Just Cause 3 Reviews

  • iAlecPiAlecP185,910
    09 Dec 2015 12 Dec 2015
    12 2 10
    Just Cause 3 review (Xbox One)– destroying stuff has never felt so satisfying

    In the newest instalment of the Just Cause (JC) saga, Rico Rodriguez returns with more explosions and death defying stunts than ever. Just Cause 3 is exciting, fast paced, improves on the gameplay mechanics from JC2 and gives the player increased mobility across the enormous map. But what else has changed despite the new (and awesome) wingsuit? In truth not a whole lot and some players will find much of the gameplay repetitive when they are not getting frustrated over the game’s various bugs and annoyances such as; excruciatingly long loading screens, unacceptable frame rate drops and the odd crash to dashboard. The story is fairly basic, something which has sadly become a staple of JC games. Missions usually revolve around scenarios like defend this or capture this vehicle and bring it back or rescue this person etc. Most NPCs and allies, save a couple, go without any character development whatsoever resulting in almost no connection with them as you progress through each mission. The game certainly looks fantastic when flying about hundreds of metres in the air although the micro details, such as face details on civilians, leave a lot to be desired. Overall however, the beautiful land of Medici is a compelling and interesting world in which a brutal dictator, General Di Ravello, has total control and you will find it very satisfying freeing the various towns, outposts and military bases spread across the country’s three regions. The combat it satisfying and should leave you entertained for hours, if you can stomach the bugs and framerate issues.

    The story

    As a quick synopsis, you are Rico Rodriguez a “dictator removal specialist” who has returned to his home country of Medici to help fight the good fight against the despot General Di Ravello. Alongside him is his childhood friend Mario, a comic character you reunite with in the first mission who has longed to get off the back foot and take the fight to the enemy. Rico must rally the rebels and take advantage of new technology, provided by the eccentric scientific expert Dimah, to retake the islands from the autocratic government forces. Along the way you learn more about Rico’s past and origin story all whilst discovering the potential dangers of the islands most important natural resource, Bavarium. Long standing agency member Sheldon also returns to provide Rico with information and assistance whilst also being an associate of Di Ravello! The story is a pretty standard scenario for the Just Cause franchise and as a result there are many similarities with the previous game.

    Graphics

    I am definitely not one of those people who solely judge a game on its graphics, however I nonetheless understand that they are important in this day and age, particularly for AAA titles. Just Cause 3’s graphics are good, very good even. The macro details of the map are fantastic and the beauty of Medici is immediately apparent from the start of the game. When you’re flying a helicopter at sunset and the light becomes an orange hue reflecting off the ocean’s surface it is quite a sight to behold. Not only that but the explosions, of which there are bloody loads, look sublime and I particularly enjoyed blowing up the enormous sphere tanks which produce the largest fireballs out of any chaos object. Where the game falls short, with regards to graphics, is in the micro details. Although major NPCs such as Rico, Mario, Dimah and Di Ravello look very well sculpted, minor NPCs like random civilians and soldiers look awful with very basic, almost polygon textures to their faces. Okay these are small gripes but in the age of more powerful consoles it almost seems lazy to just not bother creating detailed faces for normal people in the world. In all, Just Cause 3 has an impressive look but I can’t overlook the fact that the beauty of the explosions was rather ruined by the stuttering frame rate it often caused, especially when there was a lot happening on screen. At times this made the game unplayable and the same problem occurred in JC2 as well. This issue MUST be addressed in upcoming patches and the same goes for the extremely long loading times which occurred, presumably because of the extensive graphical rendering for the huge map. Get it sorted Square Enix!

    Gameplay

    JC3’s gameplay is excellent, pure and simple. In my experience I found the combat to be basic, but satisfying, point and shoot stuff and I found myself using military vehicles extensively to get an edge over the enemy. It was extremely rewarding to blow an entire convoy of military trucks into oblivion with a badass attack helicopter. The tether system, which allows you to connect objects together and then reel them in gave you an interesting alternative method to combat and destruction, enabling you to take down enemies and chaos objects without the need for firearms or explosives. Mobility has been even more refined and improved since JC2 and with the addition of the wingsuit you are able to slingshot your way around the map very quickly, often much faster than if you had used a vehicle.

