NOT SO BLOWN AWAY
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.
+Fun formula that entices creativity
+Lots of vehicles
-Uninteresting story, boring characters
-Dumb and boring enemy A.I
-Long Load Times