Publisher: Square Enix
I have been a fan of the Just Cause series from its inception. The innovation of the grapple’s multiple abilities in Just Cause 2 gave the series a whole new identity in open world destruction and traversal. With high expectations for the third game and what could be added to its arsenal, I was left with disappointing loading times and repetitive game play which felt more like an add-on to Just Cause 2.
Rico Rodriguez returns to his home country of Medici to retake it from the game’s protagonist General Di Ravello. Just Cause 3 is an over-the-top open world, destroy everything, fly everywhere adventure with a beautiful huge, tropical landscape. Everything that you enjoyed about Just Cause 2 has been augmented, including the loading times and the frame rate drops.
Just Cause 3 contains over the top violence and bloodshed, explosions and death. Dialogue does feature adult language, including F*$k, D*#m, S&@t and use of the Lord’s name. There are also mentions of alcohol and drug use.
Everything I enjoyed about the Just Cause series is available in Just Cause 3, including the grapple and parachute which are your primary means of traversing the enormous island map. Players can grapple onto any surface in range and propel themselves to the target location. In addition to the grapple and parachute that players fans of the franchise are familiar with, also becomes avaliable which helps to move even faster between locations.
The primary goals of Just Cause 3 are to take over territories from the enemy faction within the fictional country of Medici. Each territory has objectives marked on the map that you must destroy to gain control. There are gasoline tanks, radio towers, billboards, weapons caches, and more that you must find and destroy. Each territory you retake has additional challenges that you unlock such as wing suit time trials, vehicle races, and destruction minigames. As you complete these challenges, you unlock “gears” that you can use to increase your abilities such as perks for your grapple and explosive enhancements. The challenges range from incredibly difficult to relatively easy. There is a star grading system that set your goals per challenge. Unlock the most stars to attain the most gears and so forth. All of the challenges have an attached leaderboard that you can compete with players on your friends list; as you surpass your friends scores, you will be notified that you took the lead and it will notify your friends that you beat their scores. This adds to the community feel of Just Cause 3, if you are the type that feels the need to be the best, there is no lack of challenge.
The controls are mostly intuitive, though there is no zoom for the majority of weapons you can pick up which makes combat a bit frustrating. There are two separate reticles in front of you at all times which can be confusing. One is for your grapple which auto targets items, and the other is for your weapon. This can be problematic as you may feel you are aiming to shoot at an enemy when in reality it is your grapple that is locked on. Because you can’t zoom in, I spent the majority of my time shooting past the enemies in front of me.
While traversing the map, there were multiple times that I tried to grapple and release my parachute that ended in me falling to the ground because the game appears to do what it wants to regardless of what buttons I pressed. After a good amount of time getting used to the grapple and parachute system, it still didn’t work as seamlessly as it should have. For example, you can boost yourself with the left trigger after you have latched onto an item with the “LB.” However, the grapple moves so quickly that by the time you press the boost, you are already at your destination.
Graphically, Just Cause 3 looks like a next gen game should. The world is large and while you are playing in the open world, there is no loading times going from one district to the next. The dialogue between characters is tongue-in-cheek and humorous and had funny moments. Just Cause 3 does not take itself seriously with its story and the characters are interesting and fun. The dialogue alone is reason enough to complete the main missions.
The biggest shortfall in Just Cause 3 is the loading time. From the time the game begins, the loading is unnecessary and ridiculous. If it were only at the onset of the game, it would be forgivable but the game loads before every main mission and between challenges if you want to retry them. The loading is actually so bad that it caused me to loose interest in retrying any challenge and even wanting to continue to play the game through to completion.
Frame rate drop was also a major issue in the game, as action starts to pick up with explosions and enemies all around you, frame rate starts slowing down which only causes more confusion with the aiming in combat. The aiming system is already frustrating enough on it’s own without the slowing of frame rate. For an example of the loading and frame rate, there are several YouTube videos showcasing these issues.
As a fan of the previous Just Cause games, I was incredibly excited to play through Just Cause 3. Unfortunately, the issues that this game brought with it were too much for me to enjoy it like I had enjoyed it in the past. Even with the funny dialogue and storyline it wasn’t enough to make me enjoy it.
The game does have its moments of enjoyment; there is something to be said for the scale of its open world. There is just so much to do that one could spend hundreds of hours in pursuit of completing all of the challenges and objectives within. For a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously it does a serious job in making destruction fun.
The Bottom Line
Just Cause 3 had the potential to be a stunning and fast paced open world game, but the loading and frame rate make it frustrating to sustain a lengthy play session.