Just Cause 3 or A Glorious Yet Unfinished Sandbox

First impressions of Just Cause 3 … Well, the first impressions are consumed by rage at the horrible loading times … you stare at the fucking screen for a few minutes at times, especially after booting the game or dying. Sounds fun, right?

In fact, this whole text was written during dozens of loading times. So, when you have to do while gaming, e.g. taking out the trash, writing a novel or taking a shit, rest assured you’ll have plenty of time to become a better person.

Back to the Just Cause 3 loading times … Oh, there are also challenges. To get a good rating, you might have to repeat a challenge a couple of times – and waiting more than one minute for a challenge you can complete in less than a minute is fucking stupid!

So why do challenges? After all, they were completely optional in Just Cause 2! Because in Just Cause 3, you need challenges to unlock gear upgrades – and an upgrade can only be unlocked via completing a certain kind of challenge. Sounds like a fucking stupid design choice, right?

And -the fact that communities like gamefaqs are doing the QA for Avalanche who don’t seem to give a crap doesn’t exactly help. The solution? If you’re offline, loading time for Just Cause 3 are quicker. It works only to a degree, but saving a minute here or there can be alright.

Why offline again? Because Avalanche thought making a competition out of everything is fun – but there’s no chance to turn this bullshit off! Rabidgames doesn’t care about this virtual dick measuring contest crap in a fucking single player game like Just Cause 3 – so omitting the fucking option to turn the shit off is by far the worst design decision of 2015 – coupled with the fucking loading times, it goes from shit to diarrhoea quickly. YOU FAILED, Avalanche!

Quite interestingly though, Just Cause 3 feels more like the first Just Cause in quite a few ways: liberating provinces by taking over settlements and military bases, the missions structure (there are main missions, challenges and encounters, no Just Cause 2 type side missions), and you gain access to weapons and vehicles by either collecting them, collecting collectibles or – and that’s where you get your weaponised stuff – by liberating bases.

Sadly though, the missions range from awesome to awful – escort missions are bad, but with bad AI, they’re even worse. Also, out of the first 10, only 3 were real fun, a few were okay, and a few were simply not good, especially compared to the epic missions in Just Cause 2. Furthermore, you can’t upgrade your weapons, vehicles or health in Just Cause 3 – another weird omission. Next to the technical oversights, this game stands closer to the first game than the outstanding second one.

Oh, and there’s more – since challenges only get unlocked via liberations, this forces you to take over a settlement before you can interact with it whereas in Just Cause 2 exploration was more rewarding and upgrading your gear (gone in Just Cause 3) by collecting stuff didn’t necessarily involve liberations.

Well, there is lot to criticise in Just Cause 3, but if you look behind the veil of bad design choices and piss-poor technical failures, there’s a good game. A damn great game! Explosions look simply amazing, and by tethering objects or enemies together you can always come up with funny stories.

The biggest addition to Just Cause 3 is the wingsuit – coupled with the grapple hook and the parachute, traversing the landscape is lots of fun and dangerous – go too low and you nosedive to a bloody death! But the wingsuit certainly adds a learning curve to the game, and it is quite addictive.

Rico is cool, yeah, but the star of Just Cause 3 is the Mediterranean state of Medici – from the beaches, the vineyards and small islands to the South to the centre with its lush coastal towns and the barren mountains to the desolate north, empty of life but full of ruins. And then, there’s a volcano!

It can be fun to take in the views by flying around or maybe cruising through the scenery in a car – never a motor bike though (their handling is way worse from Just Cause 2), and as you would expect, there are amazing landscapes and a few cool easter eggs to be found.

So, what’s the bottom line? Well, Just Cause 3 can be infuriating and then incredibly fun after the loading screen. If you can wait, better wait for a patch, especially while you could also play Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3. If you are addicted to a new dose of Just Cause style high-explosive action though, be prepared for some waiting but it’ll be worth it!

Rabidgames wonders: Judging from the present state, it is questionable if Avalanche know the meaning of the word QA. And the fact most of the game rather resembles the first mediocre game than the outstanding Just Cause 2 makes you also wonder about some of the priorities there. But for all the criticism, as long as the beautiful explosions and the creative chaos last, holiday in Medici is always an option! Sadly, it is rather a side trip than a must-see tour …

 

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