VIVA LA REVOLUCION! Just Cause games have always been an exercise in excess pyrotechnics. While the first game set out to make the biggest sandbox possible at the time, the sequel veered off straight into Schwarzenegger territory and retooled itself as an action-heavy experience with a nifty grapnel hook feature that resulted in many a memorable encounter.
Because you haven’t lived until you’ve attached a hapless soldier to the tail-end of a jet, circled the stratosphere with the goon in tow, jumped out and then left him to plummet back down to terra firma. And then blown that jet up with an RPG right before it hit the ground. As much fun as Just Cause 2 was however, it was also a flawed game. And it looks like the latest sequel has inherited some of those imperfections.
Reviews are all over the place, with Alessandro not being too impressed with Rico Rodriguez’s latest outing:
Just Cause 3 is genuinely fun most of the time, but it’s the periods where its not that hurt it most. Add to that some mystifying design decisions around progression and upgrades, and you’ve got a game that attempts to go bigger than its predecessors while forgetting some of the elements that made them so good in the first pace.
A fun, albeit flawed game.
Just Cause 3 is a playground where you get to be a physics-defying force of destruction, and its loop of liberating dozens of towns across this enormous scenic world would’ve gotten old much quicker if the combat wasn’t so full of options for free-form mayhem.
Getting the most out of it requires some creativity and tolerance for performance bugs on your part, so come expecting to make at least some of your own fun.
Just Cause 3 is okay. It’s far from great, but it’s not bad either. It’s just a decent waste of time. You can expect to mine at least twenty hours from it, with far more on top if you get really into it. Personally, I feel there are far better ways to waste your time, but there are far worse too.
The wing suit’s cute, at least.
Medici’s three islands have an abundance of places to destroy, and I had a good time liberating the nation overall. Avalanche does a good job of giving players access to new tools just as it seems the novelty is close to wearing off, right until the end.
By the time I finished clearing out the final outpost, however, I was definitely ready to move on. Medici’s a great place to visit, but I’m not prepared to make it a new home – certainly not considering the state I left it in.
The enjoyment players get from Just Cause 3 will come from exactly how they approach the game. Those looking to fly around and blow up just about everything in sight will be elated with one of the most fluid movement systems in any game and the gorgeous explosion visuals that really pack a punch.
As bizarre as it sounds though, blowing everything sky high can start to feel tedious after a while without proper motivation.
There’s a lot to do in Just Cause 3, it’s just that doing it all isn’t really that much fun. In fact it’s probably a better game in retrospect than it is when you’re playing it: freed from the controls and other issues, you’ll remember it fondly.
You’ll also likely want to get back to it: there’s a moreish, Ubisoft-style vibe here that encourages repeated playing. Those of you that wanted Just Cause 2 Part 2 will love what’s on offer, but it all feels lesser than the sum of its parts.
It isn’t often that I genuinely wish a game were better. Most games are what they are, and for better or for worse, that’s fine. After 25 hours withJust Cause 3, I find myself in the unusual position of actively wanting it to be a better game than it is.
That’s partly due to its enthusiastic, generous spirit, and partly due to how well it does what it does well. I wish Just Cause 3 could be the game it aims to be more consistently. I wish it lived up to the joy of its best mechanical ideas more often, and I wish it didn’t feel so patched-together.
I wish I’d spent a larger percentage of my time grinning in delight rather than grimacing in frustration.
Last Updated: December 1, 2015