    The main story missions are pretty standard stuff for JC games and are frankly very similar to both its predecessors in that you help the rebels, rescue VIPs, destroy government assets and steal technology – not boring but not very interesting either. Liberating towns and military bases from Di Ravello’s men is fun to begin with but quickly becomes very repetitive and a bit boring. Although military bases usually always differ in design, size and have varying combinations of chaos objects to destroy it still boils down to the same old process of destroying every red thing in sight. It is fortunate therefore that destroying tonnes of items is extremely damn satisfying.

    There are also a plethora of collectibles, vehicles and weapons to collect and/or unlock by completing missions, liberating bases or simply finding them on the roads of Medici. Collecting these never felt like a hardship as the game shows you where each collectible can be found once you have completely liberated a region. There are also a large number of challenges to complete which vary from your standard air, land and sea races to destruction frenzies and Bavarium collecting time challenges. By far the most fun to complete however, were the wingsuit courses in which you have to navigate breath-taking vistas at breakneck speeds earning points as you pass through each ‘gate’. Although repetitive it didn’t matter since each course was drastically different to the previous and I thoroughly enjoyed plummeting down the huge mountain regions of Medici with my face only 5 metres from certain death!

    Random encounters that occurred across the world were perhaps the most pointless addition to the gameplay. There are about 5 different types of encounter and they provide you with basically no reward. The only reason I did any of them was to gain an achievement and the same can be said of the in-game challenges known as feats. These allow you to compete against other players in activities such as; longest time driving at over 180km/h and the most time spent at Heat Level 5. Completing all of the feats nets you an achievement, appropriately named Feat Fetish, but asides from that the only reward you gain is the pride of beating other players. If you’re into that then great, if not you’ll most likely end up ignoring them once you have the achievement.

    Speaking as an achievement hunter, the list in this game is relatively straight forward to complete but will require between 50-60 hours of your time as there are two pesky achievements; 1) get 5 gears on every challenge and 2) 100% the game.

    Characters

    Sadly most of the characters in the game receive little to no development whatsoever and the most interesting character by far, Di Ravello, gets very little screen time. You can learn about his rise to power by collecting all of his audio diaries and I actually found it extremely fascinating to learn about his origins as a private in the army and how he worked and schemed his way up to being dictator of Medici. It made hunting the audio diaries far more enjoyable for sure. The same cannot be said for any of the other characters of which there are few anyway. You learn a very small part of Rico’s background which is linked with Sheldon’s but as for Mario, Dimah, Anika, Teo and Rosa Manuela you can expect small snippets of character development at best. This all results in a pretty underwhelming cast who you will not really have any connection to, with the possible exception of Mario and Sheldon. At least the voice acting has been improved since the previous games and even features well known Dr. Who actor David Tennant as an imprisoned government news reader! Quite hilarious!


    The final verdict

    3.5/5

    Just Cause 3 is an exciting and well-paced adventure in a beautiful country beset by rebellion. When the bugs and framerate aren’t hampering your experience the game looks gorgeous and plays excellently. Combat is satisfying and movement across the map is faster than ever before. Where the game falls short is in its disappointing and annoying bugs and frustrating framerate drops, poor graphical micro details, repetitive gameplay and uninteresting characters who you never feel any real connection to.

    That being said, the game offers more explosions than you can possibly need and an enormous, immersive map that should keep you busy for many days, just don’t expect a deep and rigorously thought out story as this game does not offer that. It simply serves its purpose in allowing you to blow even more stuff up! Have fun!

