Review: Just Cause 3 – Glide, Explode, Repeat
Have you every wanted to make a statue slap itself in the face?
Here’s another one, have you ever wanted to tether an abusive soldier from an oppressive military regime to a goat then tether them both to the back of the exotic sports car that is speeding off a cliff then set off some remote explosives resulting in a fireworks display of freedom?
That’s pretty much Just Cause 3 in a nutshell.
As Rico Rodriguez you need to free the people of Medici from the malevolent dictator General Di Ravello. Di Ravello has been mining Bavarium, a rare earth metal exclusive to Medici, and turning it into weapons of mass destruction.
When it’s not being blown up, Medici is a gorgeous island nation with vast mountain ranges, sprawling military complexes and quaint settlements.
It’s a good thing that deposing dictators happen to be something Rico excels at. You’ll have to free the country one province at a time by liberating various towns and bases from the General’s evil clutches.
Liberating a province requires swooping in and taking down all remnants of Di Ravello’s tyrannical rule. This involves taking out propaganda bill boards, police force, and various other red colored objects that will eventually undo the dictator’s influence and putting it under rebel control. This is the main crux of activities you’ll do in order to unlock story missions.
Just Cause 3 is, at its best, the potential of producing scenes of ridiculous chaos that’s only limited by your imagination. Rico himself is a latin bullet-sponge who defies all the laws of physics so experimentation is not only recommended but encouraged.
The new wingsuit is evidence of that and happens to be your main form of transportation. At any given moment you can use your grappling hook to propel you forward and transition seamlessly into your retractable parachute into a wingsuit dive. The first few hours of parachute/wingsuit combo are truly exhilarating to experience.
The game suffers from an already played out open-world formula of completing a checklist of activities in order to progress. Thankfully, the psychotically enjoyable action helps overlook the repetitive nature.
Nothing helps break up the monotony like calling in an airstrike to take out a satellite dish when a simple hand grenade would have been enough.
Combat itself can feel overwhelming considering that Rico is always outnumbered 50-1. So be ready to get caught in a storm of explosions and sniper fire. However, despite the odds Rico still has the uncanny ability of traversing the battlefield and hijacking helicopters with the greatest of ease.
The biggest surprise was how much I actually enjoyed Just Cause 3’s campaign. It’s the usual B-action movie camp we’ve become accustomed to in the series but the supporting cast is who really shines.
Rico will ride missiles, take down a base in an experimental tank with shields and engage in large-scale battles that span the entire island. The story missions are exciting, hilarious and stupidly fun. It’s just too bad that the good stuff is stuck behind very tedious side missions and busy work.
The online leaderboards is a nice touch to see how your destructive behavior stacks up against your friends, such as who got the most kills in a single explosion or who can glide in their wingsuit the longest.
Normally these online features in a single player game never really do it for me but in this case it motivates you to be a bit creative in how you play.
It’s strange that Just Cause 3 feels like it’s constantly trying to gate its own fun with bizarre design choices particular in how the upgrades work.
In order to upgrade Rico and his equipment you’ll need to earn Gears. Gears can be earned by completing completing challenges and you unlock challenges by liberating distressed settlements.
The load times for are dreadfully inconsistent. When attempting to retry challenges the load times have ranged from about 15-45 seconds to sometimes three to four minutes with no real explanation.
I even had a handful of instances where the load times went so long that I would close the application and reboot the game. Considering the importance of completing challenges in order to unlock mods that upgrade your gear, these waits are inexcusable.
When it came to challenges, I would just try my very best on the first try so I didn’t have to deal with the lengthy load times. This slowed down my gear progression considerably since I would get around two to thress gears out of the maximum five you could unlock in any challenge. The game’s more intense mods, like being able to shoot out six tethers at once or better wingsuit control, are locked behind these already stodgy challenges.
You’re looking at around 20-30 hours to complete the game, although your mileage may vary depending on whether or not you’re a completionist. There’s a lot of do if you’re ok with repetitive nature of all the side activities.
Just Cause 3 is fun game to take photos, stream or make videos of you doing something amazing since its “no-rules approach” to combat can create some uniquely stellar action scenes.