Game Review: Just Cause 3


[Warning, this review may have minor spoilers that occur within the first hour of the game.]

Before I start this review I’ll give you my history of this franchise and of sandbox games as a whole. When Grand Theft Auto 3 and its spin-offs (like Vice City) were released each game helped set the standard for sandbox games. In the original Grand Theft Auto 3 for the first time we had “3D mayhem” (you go take the subway or drive a stolen car; you could shoot everyone you saw on the street only to escalate into being chased by every cop and their grandmother). GTA Vice brought boats and GTA San Andreas brought planes and a deep story. Now you’re wondering why I’m talking about Grand Theft Auto in a Just Cause review or even the history of sandbox games. Here is where I bring to full circle. Just Cause 1 was one of the first games I played, and for its time it was mechanically amazing, you could jump out of a plane parachute and then if you timed it right you could steal a car; only then to jump out and blow up an enemy patrol. Just Cause 2 perfected the average grappling hooking for Just Cause 1 and made into a work of art it perfected everything in Just Cause 1 and improved. Now you in Just Cause 3 you would know if certain buildings (helpful painted in red) can be destroyed in any way that you see fit. Creating such an explosive fireworks display that made me feel like it was bonfire night on steroids while raving to Daurade Sandstorm.

My point is that with each Grand Theft Auto game it added a certain precedent, and the Just Cause franchise polished the mechanics of the genre. Now relating this back to JC3 I’ll make one last comparison, this is to Saints Row. When GTA 4 was released it aimed to create a dark and serious sandbox game when it was on the Xbox 360 generation of hardware.  This was done to make it a very separate affair from the last from Grand Theft Auto San Andreas that was released back on the PlayStation 2. This lead to the first sandbox major split, either Sandbox games would be silly or they’d be serious. Saints Row 3 went the silly route hook, line and sinker. Just Cause 3 (and I proudly say this) has taken the entire fishing boat! It is, at times, one of the silliest, craziest and bombastic games I’ve ever played. I loved every moment of it! It has taken everything from Just Cause 2 from its beautiful polished engine, to improving the grappling hook having been suggested by the community.

Some argue that this is a bad thing, because immersion is lost due to its silliness. I can say at least from my time playing this is not the case. I’d spend hours finding new ways to tare down statutes or destroy bridges or create my own space program with C4, a helicopter, a wing and a prayer. My (somewhat longwinded) point is Just Cause 3 is the kind of game that hasn’t been released in a long time. This is the kind of game that you give your sibling or your old uncle and they’ll do the exactly the same thing: blow stuff up in the craziest and insanely funniest ways possible! This has been Just Cause’s main selling point from Day 1 and I’m glad this game still has one last tango with it.

World Building

For those who have not played a Just Cause game you are missing on out some of the most fun you can have outside the mercenaries’ franchise. In Just Cause you play as Rico Rodriguez a dictator toppling, Antonio Banderas looking, plane jacking badass, who works as “the agency” (alluded to be the CIA) in which his job is remove dictators however he sees fit. By this I mean if it means putting a bomb on a dictator while free falling (just as in JC1) or riding a missile while shooting at another dictator on another missile (as was the case in JC2).  While still being the main character in JC3, this time he works independent of the agency and is largely helping to fight and liberate his homeland. The plot is thin and silly which isn’t a bad thing because we get to spend time with Rico, seeing his view on things, I mean that must count for something seeing as he is a man who has ridden several missiles in his life time I wouldn’t mind that!

Gameplay Mechanics

His trusty grappling hook from the previous games has been powered up letting you hook on to several things at once letting you then tear things apart. Rico’s parachute has also been upgraded and it lets you guide yourself more easily. However, the main new tool is the wingsuit that let you live your own Frank Miller Batman X Spiderman, in which you can grapple yourself to a building, jump off, glide just above the ground while humming that batman theme only to then grapple yourself and fly-kick the poor fool you hit. This is so seamless and so beautiful is like watching a river flow which is even more so helped with its gorgeous graphics. Considering I played on it on the PlayStation 4 , considering the graphics capacity of the console and the fact that its this early in the current generation cycle it is amazing that games can look and play this well.

The other major change is that explosives in the game have changed to act in a more organic and colourful. This is perfectly the case when you use your new Spider/Batman skills to go into an enemy base, plant all the C4 under the sun, only to fly back and watch as the entire base collapses in such a way that the only thing you can think is the old adage “I love it when a plane comes together”, only to see enemy soldiers panic and flee and almost comically try to fight against your Spider/Batman skills. The reason I sound like I’m underselling it is that when you experience your first JC3 explosion you’ll begin to experiment with more and more ways to make as big as a fire explosion. It just needs to be experienced!

Soundtrack

The soundtrack of Just Cause franchise holds a certain place in my heart partially due to the fact that JC1 has an amazing main theme, mixing acoustic guitar to give this rebel-like aspect that feels unique. This is further the case with the JC3 battle and action themes that have a certain guitar feels that feels like shoutout to the “causes” of yesteryear. However, my favourite track feels like an ode to the mile-high club of JC2 which can be found on YouTube as the Just Cause 3 – Electro Beat (Iste Nocte Non Finira).

Conclusion

In summary, if you like James Bond games buy Just Cause 3! If you like Saints Row buy Just Cause 3! If you ever wanted to sky dive out of a jet while then gliding with the grace of a bold eagle about to grab its prey BUY.THIS.GAME. I really had fun with this game, the only main issue that I can found in this game is that the story at time feels weak but despite this I would give this game a solid 8.5 out of 10.  The reason I don’t give it a higher marker is that in the later stages in the game it starts feel repetitive but this is in really later stages, however others may argue otherwise. The game is a blast to play with and is perfect if you just want to tear things up! This is the kind of game I have long long waited for and it was worth it.

Score
8.5 out of 10
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