    PROS
    - Beautiful setting and landscape
    - Refined gameplay and excellent mobility
    - Explosions have never looked so good
    - Di Ravello’s backstory makes for an awesome villain

    CONS
    - Severe frame rate issues, bugs and crashes
    - Missions quickly become repetitive
    - Micro graphics are poor
    - Generally weak story and characters
    3.5
  • Mr VelezbianMr Velezbian318,372
    14 Jan 2016
    6 2 0
    NOT SO BLOWN AWAY

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    With a new dictatorship in place comes a new story for Just Cause 3. The series is known for it’s over the top action, putting emphasis on stunts and creativity. All of that is brought back in the latest entry, with the addition of some new features, faces, and setting. Aside from that handful, the formula and feel of the title is all too familiar of it’s predecessor and often comes off as feeling dated. There is a lot of fun to be had, but shortly after pushing through half of the games story, many will start to get bored with the repetitive objectives and moments.

    The story follows Rico Rodriguez, secret agent and dictator topple-r, on a trip to his home of Medici ( a fictional country that seems to be equal part Italy and Spain). This is no vacation though, as dictator Di Ravello has taken control of the area. His reign has spread through every city, and he rules with an iron fist. It is up to Rico, a few close allies, and a whole bunch of rebels to bring back Medici to its former glory. The story does not dive deeper beyond that face value, unfortunately. Rico shares some tender moments with friends along the way, and the game does deliver a few laughs throughout, but more often than not it leaves the player lost and wanting more. Most of the narrative is inconsistent and poorly strung together, seemingly leaving gaps between characters conversations. The load times between short scenes are also a deterrent. Many of the scenes feel like they could immediately transfer to gameplay, yet blackout to a load screen often when dialogue is taken to a new area (picture Rico and an ally heading for a doorway, followed by a load screen, then a new cut scene with them outside the last room.) Though the games been there, done that story may not allow for a lot of narrative lusters, it is incoherent nonetheless.



    While visually pleasing from a distance, up close things look more reminiscent of last gen textures and models. NPC's and enemies alike are horribly bland and generic, and not smart at all. Using any weapon but grenades or a specialty weapon feels like a chore, and after firing a clip of a light machine gun you will understand why. There is no sense of uniqueness to really any of the artillery provided within the constraints of side arms and main weapons. Explosions are the way to go when it comes to combat, but that too gets repetitive. There are only so many outposts to liberate before the start to all seem the same. I will give praise, however, to the games rebel drop feature. Rico can build an order of supplies including a main weapon, a side arm, a special weapon, and any vehicle you have unlocked to have quickly delivered to you by the rebel group. Not only does this help when short on ammo in a fire fight, but if you place your beacon correctly you can get creative, like say dropping a city bus on an enemy chaos object to bring it down.

    Throughout the map, there are both cities and military outposts to liberate for the rebellion. The cities require that Rico destroys various forms of propaganda as well as take back the local jail. The military posts objective is simply to destroy every asset in order to take it back. There are a lot of these to cover, with 3-7 usually being in one of Medici's provinces. Shortly after going through a handful of these, they become massively repetitive. You can only get so much joy out of tearing down a dictator’s statue when you just destroyed three others in the same session. Some of the best moments in the game come from taking down the big central command posts that can be found in several provinces. These are huge military posts that are packed with enemies and objectives alike, and feel more unique than many other locations in the game.

    Medici itself is sprawling, but feels crushingly empty for its size. There is the seldom seen wildlife that populate only a few outskirts of areas, collectibles that do not offer much by way of rewarding, and towns that offer no real diversity. The map itself is diverse, ranging anywhere from beach-side towns and docks to slightly snowy peaks. The townspeople are an improvement in the series, offering Rico some different dialogue here and there and even gathering together to watch other locals play music, but they still come off as robotic and disposable. There is a great assortment of vehicles in the game for land, air, and sea, but many while often find that getting from point a to b in a map so big is best done by air or fast travel when granted.

    The map also features different challenges to take part in, which by completing unlock different mods to boost Rico’s upper hand in fights. These mostly run of the mill challenges feature races, time trials, and target practice to name a few. The mods are with playing for and can amp up your tethers and explosive abilities to new heights. After beating the game, sandbox mode unlocks, which allows players to go back and replay military bases, which is a great opportunity to try out new mods and get creative. Fair warning though, I had many dips in the framerate when too much was happening on screen, even to the point where my game completely crashed.

