This review is an unedited version of the review written by Zombie Dredd and published in the Tech Magazine: Issue 32 April 2016.
When faced with a visit to a Mediterranean island, most people would pack their bather and sunblock in preparation for a relaxing holiday. In Just Cause 3, protagonist Rico Rodriguez comes fully loaded to overthrow a dictator in the shape of General Sebastiano Di Ravello.
Just Cause 3 is set on Rico’s homeland Medici which finds itself in the grips of a civil war, and in Rico they have a specialist in overthrowing despots. While the game is officially described as an open-world third-person action-adventure, it can better be described as an open-world third-person destroy-everything-so-that-good-prevails-over-evil game.
Medici is a cluster of islands covering around 1,000km and you traverse this massive footprint with a variety of land, sea and air vehicles, as well as a grappling hook, parachute, paraglider and wingsuit. Rico is versatile and capable of easily combining the various modes of transport seamlessly, making things all very over the top and like every action movie you’ve ever sat and watched and wished you could be a part of. Add the weapons, explosions, vehicle hijacking and general destruction and this is a game that isn’t subtle and doesn’t pull any punches. With Rico, anything that he is tasked to do while freeing his homeland is done so without restraint.
This is both the game’s salvation and failing. If you’re hoping the story will offer a number of varied missions that require stealth rather than an all-guns-blazing approach, you are considering playing the wrong game. Every mission essentially has one objective – destroy everything and take back the settlements and regions under the control of the General’s forces. You can of course choose to destroy things in any way you like – with guns, explosives, tanks and even your grappling hook being devastating in the art of destruction.
This generally makes the game feel pretty one-dimensional and even if you want to push the story along, you are still forced to free settlements to progress and open story missions. This can all be a little frustrating due to the repetitive nature of liberating the settlements. In return, you do unlock weapons and vehicles along with challenges, but for a game claiming to be open-world, this feels a little limiting. On top of all that, a staple of open-world games – the side mission – is almost completely missing in Just Cause 3.
Medici is a beautiful setting (barring the armed forces in streets) with oceans, beaches, rustic villages and snow-capped mountains all within reach of Rico, however, it does suffer from framerate issues (at least on the Xbox One) when the action on screen reaches fever pitch. It also has some pretty long load times which jar you from the immersion of the world.
The real question then is whether this is a world you should visit, and the answer to that is if you’re looking for an explosive action game that doesn’t take itself seriously, then Just Cause 3 is actually a breath of fresh air amongst some pretty serious games from 2015.
Available for: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC
Distributed by: Megarom and available at all retailers of games