As much as I love realisim, a great narrative, next-level game design and genre-bending mechanics. Sometimes I like to just play a game that knows it’s a game, and just enjoy some mindless carnage.
I mean who doesn’t love ragdoll physics on NPC’s and the ability to just blow stuff up on a whim? It’s cathartic, it’s fun, and it takes me back to being a younger gamer, that would spend hours achieving nothing, but just having fun (more on achievements changing the dynamic of gaming, another time).
If you’re unfamiliar with the Just Cause franchise, it’s probably best described as a series that combines b-movie dialogue and story, with the stereotypical action hero “Rico Rodriguez” as the star of this action-filled joyride.
Rico is a Mexican-born, CIA-Trained elite agent, recruited by “The Agency” to support guerrilla groups and overthrow regimes, dictators and the like.
It’s not exactly a series that has set the bar in terms of story and cutscenes……. But that’s exactly why I love them.
It’s a series much better known for the free-roaming, action-packed gameplay. Using a grappling hook to attach yourself to cars, helicopters, areoplanes and anything else. Launching yourself into the air and using your never-ending parachute to glide back down. Great physics and accessibility which lead to unadulterated carnage are what made this series popular.
I’ve played and finished the first two games in the series, and I started the 3rd iteration a while ago, now I’m back, to finish the job.
Just Cause 3
So, yeah…..there’s a third one, out on the next-gen (current-gen now?) consoles and it’s a blast!
Set in Rico’s fictional home nation of “Medici”, he’s left the agency, and now he wants to clean up the regime of General Di Ravello.
It’s essentially more of the same, albeit much prettier, with a much bigger map, and the most significant adjustment is that of a wing-suit. I didn’t even know this series needed a wing-suit until I had it. It was such a logical progression, and it works really well. Absolute game changer.
Full disclosure: If a game lets me take a helicopter or an aeroplane and then it lets me jump out from really high up, I’m sold. I love free-falling, I love landing at an objective without anyone noticing, and I would rather do this than drive up or take a tank in to wreak havoc.
- So far, I’ve cleared the first Island, thinking I was making solid progress and perhaps drawing close to the end of the main story……Wrong! The map is HUGE. With the opportunity to get from point A to point B however I see fit (mostly jumping out of a plane and wing-suiting), I get to just go about my business however I want;
- Graphically it looks really nice;
- The new-improved grappling hook is great. Using it to tie two or three objects together and watching the ensuing carnage is a joy each and every time;
- Everything blows up! Honestly, the fire looks great, the barrels and cars go up a treat, and everything just flies about;
- Weapon selection – There are so many choices of weapon, it’s impressive. I particularly enjoy marking an objective for an airstrike, whilst I just sit and watch;
- Vehicle selection and handling – Games like this tend to suffer with bad handling, particularly cars. These are pretty good though! Not that I ever drive anywhere……at least it’s a decent option though.
The not so good
- It’s HUGE but mostly empty – Whilst the sense of scale, and the amount of space to travel is it’s strength. It’s unfortunately not too well filled with things to do. Sure, you can take out towns and bases, but you have to do that to progress anyway. Aside from the audio collectibles and the challenges, there’s not much to see or do;
- The framerate drops. This game is massive, and there is potentially a lot going on, on-screen quite a lot of the time. But other games handle it much better. You really feel the slow down when the action gets full-on. Wading through treacle at the points where you’re trying to get a quick getaway…….not ideal. It’s not game breaking, but it’s very noticeable;
- Variety – There are a lot of regions to re-claim, so there ought to be a lot to do, but it’s mostly the same. Remove the propaganda stuff from a town, destroy an enemy base…….repeat until mission is available.
Reading the “not so good” list, you’d perhaps think that I’m not enjoying this at all, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s so much fun, and even doing the same things over and over, isn’t so bad, considering the multitude of ways in which you can approach everything. Take a tank and blow everything up? Ok! Take a helicopter or bomber plane, to just keep making passes over the enemy? Ok! Want to hijack an enemy helicopter? Ok!
Honestly, the possibilities are endless. I’m about 30% towards completion (not sure what that means in context of the story missions), and I’m hungry for more.
No RNG, no loot boxes, no rare, legendary or exotic weapon drops. Just straight-up joy. Sometimes, that’s all I need. The more traditional solo experience.
Next up, I need to finish the story, clear other regions and see if it starts to become a grind after a while.
Better still, I just got the DLC season pass for a bargain, and there’s promise of jet-propelled wingsuits, mechs and a lightning gun of some kind! More carnage and more ways to traverse the huge map?! Sold!!
Let’s see how it goes.