Game Review: Just Cause 3

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Release date: 2015
Version played: Xbox One in 2016

Developed by Avalanche Studios (the Mad Max video game) and published by Square Enix, Just Cause 3 is the third in the third person open-world action/adventure series, and sees protagonist Rico Rodriguez (voiced by Kevin Collins) return to his home of Medici to find it under the boot of ruthless dictator Sabastiano Di Ravello (voiced by Jon Avner, Berserk). Rico will have the use of his trusty grappling hook to cause mayhem in his wake, as well as traverse the game world’s monstrous map as he allies with various other rebels.

+ the archipelago of Medici is, in what is a staple for the series, simply huge at roughly 30×30 square kilometers. Admittedly not incredibly detailed, there is always at least something on the horizon to aim towards
+ traversing the world is a joy, too, due to vehicles of the land, air or sea varieties, as well as Rico’s signature grappling hook and parachute. An added wingsuit makes for faster non-vehicle travel, as well as adding another layer to combat
+ the combat is generally enjoyable, mostly in the form of explosions upon explosions. The grappling hook can be used to tether enemies and objects together (or enemies and other enemies, if you were so inclined to torture them as such). There are surprisingly limited weapons, which meant I stuck with the same LMG and grenade launcher for the majority of the game, simply because nothing else compared in speed and power. But the combat and destruction is only as much fun as you want it to be,
+ the story was much more personal than the previous game, featuring close friends to the protagonist and taking place in his homeland. Though some of these characters had not actually appeared in the series before, it did make for some more enjoyable interactions between them than had they simply been random rebels
+ David Tennant voices a ‘kidnapped celebrity’ who is forced to announce all Rico’s destruction as pre-planned demolitions by the Di Ravello forces. His snippets are almost worth destroying the bases themselves, because they are just hilarious

– even some 9 months from it’s release, I experiences numerous glitches, where either objectives never changed (forcing a mission restart) or key items never spawned — in the very first mission of the game I was forced to wait for a time to rundown until mission failure simply because the helicopter I was supposed to fly never appeared. Overall there was probably five or six times where such things happened, including one where the NPC I was supposed to protect never spawned
– there were lots of slowdown/framerate drops, especially when the destruction begins. A slight drop could be forgiven just do to the domino effect of explosions intended by the developers, but nothing to the level I was experiencing
– nearly every in-game action forces the game to check to see if you are logged into the Square Enix servers (opening the map, dying/respawning, starting a mission) so if you are ever using less than perfect internet (which I was for the majority of my play time) there are lots and lots of ~30 second pauses as it reconnects

> I was absolutely convinced that the voice of Rico was Ezio Auditore (from Assassin’s Creed) but it was not. Maybe it is just his slightly Spanish cousin.
> The Mad Max influences are on display, with much of the same driving and grapple hook physics being used. It didn’t click to me that they were the same developer until about half way through my gameplay, as I dragged an explosive into another car.

Should you play this game: Yes, but not on console. I can’t imagine the PS4 version would be overly different to this Xbox One version, which leaves the PC as the de facto winner. This is a good game, and worth playing especially to fans of the series, but this is also the first game I’ve played since starting these reviews which I wish I had bought on PC instead.

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