Note: The opinions expressed in this article are mine, and based off of approximately two hours of storyline mission, and ten hours of free-play. Also, slight spoilers ahead, but that’s why you are reading this, right?
While most “gamers” settled in to recent titles Fallout 4 (read a fellow Survey writer’s article here), and its vastness, Star Wars Battlefront’s nostalgia, or even (yet another) Assassin’s Creed (Syndicate); I ventured somewhere else, somewhere tropical.
Medici is a beautiful paradise. It is filled with Mediterranean styled countryside, cities, and farmland. As main character Mario Frigo states it: “When you look at Medici, you see she is beautiful. But when you see Medici, she is corrupt.” The opening is fantastic, with an intro that makes fun of how nonsensically maddening the whole series has been. It even features a few tiebacks to Just Cause 2. As a note, I recommend reading a brief synopsis of Just Cause 1 and 2 before you play this. As usual, you, in the shoes of Rico Rodriguez, Guatemalan “dictator overthrower,” start the game by doing something crazy. In this case, you are shooting rocket launchers off the top of a Cesena. Soon after, you meet Mario Frigo, a “rebel rock star” who is a friend of Rico from childhood. You then go to Dimah Ali Umar al Masri, or simply Dimah, and get a grappler upgrade. This, in addition to a new wingsuit, allows you much more freedom than the game’s predecessor.
From here, you begin a massive chain of destruction. First, you liberate a sea-side city. Then go on to destroy everything in your path. There isn’t a simpler way to put it other than “fly around and blow things up.” JC3 doesn’t have a deep story, as many critics have pointed out, but does have something unlike any other open-world shooter: absolute freedom of movement and freedom of (causing) chaos. Go anywhere, do anything. Other games won you over with a new building mechanism, car customization, or professional dialogue. But, none have Just Cause 3’s movement and destruction combination. One can jump off a cliff, deploy the wingsuit, and fly over vast distances of land. You can go anywhere that you can see on the map (an Avalanche exclusive). Furthermore, combined with the parachute, you can turn tightly around an important object, and then blow it to bits. With the advent of “limitless” C4, you can take down everything possible – satellite dishes and military bases to ships. You can commandeer what you see, and tether multiple objects together to create works of, albeit explosive, art. Tying an explosive barrel to a helicopter, then flinging it into a outpost? Check. Binding enemies to cars and sending both off a cliff? Check.
With that said, there are a few issues. First, and most important, is the frame rate issues. Immediately after release, complaints came in of “lag” on high-end gaming computers and laptops. I, for one, experienced extreme frame-rate drops on a laptop that can run Fallout 4, a graphically intensive game, on max settings. 12 hours later, NVidia, a graphics card manufacturer, released a driver that was supposed to fix all the problems. Even now, I can tell you that it hasn’t done much. The realistic landscape is shattered by slideshow-like speeds at times. The second issue is the story. That said, the Just Cause franchise never had much story. It was always a cliché of “underdog appears, fights for the rebels, wins.” Even though I am only a few hours in story-wise, it doesn’t feel interesting enough to keep me hooked. It is predictable, and I know exactly what is going to happen to whom when. I also am unsurprised when the game tries to pull a twist.
All-in-all, I thoroughly recommend Just Cause 3, due to its stunning beauty and absolute freedom to be chaotic.