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Review

Just Cause 3 Review

  • First Released Nov 30, 2015
    released
  • Reviewed Nov 30, 2015
  • PS4
  • PC
  • XONE
Robert Handlery on Google+

A world in flames.

Just Cause 3 makes no apologies for its outrageous nature. It's a power fantasy in every sense of the phrase, placing you in a world rife with destructible environments and giving you creative instruments with which to destroy them. There are intermittent technical problems, and scripted moments detract from the freedom found elsewhere, but in the end, Just Cause 3 provides a spectacular, explosive sandbox experience.

The plot revolves around returning protagonist Rico Rodriguez, who's arrived in the fictional Republic of Medici during the height of Sebastiano Di Ravello's military dictatorship. The story here is forgettable, but delivers an effective invitation: dozens of military installations cover the world map, and it's your job to blow them up for the rebel forces.

Rodriguez himself is a mashup of masculine action stars and comic book characters, so it makes sense that I often felt like a superhero in his shoes. By supplying you with a wingsuit, parachute, and grappling hook, Just Cause 3 gives you an effective means of transportation, as well as a smooth, nuanced traversal system.

There is a steep learning curve, but with practice, I was leaping from helicopters, gliding through enemy bases, and floating over farmland with ease. It's thrilling to leap from a cliff, free-fall for 10 seconds, grapple to a nearby rock, and use the momentum to launch back into the air with parachute deployed. Rico actually felt like a hero learning his new skillset. It's as if Avalanche Studios combined Batman, Spider-Man, and The Punisher, and thrust its creation into a vivid Mediterranean landscape.

For a place soon to be covered in explosions, Medici is gorgeous.
For a place soon to be covered in explosions, Medici is gorgeous.

What follows is a collision of spectacle and scale. Helicopters dot the sky. Explosions chain across the screen. Combining a parachute and grenade launcher transforms Rodriguez into a floating artillery battery from above. In a world teetering toward total destruction, Just Cause 3 grants you the tools to push it over the edge.

The traditional grenades, remote mines, and numerous land, air, and sea vehicles are all on call in the rebel arsenal. Then there's the tether: this grappling hook modification attaches two separate objects, and flings them toward each other, often with hilarious results. Rodriguez can reel enemies toward explosive barrels, collapse watchtowers, and pull attack helicopters into a fiery end. It's a testament to this game's creativity that guns were my last resort.

There's a sequence in Just Cause 3 in which a fleet of helicopters pursue you over a mountain range. In any other game, I may have resorted to the RPG slung across my back. But in keeping with this game's lack of convention, I grappled to the nearest attack chopper, pulled the pilot out, and assumed control in his place.

Just Cause 3 makes you feel like Batman, Spider-Man, and The Punisher combined.

But that somehow still felt too normal. So I evacuated my helicopter mid-air, opened my wingsuit, glided toward another nearby enemy, and grappled to his chopper door. By repeating the process, I ditched helicopter after helicopter, sending both pilots and machines soaring into the mountain range below, all without firing a single shot.

The game provided no hint to this approach. I just devised a plan and watched it unfold. Just Cause 3 doesn't nudge you in one direction or the other--it shows you the possibilities, and gets out of the way.

Like all of Just Cause 3's best moments, the tether encourages experimentation, rather than thoughtless reaction, and as the hours passed, the destruction remained creative and unpredictable. New domino reactions and car crashes were always on the horizon. It's a small mechanic, but its effects can be massive, and it encapsulates what makes Just Cause 3 so fun. Even now, after 30 hours in this idyllic sandbox, I'm sure I haven't seen every use for the tether.

And just when it seems the well of experiments might be running dry, Avalanche Studios adds variety to proceedings. As you liberate new provinces from enemy hands, challenges pop up across the map, including vehicle races, machine gun score contests, and wingsuit dives. They're fun on their own, but they're also well worth pursuing. By completing these, you'll unlock new gear mods, which change the functions of certain items.

Much of the action takes place mid-air.
Much of the action takes place mid-air.

While some of these are minor, such as increased grenade capacity or a nitrous boost for vehicles, others reveal dynamic new ways to experiment in Just Cause 3's sandbox.

Take the rocket boost mines, for example. Whereas previous iterations of the device just detonated at a chosen time, this modification sends objects careening into distant structures before exploding. I used this on cars numerous times, creating two-ton bombs that flew toward enemy fuel tanks with increased velocity after I dove from the driver’s seat.

