After I spent some time watching trailers and reading about it, Just Cause 3 felt like the perfect game for me. When I play GTA, most of my in-game time comes from messing around with the surroundings and blowing things up. So Just Cause 3 seemed like a game built specifically around that. Avalanche Studios has created something that is a lot of fun, but it’s also let down by some basic issues with performance and overall structure.
You play as Rico Rodriguez and this takes place six years after Just Cause 2. Medici, a glorious Mediterranean island country, is where you will spend your time trying to free people from Sebastiano Di Ravello. The plot is serviceable but not annoying like some games that don’t focus on single-player stories. Just Cause 3 plays out like an old low-budget movie with cheesy dialogue, hammy voice acting and campy humour.
As an open-world sandbox, Just Cause 3 is a lot of fun and really well designed. There’s tons to do and blow up, but the mission and game structure is where the fun starts to fade. I absolutely hate how story missions are locked behind liberating provinces and how reliant the game is on challenges to unlock things. If there was a way for me to just have everything unlocked from the start and have fun, I would do that. For a game that is supposed to be about fun and not taking itself seriously, Just Cause 3’s structure holds it back from true greatness.
Controls are great in some areas and poor in others. Using the grappling hook and then releasing your parachute to gain height and then wing suit into the horizon is one of my favourite things to do. Traversing through the large map is also fun through vehicles or the aforementioned setup of hook, parachute, and wing suit. The controls in vehicles are really hit or miss. Driving is good but banging into an obstacle has you ricochet off like your car body is made of springs.
Where Just Cause 3 really shines is in the freedom you get for the most part in the open world. Visuals really make the game stand out from some of the other open-world games this year that look like monotonous post-apocalyptic wastelands. I dare you to not grappling hook to the highest mountain you can find and just jump off to wing suit into the air and say this isn’t some of the most fun you have had in gaming this year. Since the game is about blowing things up as well, every explosive or fuel tank is carefully coloured to stand out.
For a game that is all about blowing things up, the music in Just Cause 3 is rather calming and is a nice contrast to what you do in the game. The soundtrack is really good overall and it feels like more effort went into that than voice acting.
I’ve played the game with patch 1.02 that drastically improved load times, but the biggest flaw with the game has still not been fixed. The Square Enix login is one of the most annoying design decisions I have ever encountered in a game. On first launch, it takes a good minute or two to login before beginning the actual game loading. If you are offline and select offline mode when prompted, you are forced to wait through stupid sign in attempts each time you open the menu or map regardless. I can’t believe that this has not been addressed after two patches. When the system works, having real-time leaderboards tracking your every move in game is nice. It makes you want to do more when you see your name rise up the leaderboards against friends.
Overall, I had a lot of fun playing Just Cause 3. It definitely deserved more development and polish time because it could have been amazing. I hope future patches address some of the glaring issues because which other game lets you experience being a badass version of Spiderman directed by Michael Bay?