Just Cause 3

Just Cause 3

Producer: Square Enix
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Rating: Mature


Just Alright
Written by Joshua David Anderson

Most of the time, video games are about building. Sometimes they are about building up a character, or building upon a story. Sometimes they are literally about building structures. But every now and then, you just want to tear it all down. When the desire to destroy everything is strong, the good folks at Avalanche Studios have the remedy in the form of the Just Cause series. With the newest entry, Just Cause 3, you are given all the destruction and explosions you could ever want. But is it enough to keep the game feeling fresh?

Just Cause 3 stars Rico Rodriguez, the same hero as the previous games, as he travels back to his fictional home country of Medici to wrest control of it away from the evil General Di Ravello. Rico is sort of a “dictator removal expert” and is brought to his old stomping grounds to aid the burgeoning resistance movement. Along the way, you meet a cast of characters that don’t really elevate past the point of being caricatures. You have the awkward science lady, the goofy childhood friend, the rough mercenary, the slimy CIA operative, and the cartoonish bad guy. All of this is par for the course and not really important. The story in Just Cause 3 does just enough to give you context for what you are doing, and does very little to get in your way. If you want a deep, involved story, look elsewhere. Do you, however, want to blow things up? If so, then Just Cause 3 has your back!

The game consists of story missions, one-off challenges, and taking over settlements and enemy bases. The story missions are standard “go here, blow up this, protect that.” The challenges will have you do some specific action in a set time for a score. These can include races, shooting galleries, or just general destruction. Taking over bases and settlements represent the majority of the game, and are the most open ended in terms of design. This is where Just Cause 3 can have its most insane, procedural experiences. There are a ton of these locations to discover and destroy, but you may find yourself being burnt out on the rinse and repeat nature of the gameplay before you are done with all of them.

When you are destabilizing a dictatorship, you are only as good as your tools. Thankfully, Rico has exactly what you need to cause explosions en masse. Stocked with the standard affair of handguns, rifles, grenades, and rocket launchers, Rico has more than enough firepower to blow up anything. However, Just Cause 3 gives you some special tools to make the tearing down even more fun. The key tool is the grappling hook, which you can use to zip around the terrain and scale large buildings. You can also use it to fling yourself up into a passing helicopter, or attach yourself to that car down below you. Using the grappling hook along with a retractable parachute and a wingsuit allows you to be incredibly mobile in all three dimensions. The grappling hook can also be attached on both ends to anything you want, which allows you to pull structures down, pull enemies up, or just hang objects from anything else. Add in the final piece, infinite placeable explosive charges, and you will find that you have a myriad of options for taking down guard towers and other large structures.

Since you are essentially constantly blowing stuff up in the game, it helps that the graphics look great, particularly the fire and explosion effects. There is a ton of destructibility as well, with full physics systems in place to handle all the things you are taking apart. Because of all of this, the game can suffer a bit on consoles, with the performance not quite able to keep up. The PC version is better, but only if you have a beefy system to handle it.

Just Cause 3 feels a lot like the past game. That isn’t a bad thing if you love the free form destruction based gameplay from before. All of that is here, with almost everything ramped up. But it doesn’t really do anything different from the previous games, and plays it pretty safe. If you want more of Just Cause, then this entry is great. But if you were hoping for more evolution to go with your revolution, you may be a bit disappointed. Still, there is nothing quite like the freedom and destruction Just Cause 3 offers in video games, and for that it is worth an explosion-filled look.

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