Just Cause 3 (video game review)

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Get your wingsuit, grappling hook and parachutes ready, boys and girls. Rico Rodriguez, our grizzled veteran and expert of destruction, style and rebellion, is back in his most stunt-filled story yet. Just Cause 3 is by far the most ambitious game of the franchise. Boasting 400 sq ft of land and sea, there are tons of room to play in this explosive playground. While the island of Medici doesn’t have much more square feet than the previous game worlds, they have added more verticality with its mountains as well as underwater caverns to explore. The world is based off islands in the real world Mediterranean and has been constructed from 5 biomes that serve as beautiful backdrops while you blow up the current dictator’s regime.

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Gameplay

Just Cause 3 at its heart and core is a third-person open-world action/adventure game that rewards the creativity of its players for their destruction. Right off the bat, you start with your trademarked parachute and grapple hook. Shortly after you are given the all important wingsuit which for me was my favorite form of transportation. The team at Avalanche Studio did an admirable job of listening to its fans; the hard work and passion of the modders in Just Cause 2 on PC paid off. The team implemented many of the most popular mods in the form of upgrades for Rico’s arsenal such as being able to tether up to 6 targets together, nitrous for every vehicle, and unlimited C4 for all your destructive needs. Unfortunately the biggest mod of all, multiplayer, didn’t make the list this time around. Instead we get asynchronous multiplayer that allows you to challenge others ghosts on challenges, and leaderboards for feats and stunts. They have also added tons of hardware in the form of vehicles that you can call in via a supply drop including any weapons and vehicles you have unlocked including tanks, planes, and even boats. Said hardware is unlocked by completing missions, capturing settlements or dropping one off at an unlocked garage, so it is very beneficial to reclaim as many territories for the resistance as possible.

Story

The story is orchestrated well with great pacing for its 25+ mission duration. With all the side missions, it is sure to keep you busy for a minimum of 20 hours. The missions in the campaign will mostly fall into three categories: escort missions, defending objectives, and destroying or conquering bases to increase the resistance’s strength. The writing is done well and often contains comedic moments to keep the player interested. The story is often predictable which results in making you feel like there isn’t any outcome besides you winning the war. Those who find joy in explosive sandboxes will sink much more time into the side missions as well as setting up epic stunts like connecting cars to helicopters or jets and then using them as props as they attempt to be as badass as possible.

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Negatives

In theory, a game this big with this much content is magnificent, considering it does not have any transitional load screens minus the very minimal 10-15 seconds when starting a mission. However, anytime you need to restart due to a death, failed mission or not getting the top score in a challenge, it will force you to endure load times of up to 90 seconds sometimes. While this may not seem that bad at first, in the grand scheme of things there are over 127 challenges. Even if it only were to take you 1 retry per challenge, that is over an extra 2 hours of pure load times. It has been noted that the PC version of the game has substantially lower load times compared to the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game. Honestly even that is such a minor issue that it doesn’t hurt the overall experience too much. The only real down points are the hardware limitations; at times there were noticeable framerate drops and some very awkwardly placed cutscenes that would have been more effective if placed at different points of the missions.

Positives

For me, that is honestly where the negatives end and the positives begin. The island is massive with tons of missions, challenges and unlockables. Traveling around the island is fast and fun. Shortly into the game you also unlock the ability fast travel to discovered bases and settlements. Rico also has an unlimited source of C4 that he can be creative with to make as much mayhem as possible. The amount of weapons to use increases as you liberate bases, and as long as you have flares you can also airdrop in ammo and weapons; however, each one comes with a cooldown to prevent abusing the system and only using one weapon throughout the game. For those that have fallen in love with specific weapons, they can unlock lower cooldowns via challenges as well as find weapon lockers at most settlements and bases to refill their ammo for their current arsenal.

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Final Reaction

Overall Just Cause 3 is just great. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s admirable for what they set out to do, like having a massive island full of life and beauty to explore. The team at Avalanche Studios has given players the tools to create amazing stunts and feats all while being as stylish as possible while doing it. The amount of weapons you gain access to throughout the game along with the various mods (upgrades) will have the enemies bending to your will. Since the game uses a matching AI system, that means the more hardware you bring in, the more they will bring as well. As the saying goes, fight fire with fire. The playground created for Just Cause 3 is by far one of the best ones out on the market right now and fans of sandbox games owe it to themselves to go pick it up.

Rating: 4/5 Atoms

NR 4 Atoms - B

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Jada Griffin
Jada Griffin 334 posts

Legends tell of a princess captured and raised by Ninjas to be their future leader. Jada was trained from an early age to max the luck stat, always strike first and to never surrender.

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