Just Cause 3 (PlayStation 4)

  • Gameplay
  • Story
  • Visuals
  • Audio
  • Entertainment
Also available on Xbox One and Windows

Review was written by Stephen Deck; originally published 01/30/2019 on Teacher by Day, Gamer by Night
Just Cause 2 was an amazing slaughterfest, but it suffered from the hardware limitations of the PlayStation 3.  Just Cause 3 took everything great about Just Cause 2, expanded it, and then used the extra horsepower of the PlayStation 4 to fix the performance drops.  I’ve still got my gripes here and there with it, but hot damn, it’s a world of improvement of its predecessor.

Like the previous game, you play as Rico Rodriguez, a “dictator removal specialist” as the game calls him.  Rico makes his return to his home island of Medici – a bizarre mix of Italian and Spanish influence as far as I can tell – which has been under the grip of a tyrannical dictator since a coup usurped power from the legitimate president.  From there, you help the rebellion in their revolutionary war against the despot, murdering and exploding your way across the island from town to town and military base to a military base.

Honestly, the missions don’t take up that much time; you could blow through the main story missions in 12 hours, probably.  What kept me occupied for a week was the obsessive compulsion to liberate every town and conquer every military base, and that will keep you busy for 50+ hours, I reckon.  It’s so satisfying, though, to steal a bomber and just carpet bomb an enemy base, laughing in malicious glee as the destruction notifications pop up all over the screen.

Truthfully, I only have three big complaints with the game, and they’re all fairly minor, all things considered.  First, the steering sucks on two-wheeled vehicles.  Cars, tanks, jeeps, etc?  They’re totally fine.  Motorcycles?  It’s like riding a wild bull that’s been violated with a cactus.  Second, the controls when piloting an airplane are REALLY finicky and tough to work proficiently.  Helicopters are fine, and I eventually got a passable ability to pilot planes, but it never felt comfortable.  I understand that controls in a 3D space can be difficult to make both adequately responsive and simple to pick up, but it felt like more of an obstacle than it needed to be.  My third and final gripe with the game is just how relatively few of the buildings were destructible.  In a game that uses “blow shit up” as its major selling point, I can’t help but feel like I should be able to level entire cities if I wanted to and had enough explosives.  Instead, only certain guard towers and metal structures can be destroyed.  Everything else is bizarrely indestructible no matter what obscene amount of ordinance you throw at it.

Just Cause 3 is, in a lot of ways, like Grand Theft Auto…except with more explosions, fewer hookers, more government toppling and nation-building, and less gang warfare.  If you enjoy murdering brutal autocrats and leaving a wake of corpses and wreckage behind you, this is absolutely the game for you.  If you enjoy stories about political machinations, then this may well be the game for you.  If you enjoy games about friendship, building up peaceful towns, and improving a settlement, this is definitely not the game for you.

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