Just Cause is a game series that I’ve never dipped in to play. I don’t really know why? Back at the launch of Xbox360 in 2006, Just Cause 1 was available shortly after the console launch and was getting pretty respectable scores but for some reason I just didn’t feel compelled to pick it up. Perhaps I was judging a book or in this case game by it’s cover, because I couldn’t stand the cover of Just Cause 1.
Anyways, Just Cause 2 rocked up 4 years later in 2010, and again I neglected to play it. I didn’t really follow it at all, I just know that it launched and did well enough to warrant another sequel albeit 5 years later.
So here we are then, Just Cause 3 officially launched in December 2015, but it’s taken me till September 2016 to actually get it and play it. 10 years after the launch of the first game in the series I’m playing my first JC title.
Because this is my first visit into this franchise, I wasn’t exactly sure what the point of the game was, what type of game it is and just how big the game is. I first encountered it at EGX in September 2015. Didn’t play it but was watching it being played while queuing to get on other games there. From the demo’s that I watched it looked bright and just a lot of fun. Gorgeous open world with what seemed like unlimited tools for destruction.
When I actually got to play the game for myself the first time this year, the opening mission alone with you walking on the wings of an airplane taking enemies out, then parachuting down into a canyon and killing more enemies to help your friend Mario, followed by a very Grand Theft Auto esque escape driving through the environments. It was certainly a great way to capture first time players to the game and set them up for what’s to come throughout the game.
So as mentioned, this game is absolutely gorgeous visually. The fictional setting of Medici in the Mediterranean sea is stunning. The towns are all built to remind to you holidays you may have had to places around the med. Very picturesque settings looking out to beautiful bright blue sea with glorious sunshine. But despite the ideal settings Medici is in serious trouble as these beautiful towns and cities are being oppressed by General Sebastiano Di Ravello. Each town has had speaker towers, propaganda vans, banners and statues erected of Di Ravello. They really make these towns look horrible. Each town consists of a prison too where Di Ravello has locked up people who choose to rebel against his order.
See where this is going?
It’s down to you Ricardo Rodriguez to over-throw Di Ravello, take back these oppressed towns returning them to their true beauty and also take down Di Ravello’s military bases scattered in each province.
Now here’s where you get a scale of how big this game is. There are 3 main regions or ‘Islands’ in Medici. Each of these regions has between 7 and 13 ‘provinces’. Each Province will have between 4 and 8 objectives to liberate. Either towns, guard points or military bases. Each of these objectives to liberate has chaos objects to complete which can be speaker towers or statues in towns, fuel tanks and radar satellites in bases or guard towers.
It can be kind of daunting and somewhat frustrating liberating all these areas. However it’s not compulsory to do this, it’s just side objectives to the main story missions.
However I’ve been sure to go out of my way to liberate each island before progressing with the story missions when progressing to that island. What I’ve found is that it’s actually assisted me in some missions as there are less opposition forces getting in your way. One mission in the 2nd region required me to protect and EMP strapped to a truck that was being taken a long, long way. One of the interactions from the character in the game was “You’re driving us past a military base?” with the expectation that this base would be crawling with opposition forces, but due to clever cloggs here liberating that island completely before missions there were no forces in sight, just rebel allies guarding the route as we drove past.
I can say that it has reminded me of Far Cry so far. To liberate outposts in Far Cry you’d need to do certain tasks at that outpost to capture it, then when all outposts in a region were liberated that place is safe. Well it’s pretty much the same for Just Cause 3. Liberate objectives in a province by destroying the chaos objects in those places, do them all and that region turns blue representing the people of Medici have rebelled and taken it back.
The missions and story are somewhat forgettable in all honesty though. Some of them result more in frustration than enjoyment. It also doesn’t help that the performance of the game can be pretty terrible.
The game has unfortunately crashed on me on multiple occasions, and more frequently than not, crashed on me when seconds away from completing a mission or liberating a military base which are the harder things to liberate. It’s almost a case of expecting the game to crash when you feel you’ve made good progress in the game.
Also the game slows down considerably when large scenes of carnage are taking place. Especially when causing havoc in the prisons which is part of liberating towns. These particular areas seem to slow down and act really laggy with explosions going off and numerous enemies in one area.
And should you die during a mission or liberation which I can tell you now is incredibly likely to happen, the loading times to reload where you left off are terrible. I appreciate however that based on the size of the game and how amazing it looks visually it’s going to be a strain to load it all quick.
Aside from the technical issues, the missions aren’t repetitive which is a plus, but they aren’t exactly the most gripping. So it’s actually a plus point that there are so many areas to liberate. And with each area that is liberated these unlock challenges to try your hand at such as racing, wing suit diving, plane races and boat races to name a few. Another side challenge is to try and collect all the vehicles available in the game and get them delivered to your chop shop garage so you can call them in later on should you need them.
So there are plenty of activities to do in Medici other than the main story missions to keep you entertained.
Given that I really didn’t know what to expect with Just Cause 3, I’m very pleasantly surprised with it. Variations of missions, plenty of stuff to do other than missions, the option to just explore what seems like anywhere and genuinely one of the best looking open world environments I’ve experienced are all huge plus points to the game.
My only issues with the game are the performance. Laggy on occasions, crashing at the most inconvenient time as if it know’s just when to do it as it’ll be the occasion that’ll piss you off the most and really long loading times are all quite frustrating.
If you’ve got a calm head and can handle the odd game crash without getting infuriated and long loading times after each time you die, then there is a lot of fun to be had with Just Cause 3 with it’s various missions and submissions. It is also genuinely one of the most beautiful open world games created yet in my opinion.