    Just Cause 3 gives you everything you would expect from the series, but really nothing more. The most impressive change to the formula is the addition of a wingsuit, which has been made popular in several other games prior in recent years. Other than that nifty way to traverse the 400 sq. miles of map, it is all too familiar of its predecessor. It is not so bad when you go in expecting to receive a familiar formula, but it’s tough to swallow that an opportunity was wasted that could have seen fresh life breathed into the series on new consoles. There is still fun to be had without a doubt, and I thoroughly enjoyed causing massive destruction where I could. But what players get in the end is a mostly okay game that is really fun at moments, but shallow to the core everywhere else.

    6/10
    +Fun formula that entices creativity
    +Lots of vehicles
    +Huge World
    -Uninteresting story, boring characters
    -Generic sequences
    -Sloppy Gunplay
    -Dumb and boring enemy A.I
    -Long Load Times
    3.0
  • JaynaWyntrJaynaWyntr218,298
    17 Dec 2018
    0 1 0
    Welcome to Medici, the birthplace of Rico Rodriguez. Be prepared for death, destruction, mayhem and yes EXPLOSIONS!!!!!

    Allow me to admit that this was my first interaction with the franchise and I was not disappointed in the least. From the beautiful artwork of the game to the menagerie of weapons and vehicles this game is truly a playground to be loved.

    The story begins with no preamble and you have little to no understanding of why you're there but oh well. You stand atop a place with an RPG so fun times are a guarantee. The story quickly takes a side seat which does seem to be endemic of the production study Avalanche but again this is ok. The military bases that lie in wait and even the liberation of towns draws you to what Rico is about....big booms.

    The game has a truly wonderful mechanic where you can reset liberated military bases and party it up yet again. This means you can go back with new toys whenever you want and find new ways to bring the pain.

    The game has an excellent fast travel system that removes the need for frequent tedious travel. On top of that you have helicopters, jets, sports cars and speed boats at your fingertips so why not enjoy a drive along the countryside.

    Out of ammo? No problem at all. Call in a rebel drop loaded up with toys of your choosing and keep the chaos flowing.

    The game also has a killer wingsuit mechanic (truly killer if you have the skyfortress DLC) and a far more usable than Just Cause 2.

    If all this bores you hop into a gear challenge and race along the countryside, wingsuit through the air, bring the pain to a base, and more. As challenging as they are rewarding these challenges allow you to upgrade your equipment and make Rico unstoppable.
    5.0
  • MimicLobsterMimicLobster71,914
    16 Dec 2015
    6 10 0
    For me the success of a title like JC3 is a little like how a film is able to make me feel. That is, entertain me and keep me drawn in. You find yourself so immersed in this world that you want to keep playing and playing until reality sets in and you have to go back and do real life stuff. Blah.

    JC3 like JC2 before it had exactly that effect on me. I won't rate this game based on its technical merits, lack of an award winning storyline, character depth but rather on how easily you can slip into it each day and feel compelled to explore and destroy. The citizens striking your ego helps too. :-)

    From the opening title reminiscent of a Corona commercial depicting Rico enjoying his well deserved accomplishments to the vast expanse of the 400 square mile world best traversed using a combo of wing suit/parachute and grapple, your imagination and ingenuity are your best tools to conquer this world.

    I'm afraid to calculate how many $$$ I spent on technically superb titles (based in part on glaring reviews) that end up being so tough to master or lack luster that you feel cheated. JC3 for me is not one of them. One "feature" which I noticed that sets it apart from ALL other titles currently installed on my XBONE is the fact that I'm able to switch from watching TV to the game without having to launch another game before going back to the game I actually want to play. All other titles refuse to load if they were the last title accessed. If someone knows of a fix for this, please drop me a line.

    For fans of open-world games, don't hesitate and grab this title and get ready to burn daylight.
    3.5