This cascading structure is what makes Just Cause 3 so great. There's a cadence to how you approach its world: outpost liberation leads to challenges, which leads to gear mods, which leads to experimentation. And more often than not, each tier of this formula is entertaining in itself. That each flows so well into the next makes the overall experience all the more rewarding. Just Cause 3 excels because it adds variety to the equation throughout, making destruction and mayhem entertaining far past the early hours.

However, Just Cause 3 does deviate from its open-world freedom at times, and when it does, it falters. The scripted story missions progress the plot, but the actual gameplay involved is repetitive at best, and broken at worst.

Despite its spectacle, Just Cause 3 is filled with bugs, bad AI, and other rough edges.

The vast majority of these tasks are escort missions, in which you defend a plane, or boat, or caravan of jeeps. Protecting another character can be tiresome to begin with, and because their behavior is unpredictable and often unintelligent, I restarted checkpoints far more than felt fair. Halting progress because of my own mistakes is one thing, but when it was out of my hands, my patience grew thin.

Just Cause 3 is also filled with bugs and other rough edges. The parachute closed at random, cars disappeared while moving, and AI behavior made several story objectives impossible for a short time. One mission required me to steal a prototype combat tank from Di Ravello's forces, and extract it by boat to the hidden rebel base. However, the boat was too far from the dock for me to board it, and I had to reload the previous checkpoint. It repeated the same mistake twice more after that.

For a game that places death front and center, it was often inconsistent with whether I should die. I'm happy Just Cause 3 is lenient with its falling damage--considering I'm in the sky more often than not--but I survived a 500-foot fall at one point, only to die from a shorter one soon thereafter. These mishaps would be easy to overlook if they didn't disrupt an otherwise fluid experience too often.

Late-game upgrades make traversal even smoother.
Late-game upgrades make traversal even smoother.

When Just Cause 3 is consistent, however, it's a stunning display of cause and effect, as watchtowers topple into fuel tanks, which blow up nearby helicopters, which sail into oncoming vehicles. I often spent hours setting up outlandish chain reactions, or trying new gear mods, knowing full well I wasn't making any progress in the traditional sense. I was content to just sit back and marvel as it all happened.

But there's a more thoughtful undercurrent as well. Despite the explosions and instant gratification throughout, Just Cause 3 also encourages experimentation and foresight, planning and careful approaches. The results are as rewarding as they are entertaining.

Editor's Note: The majority of our time with Just Cause 3 was spent with the PC version, followed by several hours on both PS4 and Xbox One. Based on the review builds provided, the game performed better on PC, with higher and more stable frame rates, fewer bugs, and better looking environments. However, the problems did not affect the overall experience enough to impact individual scores.

Mike Mahardy on Google+
Back To Top
The Good
Smooth, fluid traversal controls
Numerous options for destructive experimentation
Challenges well worth pursuing
Destructible environments create a power fantasy
The Bad
Weak, repetitive scripted missions
Bugs, bad AI, and other technical problems
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Mike Mahardy spent 30 total hours with Just Cause 3 across every platform. He blew up a lot of stuff.
478 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for sippio
sippio

Just Cause 2 was boring to the point where I stop playing after 1st session..

I doubt JC3 will be any different as it's focus appears to be the same..

Huge visual explosions,,Grpahics,,Grapel everything...

**DOESN'T MATTER if I now own the game for free via PS+ Because we

all own lots of games that aren't worth pl;aying.... ugh

Avatar image for thelostscribe
Thelostscribe

I bought this game a month ago, very fun. If you're looking for a deep engaging story and are really picky about a game that works absolutely with no bugs, this game really isn't for you.

If you love to run around and make your game a play ground where you can cause tons of destruction and move about how you want in a Mediterranean paradise, then this game is for you. The story and characters are fun too, the voice acting is a 100x better than Just Cause 2.

The game is shockingly beautiful for how large it is and being over a year old at this point. You won't see explosions like this in any other game either. You won't experience anything like the wing suit either, the way you can freely traverse using the grapple hook, parachute and wing suit is just incredible.

Avatar image for skipper847
skipper847

Bought this on sale steam 2 days ago. Full of memory leaks using 99% memory. Got 16GB 2400mhz and a KFA2 EX OC 1080 GTX.

Avatar image for cristianot_mtl
CristianoT_Mtl

Just play the game on PS4.

The game of fun, stupid but 5 months after is release there still too many bugs

like this one

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvhMn-dAyJQ

The game lag when there too much stuff going on. The game even freeze a couple of times.

