Review by Orisa
A step backwards.
The basis for Just Cause 3 is one thing: Fun. And it definitely is. The game throws out story and realism for fun. You are given a grappling hook, a parachute, and a wing suit. Grapple two cars together and pull them to make them explode, tie several cows to a pickup truck and watch them glide across the road. Unless its a truck or a bus, any car that hits a wall or steep hill just explodes for no reason whatsoever. If any vehicle in the game falls more than a quarter of a kilometer, explosion. If you leave a car in the ocean for an hour and then grapple it out, it still works. The possibilities are nearly endless.
Just Cause has always been a sandbox/open world type game, and it builds up on that aspect even more. Anything that isn’t natural terrain or a building can be destroyed. There is almost never a point where you are going 100 KPH and get stopped by anything that isn’t a wall or a mountain. Even every bridge is destroyable, which is something you’ll never see in an open world game. However, there is a major downside to this: most of the game’s area is just wilderness. If you removed every mountain and plain in the game and put everything directly next to each other, you would be left with a space no bigger than 5 to 10 kilometers. But ignoring the fun factor and environment, this game heavily simplifies a lot of the mechanics in Just Cause 2. The old heat system is simplified to the 5-star system like in the Grand Theft Auto games, having low health just means waiting about ten seconds for the heart-beating sound to go away, the mini-map is completely removed, etc. Basically, if you played Just Cause 2 before this one and enjoyed anything except how fun it is, you’re going to like this one less.
As far as the story goes, JC3 is pretty lacking. Because of the increased focus on open-world and sandbox, the story ends up being pretty mediocre. When I played the game originally, there were very few times when I felt “involved” in the story. Most of the cutscenes are just satire jokes and telling you what to do next at the end. Along the way you liberate settlements from the evil dictator (again) while occasionally helping out in battles between rebels and the army. However, liberating settlements is very fun and is vastly improved from the previous titles. I never got bored of clearing settlements, all the way to the very last one. Making everything in a settlement explode is extremely satisfying and I can’t think of a game that has done a system like this better.
If you don't want to liberate settlements or do the story, there are more things you can do. First of all: collectables. Collectables are about 150 random things scattered across the map that you, well, collect. There's not much to it. You don't get much for collecting except a higher percentage in the completion page and it really becomes a chore to find them after the first 30 or so. Alternately, you can also deliver vehicles to Garages to be able to order them anywhere you want. Well, kind of. Without gear mods, you only get one flare to call any vehicles that you've brought to a garage. Though that's not as bad compared to the fact that fast traveling is extremely limited, too. By default, you get one flare to go anywhere, and just one flare. Why does it have to be so limited? Sure, driving around can be fun the first few times you play, but when you have to go very long distances to reach something after playing for quite a while, it gets very aggravating.
Next up is the game’s sound, starting with the soundtrack. I really like the music in this game. It made me feel like I was in Medici, unlike the story. The Mexican style is perfected and sounds amazing. The heat remixes sound great, the idle track, there isn’t really a song that I didn’t like. The voice acting is normal, nothing special, though there’s hardly any dialog in this game anyway. Nothing too special about the sound effects, either.
The Good: +Settlement liberation +Sandbox capabilities +Music
The Bad: -Story -Simplified mechanics -Boring collectable system -
Just Cause 3 is the third entry in the series and it takes quite a turn from the previous two games. Though it keeps it’s sandbox roots, many elements of the game have been simplified or re-made. While some of these changes do make the game more fun, is it really better over-all? Eh. The map is heavily simplified and seems to have less stuff to do. The heat system is boiled down to a basic 5-Star system. The environment is basically just wilderness. So as far as everything goes, it’s really a step backwards.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Just Cause 3 (US, 12/01/15)
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