Earlier this Summer, I was able to check out a hands-off demo up Avalanche Studios’ upcoming open-world action sequel Just Cause 4 at E3, and I came away impressed by the overhauled game engine and the new gadgets that would be at your disposal. While it was too early to know for sure, everything I saw of Just Cause 4 seemed to improve upon the complaints that many had with the third entry in the series.
Recently at PAX West, I was able to see Just Cause 4 once again, and this time around it was still of the hands-off variety. Even though I still couldn’t play for myself, I again saw a lot of new aspects of the game that have me overly positive and looking forward to December.
This time around, the demo that I saw focused more on giving me a tour around Solis and holy cow, does it look great. If you weren’t already aware, Solis is the island nation in which Just Cause 4 will take place and within it, there are four distinct biomes: desert, alpine, rainforest, and grasslands. Each of these locations have their own unique vibe and weather patterns, and now that I’ve them all, I can say definitively that they’re each gorgeous.
The first portion of our demo saw Rico jump into a jet and travel around the island so that we could see Solis in all of its splendor which is how I was so quickly able to get a look at these different biomes. The other thing that impressed me other than the beauty of the game world was in the little details. One of these smaller aspects that was pointed out by one of the developers dealt with the physics of a nearby river and how they had fine-tuned it to more closely resemble how the current like would act in the real world. Avalanche made massive overhauls to significant elements of Just Cause 4 like the game engine, and it’s this focus on the little things that I’ve been even more impressed with.
Following this quick jaunt around the skies, the devs hopped out of the jet and decided to show us one of the new gameplay aspects of Just Cause 4. Once again, the famed grappling hook will be returning, but this time around, you’ll be able to add different buffs and abilities to the device. For example, one effect allowed objects that you attached the airlift device to then follow you through the skies. This was showcased to us by strapping a few airlift balloons to some explosive barrels and then taking to the skies in our glider suit. Because of the special ability we had equipped at that given moment, these red barrels then followed Rico to where he could then release them upon when he saw fit.
What’s cool is that you can hotkey three different grappling hook loadouts that contain different abilities to quickly change up your play style on the fly. Additionally, being able to swap things up so quickly means that you’ll be able to play around with different loadouts to see how they interact with one another. Just Cause has always had experimentation at the root of its identity but this new aspect of the game just furthers that concept even more.
After being shown the many different areas of Solis, the devs then skipped ahead to a later mission in Just Cause 4 that showcased one of the other natural disasters that you’ll come across: a lightning storm. This is second weather disaster that I have seen from Just Cause 4 in addition to the tornado sequence that was shown to me at E3 and I found this lightning storm to be even cooler. While each disaster was destructive in its own way, I liked the random aspect of the lightning and how if you weren’t careful enough you could be the next one to get zapped. These disasters have been front-and-center for much of the marketing of Just Cause 4 so far and rightly so. I’m intrigued to see how other disasters like the sandstorm will play out in the full game.
The variety found within Just Cause 4’s many different biomes I think will help keep the game feeling fresh dozens of hours into the experience, which is something that I personally have struggled with in the past games. Even though I still haven’t been able to play this one for myself, I’ve loved everything that I’ve seen so far and I continue to be overly optimistic that this could be the best installment in the franchise so far.
Just Cause 4 is slated to release at the end of this year on December 4 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. If you’d like, you can pre-order a copy of the game from Amazon ahead of launch.
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