Review code was provided to me by a representative of Square Enix North America on November 30th, 2015.
Just Cause 3 is a goddamn fun game. Well, it’s fun whenever you’re just going around and liberating bases or towns. Everything else just falls on its face (as I have done many times in-flight). The problem, though, is that every other system you use in the game pulls you away from the craziness at hand. As I said in the opening, the game is a damn blast to play, but the way your skill trees unlock, ticking off bases and towns from a big checklist, and gunning down every bad dude you see.
For the last and maybe final time, you play Rico Rodriguez – former Agent of the CIA, and your go-to guy for toppling governments. Rico’s returned home, the beautiful and fictitious Medici, where he plans to take down Di Ravello, your dictator in this Just Cause. If you’ve played any other of the Just Cause games, you know what you’re getting into with Just Cause 3. Explosions on top of more explosions. Also, lots and lots of tethering things. To slowly take back Medici, Rico must first destroy all the Chaos objects within a base or town (those red and white things). These “Chaos objects” are sometimes satellite dishes, electrical transformers, fuel tanks and etc. The things you’ll find in town are speakers, propaganda vans, projectors, billboards and even statues. Clear any settlement and the rebels will move in, while you reap the rewards, which is usually just a garage.
That’s just what a singular settlement entails. Imagine, just for a moment, doing that about 40 or 50 more times, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of why this is a problem. Yes, there is a sense of variety as you go settlement to settlement. However, this is quickly overshadowed by how long some of the more advanced bases or towns will force you to liberate them, if only to make that progress screen increase just a little bit.
In my playtime with Just Cause 3, I kept bumping up with that problem again and again. To try and provide a solution, I thought I’d just go out and enjoy the lovely vistas and scenery the game has to offer. Just Cause 3 is not content with your enjoyment, so the game constantly forces you to be restricted to Rico’s C-grade toys. The tether is interesting, but ultimately loses your interest as a valuable weapon when you realize that it is actually quite difficult to just not use bullets to liberate a base (hey, I was doing it for the Trophy).
Now, to the utterly baffling. The game’s skill trees are locked behind Challenges, which have you do things in a car for mods, a helicopter for mods, a wing suit for mods, and well…you get the idea. I never felt truly compelled to actually go out and do these things. These challenges actually felt more like a nuisance than anything and is very baffling to me why Avalanche Studios decided that this was a good idea.
As you trudge your way through the campaign, you are again asked to liberate provinces before you can actually make meaningful progress. The campaign is enjoyable, although it is a bit ever-changing in its tone. It swings like a grand trapeze between humor and drama, never quite finding the right balance between the two. Another thing I really appreciate about the story is how it directs your firefights in contrast to how the sandbox handles this.
Sure, the sandbox is fun all on its own. You can blow up stuff, drive a car off a cliff, skim across the water in a yacht or just take in the awe-inspiring vistas of Medici. There’s always something to do in Just Cause 3. How you do that is up to you.
Just Cause 3 is a grand adventure from my point of view, but how you do that just feels like bad game design.
My Verdict: C+