Developer: Avalanche Studios
Publisher: Square Enix
Review Context: I have completed Just Cause 3 with roughly 25 hours played time. I have also played Just Cause 2 most of the way through.
Date of Playthrough: 12/26/15
Rico Rodriguez returns for the third installment in the Just Cause franchise. It’s set on the archipelago nation of Medici, ran by the notorious dictator General Di Ravello. Like previous titles, Just Cause 3 focuses on the 400-square mile open world, while players are free to do as they like and unlock more as they progress through the game’s story. With the tropical setting of this size the game is sure have many views that are just pure candy for the eyes, and make you truly feel like you are out of the winter’s cold air and in a tropical paradise.
As the open world is the clear focus of Just Cause 3, it comes with it the biggest pros and cons of the game. Like previously stated, the game and island is absolutely beautiful. With new additions of traveling such as the wingsuit added to the old grappling hook and parachute, the traveling in the game is fun and getting across such long distances without a vehicle is just as fun than with. The problem is, outside of mini-games there isn’t much to do. You liberate towns and military bases, which becomes a chore as you do the same things in each location. Liberating locations unlocks mini-games. Unlocking and beating these will give you modifications to Rico, making him fly, drive, shoot, and grapple even better than before. Though repetitive, these mini-games are a fun challenge that gives a fair reward system, which gives good incentive to go back and try to do the best you possibly can in each different challenge.
The music is another great cog in the machine that makes this game so good. It’s not overwhelming or out of place. It’s what you would expect to hear around a tropical island and when the action picks up, so does the music, but it never overpowers the game or becomes annoying when you need to replay some events when you die constantly. Even in the more frustrating parts of the game the music never made the situation worse but helped mellow the situation out.
The gameplay has its ups and downs. Having access to grappling hooks, parachutes, wingsuits and plenty of guns, you have various ways of playing that all revolve around pretty generic third-person shooter mechanics. The ups are that you can have fun and mess with the game using the grappling hook. The downs are that a lot, and I mean a lot of the gameplay is very repetitive. Story missions are anything from defending people, locations, or vehicles from a very long and seemingly endless wave of enemies, which are very predictable. There are a few more missions that involve a lot of swimming and destroying a certain target, but again, they don’t drastically change, to the point where frequent breaks are needed to make sure the game doesn’t become stale. There are several weapons and vehicles you can unlock by liberating certain places and stealing them and storing them in garages. While a lot of choices are nice, they kind of become unnecessary if you find out where some of the best vehicles are located and you can just steal one and be on your way.
The story of the game isn’t anything to boast about either. The story revolves around liberating the fiction nation from a notorious dictator, again. The characters aren’t memorable, aside from Rico and his best friend Mario, who acts as the comic relief of the story and is always getting into situations that Rico needs to bail him out of. The most interesting part of the story comes from the Di Ravello tapes that are hidden around the massive open world. These are from Di Ravello’s point of view as sort of an audio diary that shows his rise to power and just how truly insane and evil of a villain he truly is. This gave his character depth much better than the actual story did, which made me wish that they had implemented more of that into some cut scenes.
Just Cause 3 doesn’t come with any multiplayer. It does however come with leaderboards, so as you beat mini-games or do small insignificant challenges, such as freefalling or driving in oncoming traffic you will get to see what friends of yours have done and try to beat their best as well as your own personal best.
Just Cause 3 is a strange game. As a fan of the previous games you will probably find enjoyment out of this title. It is a beautiful game that I would encourage anyone interested to try at some point, but don’t be in a rush to buy the game. The game is fun but frustrating, and while it can provide a lot of entertainment, the fact that it can and is very repetitive really takes away from the beauty of the game that Avalanche worked so hard on creating.
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Just Cause 2 (Xbox 360)