physics system is smart and enables you to do anything you want. You can attach an old woman to a gas canister, shoot it and see how she helplessly disappears into the sky. You can attach a random NPC to a chopper and take it down with your own jet fighter. You can even attach indestructible objects to your chopper to make your own wrecking ball. The amount of freedom is huge.
And this kind of freedom is what makes of Just Cause 3 a fun game. In most open world games you pretty much know what to expect after just a few missions. You go to a specific spot, you free the hostages (Far Cry) or kill someone (Assassins Creed) and that’s it. You do have a huge world to explore, but is simply more of the same. Just Cause 3 has tons of different outposts and bases. Some of them you can simply go in, destroy a billboard, some radio communication devices and the police station, and you are done. Others are full featured military bases with strong defensive aerial, terrestrial and marine defenses that even the strongest vehicle or weapon will be useless without some proper planning.
Another strong selling point goes for both the graphics and the lack of issues. I found none. Not a single issue in more than 30 hours of game play, and in a pretty much common PC. The graphics are fantastic and Medici is full of beautiful details, the frame rates are steady and the engine is rock solid. Kudos to the development team for this apparently strange achievement nowadays. The audio department is equally good, with some really good voice acting and silly punchlines.
Just Cause 3 is a mayhem simulator. It is everything you can expect from a Just Cause game and more. Fantastic game play, amazing graphics and a full featured world with plenty of things to do. Interesting main missions and side missions, varied challenges and random encounters, you name it. Recommend to anyone who enjoys open-world games.