The AI is bad.

i remember in one of the "make it look like an accident" challenge. I'm waiting the guy to get in the car but it got it by another car ??? challenge failed.

Avatar image for tsuingosuto1985
tsuingosuto1985

personally I really enjoyed the game, i expected it to be a bit too bogged down in its mechanics but damn are the game mechanics fun, wingsuit gliding through tunnels at high speed using grapple to pull yourself higher when getting too low to the ground, linking enemies and items together in a daisy chain of epic fun, i even ended up doing skiprope with an enemy attached to 2 poles by head and legs, take the winch button and theyll spin round and round xD so much fun to be had.

here is the first 10 minutes of the game

https://youtu.be/ZQLuAPsDJb8

Avatar image for rufinoman
Rufinoman

I'm enjoying every minute of this game, bugs and all.

Sure, the plot is a bit lame, the voice overs are dodgy (think Sean Connery for Rico) and the AI is questionable, but the fun factor, the explosions, the vehicles and the escape to an oppressed paradise are all an explosive cocktail and I just keep wanting more.

Great review by the way!

Avatar image for thedre666
thedre666

I bought this out of curiosity and despite the aiming/gun issue, I was playing and then realised I was smiling like the Cheshire Cat. Been ages since I really enjoyed a game like this. Forget reality and go nuts. Destroy everything and try not to gaze at the gorgeous scenery!!

Avatar image for Crazed8
Crazed8

Me wanty!!

Avatar image for neoprime
NeoPrime

So did they ever fix this mess of a game?

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

I know that such games tend to have very stupid mooks, but Just Cause 3's are the stupidest which I have seen so far.

For example, there are idiots who just move into the line of fire of miniguns and cannons, when they were previously out of the line of fire and had an opportunity to flank the player.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Not everything can be brought down with the grappling cables, like this decrepit stone building.

I know that Avalanche Studios did not exactly promise that anything can be brought down with the cables, but this is still disappointing.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Ocean boats with nitrous boosters and "turbo jumps" - the last time I saw these in a video game was in old-school side-scrollers of yore.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Grenades clip through vehicles. :\

Also, there are delays of several seconds between lines in dialogues over the radio.

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

For a game that is about mayhem, it doesn't have story-telling that is as exciting as Saints Row's.

As for the voice-overs, the only entertainment to be had is from the ridiculous accents. Most of the lines are cringe-inducing.

On the other hand, the writers seem to be aware that they are working with a junk story; just watch this scene - it's so bad-good. :P

Avatar image for BounceDK
BounceDK

It's the same as JS2 just more horrible thanks to Nvidia GimpWorks.

Avatar image for Crazed8
Crazed8

@BounceDK: Well JS2 was fun and if it is more of the fun thing then whats wrong with that? I agree Nvidia f*cked the pooch in the arse but the game is still fun.

Avatar image for since
since

I really enjoy your review about Just Cause 3 !

Avatar image for gamerimurfather
GamerImUrFather

@since: Never played any of the Just Cause games..Not sure if I should start with this one or maybe JC2. Looks like it is an all-out fun thrill ride!!

Avatar image for superklyph
SuperKlyph

@gamerimurfather: JC2 you can get on the cheap.

Avatar image for Keitha313
Keitha313

Weak repetitive scripted missions and bad AI yet Fallout 4 scores higher?

Need I say anymore.

Avatar image for Kunakai
Kunakai

@Keitha313: I'm not sure what I'd need to smoke to acknowledge that as a serious comparison.

Avatar image for gamerimurfather
GamerImUrFather

@Kunakai: Lol can't compare the two games as I have never played Just Cause. But I must say Fallout 4 is one hell of a game and I haven't really run into any game breaking bugs yet (played close to 100 hours on PS4). I can't really understand why people are upset about the minor hiccups and inconveniences, but maybe they are just playing on a low end PC that can barely run it and/or have never really played a Bethesda game before and aren't used to them. Either way it is GOTY worthy for me..

Avatar image for Crazed8
Crazed8

@gamerimurfather: Its probably from the PC crowd. I'm sure its a great game but when I tried to play it kept crashing.

Avatar image for stan_boyd
stan_boyd

I enjoyed the game for about 6 hours, then got bored, blowing up random stuff just for giggles can only entertain me a short time and the missions in this game are boring and repetitive, 5/10 for me.

