Welcome to the gorgeously picturesque island of Medici, a fictional Mediterranean gem you have been tasked with demolishing. Your job is to liberate this island from a grizzly dictator, employing all sorts of ingenious experimentation in order to raise as much hell as possible.
Welcome to Just Cause 3, a game that has tried its best to give you as much chaotic freedom as possible, a game that pushes the action movie schlock to new and innovative heights.
Our protagonist, Rico, returns to his home country to liberate it from the cruel despot Di Ravello, who is committing the usual peasant-slapping atrocities we come to expect from radical juntas in countries with wonderful weather.
There are over 1,000 square kilometers of magnificent terrain to explore, and the volumetric terrain employs an expansive verticality which allows for unbound mountainous and subterranean investigation.
There are five different biomes held within the map, a lush and diverse world filled with varying landmarks and points of interest.
It’s a very bright and glossy game visually – all of the special effects stand out marvelously against the sun-dappled surroundings.
The beauty of the landscape puts you in the shoes of the mean kid in the playground, stomping all over a little girl’s perfected sandcastle; it’s just begging to be obliterated.
Anything with a red warning sign attached is your friend. Take silly physics to the next level, as you try to chain as much hazardous material together with the new tethering system, which allows you to connect multiple objects with a cable before winding them together with as much force as possible for maximum obliteration.
Whizzing about with the new and improved grappling hook allows for unparalleled speedy exploration. Combined with the parachute and wing-suit, you become a modern day angel of death – no area is unreachable or indestructible.
Well, not quite everything is indestructible. A game that has such a titanic level of explosive capability should be essentially coupled with a completely destructible environment. It is rather underwhelming triggering an apocalyptic blast radius, only to find the buildings it engulfed are left unblemished.
This lack of schadenfreude does not, however, detract heavily from what is truly a scenic vision of chaos. The more creative you are with your new bestowed potential, the more gorgeous your cataclysms become.
Turn a truck into a 21st-century battering ram by cable-towing it with an airplane before swinging it into a target. Shoot a propane tank and hook onto it before launching off into the sky. Exploit a decent range of weapons and pepper your surroundings with craters.
There is no pretense here; the aim of the game is simple, unabashed carnage. Most objectives involve flattening an enemy base by targeting the most potentially-sparkling objects in the area, such as fuel tanks and power conduits.
Once you turn a spot upside-down, you have ‘liberated’ it, making me wonder if the locals wouldn’t have preferred stifling tyranny to wanton raging mayhem.
But that is the beauty of the game and its developers, they don’t care what anyone thinks. Just Cause 3 is comical, enjoyable mischief that brings out your most base naughtiness. We all love blowing things up; don’t tell me you’ve never imagined shooting a petrol truck on the highway!
Rico is an absolutely versatile joy to control. We’ve seen parachutes, wing-suits and grappling hooks many times in games before, but none streamline them all together with such interchangeable alacrity like this game. Rico would not be out of his league in something like Attack on Titan.
My only criticism for Rico is that he can’t grab ledges (let alone climb), which can lead to many frustrating and awkward moments as he hangs from a ceiling like a napping Spiderman. He also can’t sprint.
All of these irks can however be bested if you learn how to use the grappling hook and all of the other gadgets correctly.
There are many towns that need your delicate touch breaking free of an olive-skinned iron fist. In order to do so, you will need to tear down the main symbols of oppression, such as booming propaganda-spewing speakerphones and illusory billboards.
With your yanking tether system, you can recreate the iconic Saddam Hussein statue toppling as you bring statues of the evil dictator Di Ravello tumbling down.
You also have a battalion of rebels on your side, and once you blast open the gates of a town they will come pouring in to provide much-appreciated backup, and boy are you going to need it!
Whenever challenging the oppressor, expect to be constantly swamped by endless swarms of enemy soldiers. It’s easy to forget that you can, at any time, boost yourself out of a jam with a tap of a button. Just Cause 3 truly provides unbridled accessibility.
The upgrade system depends on the successful accomplishment of various extreme stunt-challenges. These challenges include flying through hoops with your wing-suit, racing exotic cars and laying waste to an enemy base with a chopper.
By completing these time-limit based challenges you can progressively unlock a cheery set of hilarious buffs to Rico’s different mediums of destruction and transportation.
The main problem with Just Cause 3 is that the characters and narrative feel rather uninspired and flat, so if gripping discourse is a must for you, expect to be sorely disappointed.
Just Cause 3 is an entire Toys R Us store of childish entertainment, and Avalanche Studios have successfully updated their stock for a thrilling end of year. Make this the last big investment for 2015, it’s worth it.