I guess I can say I have a bit of a story with this series. I played the first one back on the last days of ps2 and it certainly wasn’t a good port. The second one, now on ps3, wasn’t a technical marvel but I had tons of silly fun with it. As for the third one on ps4… you’ll have to read this review to find out.
Just Cause 3 or as I like to call it, blow goverment property simulator 3, is the latest installment on this series of third-person open-world action games. In this game you’ll be in the boots of Rico Rodriguez as he takes over yet another military dictatorship guns blazing.
As you can tell, the main difference between this and the previous game is the setting then. Instead of the asian islandic influenced, Panau, you’ll be in Rico’s homeland Medici. That fictional mediterranean country is like a mix between italy and spain in everything, even the faux language the characters sometimes spew during their conversations.
It’s the world they’ve built for this game what impressed me the most about this game. The place is huge and quite beautiful to look at.
The action in Just Cause 3 is chaotic (in a good way). There’s plenty of guns and war machines and they feel quite satisfying to use. Even though the enemy AI won’t win any awards, the challenge they offer comes by their numbers instead of by their wits. Your plentyful arsenal and your special abilities assure that you will have an advantage in all battles though, even when baddies come at you by the dozens in jeeps with turrets, tanks or helicopters.
Talking about abilities, Rico has many and they’ll get upgraded by playing various challenges that go from racing with different kinds of vehicles, gliding through hoops (surprisingly great) or shooting galeries among others. The fun factor on those activities is variable but they provide a much welcomed variety from the usual, go there blow that from the story missions.
On a technical standpoint the game looks great and sounds even better but the explosion-packed gameplay takes a huge toll on the game’s framerate. Making the game slow down severely when you’re taking down those huge military bases with a military chopper and the like.
Things I liked
- The map: Making a huge map isn’t that hard, making a huge map that doesn’t feel empty or a copy-paste frenzy is different though. The world doesn’t feel as realistic or as lively as a Grand Theft Auto game but they certainly can’t match the scope of Just Cause 3 either. It looks great, it feels hand-crafted and it’s simply massive.
- Gliding: Funny enough, one of the little things I enjoyed the most about the predecessor was the traversing method they invented based on the grappling hook and an infinite stock of parachutes. Well, I’ll tell you something, gliding in this game has made that boring by comparison. It’s intuitive, fast and just tricky enough to make you feel like a badass when you fully master it. I found myself using the wingsuit all the time to traverse the world.
- Bombastic: I don’t know if I said this yet but this game has explosions. They look amazing, the sound just as well and the fancy physics makes them as satisfying as they can be. Blow up everything!
Things I didn’t
- Signs of a bad port: Plenty of long loadtimes, framerate slowing to a crawl during the action and even I had the game crashing a couple times during my playthrough. Maybe the developers will patch some of that in the future but so far they haven’t and it’s easily the worst thing in the game.
- The writing: The story is as cliché as it can get. It’s packed with tropes we’ve seen on other games or even the previous games on the series. Special mentioning deserve the cutscenes, they’re straight up lazy and awful. They’re full of jokes that simply fall flat and makes them awkward and (unintentionally?) cheesy.
- Land vehicles: Helicopters handle great, planes and boats are also good but the developers have definitely dropped the ball on land vehicles. Tanks are slow enough for you not to notice but regular cars handle in a very unnatural way. The worst offenders are clearly the bikes, which handle just as the cars and thus making the handling feel even more counterintuitive and awful. Luckily the game offers enough variety for traversal options so you don’t have to use them for more than 10 minutes if you don’t want to.
Who’d like this?
As you probably noticed from the previous sections, I had a blast playing this game but it’s very far from perfect. If you only want a silly game filled with explosions and destruction you’ll be able to enjoy the game but even then, I’d rather recommend picking up the PC version if you own a rig powerful enough to run it better than this ps4 port does.