Action Reviews

Just Cause 3

Developer: Avalanche Studios | Publisher: Square Enix | Release Date: 1 December, 2015


Reviewed on: Windows 10 | Intel Core i7 4790K 4GHz | 16GB RAM | GeForce GTX 1070 8GB


Story


Just Cause 3 takes place six years after JC2 following Rico Rodriguez. He returns to his birthplace of Medici under the brutal control of General Di Ravello, a dictator with an appetite for power. Rico sets out to overthrow Di Ravello thus restoring freedom to the people. Long-term friend Mario Frigo helps the resistance.

Gameplay


Open-World action provides an immensely fun and thrilling experience combining the grappling hook with a jump before impact and the parachute or glide is brilliant. It’s this freestyling combination of gameplay mechanics which makes Just Cause 3 so much fun to play. The grappling hook can be used to tether objects together and repel onto vehicles to carjack. Rocket explosions are epic and truly outstanding. Just Cause 3 includes multiple vehicles from land, air and sea such as cars, motorbikes, tanks, boats and helicopters all of which the player can operate.

AI

The intelligence of civilians and military can be almost redundant of any thought process. Traffic can be bought to a complete standstill as one vehicle blocks another and fails to move at all. It almost feels as though everything around you has frozen in time whilst you move around the environment. Until you jump on the car and then the world comes to life again. A very surreal experience at random moments.

The military is intense. Simply put it can be incredibly hard to get away from combat engagements. As the military alert rating increases so does the strength of the arsenal called in to eradicate the problem. Naval bombardment from the sea onto land, helicopter rockets, tanks and heavy machine guns mounted to trucks along with roadblocks placed strategically to end your reign of destruction. There’s no relenting in their pursuit which really does get intense.

Hiding amongst foliage is impossible as enemies continue to target with insane precision. Using the mountains to hide is the best way to avoid detection. Landmarks such as the lighthouse can also be a great location due to the lack of stairs which makes it impossible to reach on foot affecting the effectiveness of approaching guards. If the priest is unlocked you can find sanctuary in the churches to escape.

Physics

Rag doll physics. People, cars and other objects react with extreme over-reaction to any impact with cars and people flying all over the place. There have been instances of people reacting before anything happens. e.g. someone flew across the driveway as I approached.
Natural features such as crops and foliage lack any physical substance. Driving through them doesn’t have any impact on their structure, you simply travel through them which is rather disappointing.

Missions

There are 25 story missions to complete to reduce control of enemy forces in and around the island. There’s also areas to liberate and Challenges to complete for upgrades.

Side missions present themselves randomly throughout the players journey as they are encountered. These keep things interesting between the main missions and the usual deviation into causing mayhem and destruction. Objectives can vary from saving a diplomat to hijacking a target vehicle and destroying it with the occupants without raising suspicion.

Weapons

Just Cause 3 has an abundance of weapons of varying capabilities. It doesnt get better than the RPG though. The shells can cause immense damage and destruction to buildings and vehicles. Other weapons include the traditional assault rifle, shotgun, handgun, grenades and manning turrets on vehicles.
Ammo and weapons can be collected from some fallen enemies. Weapon cache’s can also be found throughout the island. Completing missions may also reward you with weapons along with Rebel Drops which provide airdrops of weapons.

Upgrades

Unlike previous games in the series, Just Cause 3 doesn’t use an in-game currency to unlock and purchase weapons. Instead challenges must be completed which provide the player with gears. These are used to upgrade Rico with mods for his weapons and equipment. The upgrades include advanced aiming, weapon zoom, improved tethering, more explosives and vehicle enhancements such as adding nitrous boosters amongst others. Check out IGN’s wiki for full list of upgrades.

Destruction

Many objects can be destroyed in a variety of ways such a blowing up bridges, gas cylinders, statues and vehicles. Creativity reigns supreme in the way in which you decide to destroy objects. i.e. RPG, explosives or targeting flammable objects.

Online


Whilst playing solo sessions the players progress and performance is compared to the global performance of other players by utilizing Square Enix servers to generate leaderboards. Statistics such as enemies killed in quick succession, distance traveled performing a motorbike wheelie etc. These challenges add a competitive edge to the solo experience.

Graphics


Shadows move across the ground as the earth rotates throughout the day and night. The only downside is that the shadow movement isn’t fluid, it’s a juddering mess which can be annoying to watch in detail. Lighting from car headlights look impressive and very well balanced with the glow, brightness and yellow hue.

The underwater landscape has fantastic lighting and water effects which really enhances the experience. Providing the feeling of really being on an island and enjoy the freedom to explore the sea.

Textures

Close up textures are gorgeous and vibrant with branches of bushes and trees swaying with the breeze of the wind. The textures on distant objects are poor quality. Lacking any visible detail displaying only the most basic of textures. The quality of close up objects compared to textures rendered at distance is startling in contrast.

Performance


Connection Problems

Poor connection problems plague Just Cause 3. Most of the time you won’t even realize your connected to Square Enix’s online service. The only time you do realize is when an intrusive message appears which most of the time is at the most inopportune moment stating you’ve lost connection to the servers. You’re then provided with the option to reconnect or continue offline. It’s nice to have the challenge scoreboard appear after doing something extreme but it’s not worth the trouble. Much less hassle to opt for offline mode so no more pop ups stop the game during the play-through.

Frame Rate Issues

There’s a constant issue throughout the game with the games fluidity due to varying frame rates. This generates a stutter effect which really becomes annoying.At no point during the game does my CPU or GPU reach more than 70% usage on the highest settings. However there does appear to be a memory leak within the game. Whilst playing the game it eats up most of my 16GB RAM, leaving just 600MB remaining! On my system the stuttering moments are intermitent and the rest of the time it’s very smooth (when there’s 2GB memory remaining), definately playable in my experience though the memory leak is alarming and could drastically affect performance on users with less than 16GB RAM installed.

Just Cause 3 Memory Leak

Depth / Replayability


The main campaign can take around 18hrs to complete. Completionists can expect to play for around 50hrs but in reality the total hours could go in to the 100’s hrs due to the nature of the game. Blowing things up and causing anarchy doesn’t get boring and competing with the online leaderboards keeps the challenge constantly going.

Closing Comments

It’s a shame that Just Cause 3 struggles with poor performance and connection problems. Underneath those issues is an extremely fun and exciting action experience. Explosions are absolutely epic, and the grappling hook and wing suit provide an incredibly unique gaming experience. If you’ve ever wanted to be an action hero or stuntman then this is most definitely the game for you.


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Just Cause 3

£39.99
Just Cause 3
8.1

Gameplay

9/10

    Graphics

    8/10

      Story / Content

      8/10

        Depth / Replayability

        10/10

          Performance

          6/10

            Pros

            • Epic Explosions
            • Thrilling Gameplay
            • Nice Selection of Weapons and Vehicles

            Cons

            • Frame Rate Issues
            • Lost Connection Problems
            • Poor Draw Distance Textures
            Stephen Bradley-Waters
            Website creator and gaming geek! Huge fan of Zelda. During my early teens I loved playing Unreal Tournament & Age of Empires. I'm currently enjoying Euro Truck Simulator 2, American Truck Simulator and various other games from racing, strategy, rpg to action, fps and indie.
            http://www.stevieonline.me