I’m utterly convinced the Just Cause series is self aware now. Just Cause 3 has turned into a crazy, explosion-filled, massive game about breaking the laws of physics with your grappling hook and parachute. It’s better when a company realises this and stops trying to make it into something it’s not (see Saint’s Row 2 onwards). Just Cause 3 was always going to be about having fun and it succeeds very well in that.
Just Cause 3’s strongest points are in its destructibility and traversal. The main objectives in the game are to destroy military bases and liberate towns from the governments rule. It consists of destroying the military assets around the area while being attacked by the government forces, which will continue to get stronger as you progress. What could have easily turned into a classic Ubisoft staple watchtower slog is helped by the amount ofvariety in each area.
The towns are all fairly similar but have enough variation to keep the player feeling like each one is individual. The military bases are even more so, with the added verticality and number of different assets throughout the base. For example, one base I liberated had several satellites around a mountain and in the centre it went down into a cave which was an underground port with battleships inside. Seeing this for the first time was a great surprise and although I was doing essentially the same objective for each base, it helps make it feel less repetitive.
The great thing about Just Cause 3 is the tethering system. You can shoot one point and then connect it to another and hold a button to build tension between the two to do almost anything imaginable. I like to play match maker and get two strangers in the street to kiss.
With their flailing bodies.
At high speeds.
I also enjoy tethering the nose of a helicopter to the ground and watch it flip over and crash rotors down in a fiery inferno. It’s actually possible to liberate an entire area without firing a single bullet or using any explosives. It’s great.
The traversal of the island of Medici is another great part of Just Cause 3. The grappling hook helps you climb buildings and cliffs with ease. When you grapple something, in mid flight you can activate your parachute which was the staple way to travel in the past games. The parachute is fun enough, you can also use your weapons while parachuting too, which helps you stay out of direct fire (unless there are flak cannons), but where Just Cause 3 really shines is its new wingsuit.
At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of the wingsuit, but I learned to love it as I became better at using it. The game isn’t the most realistic when it comes to basic physics, and I’ve never been happier about it. The wingsuit paired with grappling to pull yourself forward and gain speed allows you to essentially fly forever if you wanted. There is a sort of serenity in gliding through the air and looking out at the crystalline blue water before face planting into the side of a cliff and rag-dolling to your death.
And boy, does that water look nice. Just Cause 3 is a very pretty game. It’s set in a fictional Mediterranean island called Medici, where the sun always shines and people drive shitty little Fiats (or the in-game equivalent). The verticality of the game helps you see how wide open and detailed the game world really is. Wingsuiting far above the ground is one of my favourite things to do and I really want to take a holiday to Sicily after playing it. I have only encountered a few small glitches, there was some texture tearing with one of my tethers which was quickly fixed by detaching it and reattaching it. Itwas all superficial and I haven’t encountered anything game-breaking in my 20+ hours so far.
Just Cause 3’s story is it’s lowest point. I have seen Rico Rodriguez evolve from an Antonio Banderas clone to something that now resembles a cross between Nathan Drake and Ezio Auditore. I still don’t give a fuck about him. The plot is filled with two dimensional characters who are at best, caricatures of old pieces of gum on a footpath. None of them could pass the Plinkett test if their life depended on it.
The story is purely there to give you an idea of where you’re supposed to liberate first and in what order. Missions will be locked out until you’ve liberated a certain amount in an area, so its only redeeming feature is as a guide to not take on the harder ones until you’ve progressed. That being said, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the game at all. You can play through the entire game without paying attention to the story and still have a blast with it.
Overall, Just Cause 3 is a fantastic game, it knows what it does well, and it shows it off as much as it can. If you enjoy things exploding or flying around a beautiful landscape or both of those things at the same time, or neither, then you should definitely play Just Cause 3. It’s pure fun.