Avatar image for SingletreeAve
SingletreeAve

Good game in general, but a victim of a big problem plaguing open world games right now. Awesome game world with great potential, seriously under-utilized by bland mission design, and marginalized by less than solid mechanics. Just Cause 3 is an amazing sandbox of destruction, but the uninspired, simplistic, short missions (mostly escort) serve little purpose other than to provide a backdrop for story cut-scenes. Mechanics need some refinement. The grapple is unreliable and often fails at critical times, which often results in replaying a mission from the last checkpoint. Not a big deal when causing general mayhem where the margin of error is a lot higher. Movement is a bit janky and unnatural on occasion. Easy to get hung up on the environment at bad times. Physics is somewhat unconventional for planet earth. Can ride a motorcycle through the trunk of a tree, but hitting an invisible pebble in the road throws you a hundred feet in the air. Anyway, it's great fun, except for the main missions, which are a missed opportunity.

Avatar image for sev2010
sev2010

@SingletreeAve: Great quick and to-the-point review of the game. Better than those of Gamespot reviewers I believe.

Avatar image for Securator
Securator

This Game got nothin' on EDF 4.1

EDF!! EDF!! EDF!!

Avatar image for 1971pac1996
1971pac1996

You're using the ps4 there's your answer right there, regarding it how you don't like the game

Avatar image for GregoryBastards
GregoryBastards

@1971pac1996: Is the PC version bug free..??....I have a decent Pc too and could get this there if it's running well on PC.....my main concern is the loading time and random crashes.

Avatar image for OkRaider88
OkRaider88

@GregoryBastards: The PC Version seems fine. I've been playing without a glitch so far. Of course, I have an NVIDIA video card. I have read that AMD Radeon cards have had issues.

Avatar image for GregoryBastards
GregoryBastards

Seems im the only one who doesnt like this game....i dont really like fooling around in a sandbox so i guess that's a big factor....also my copy of the game keeps crashing, bugging out and has terrible loading times. on the ps4.

All the game has going for it is blow things up....which gets boring after a while.......all cities and bases are technically the same with the same turbines, gas tanks and explosive barrels.

The challenges which are used to earn gear which upgrades your tools are dull and boring....for example all races are checkpoint races with no opponents....all destruction mission have no enemies only destructible objects.

The actual gunplay itself is terrible and the guns are very similar to each other.

The only thing i liked about the game is the wingsuit system which is quite excellent.

I am never overly critical of a game but Just Cause 3 just didn't do it for me and i wanted to point out some of it's flaws.

Avatar image for Cillerboy
Cillerboy

@GregoryBastards: Bugs do seem to be a common complaint alright, so I'm surprised it got an 8 n this site anyways.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

I am a bit stuck in Just cause 3 if anyone can assist please? Twice i have had a mission where i am supposed to deliver a car that has ran out of fuel. What are you meant to do. I tried to pick up the guy to take him to petrol station but he won't get in the car. I tried going to petrol station and you can't pick up a fuel can or anything.

What am i doing wrong? In the end i got frustrated the army came and i failed the mission for blowing up the petrol station.

Avatar image for X_oddgod_X
X_oddgod_X

@deviltaz35: tow the car with your hook

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@X_oddgod_X: lol thanks i was having a blonde moment :) . However i have never managed to get that to work. Do you have to upgrade that ability? I can only seem to grapple at the moment.

If i try and tether anything it just ignores me despite saying release tethers with B button on screen.

Avatar image for GregoryBastards
GregoryBastards

@deviltaz35: Wierd...You dont need to upgrade the slingshot to tether i think......its one of the first abilities you get....

Just press L1 aim at the empty car then drag the aim to your car and release it....should work out fine....Tethers sometimes act weird.....

Avatar image for jdekeyser
Jdekeyser

Yeah challenges are hard and frustrating but other than that this is a masterpiece in my eyes.

I havent taken it out of my Xbox One since I put it in on release day.

Its a good 8.5 in my book.

No other game like it.

Avatar image for deviltaz35
DEVILTAZ35

@jdekeyser: I play it every night on the PC just a great stress reliever really.

The only annoying thing is you really have no time to react when a helicopter fires on you sometimes.

I would like the helicopters to be a bit more robust so i could actually attack more from the air instead of seeing myself tumbling to the ground more often than not.

In that way air based was easier in JC2.

Avatar image for garfield
garfield

Nope, not an 8, sorry, especially not for a third game.

Avatar image for emerin76
emerin76

being a skydiver, anything with skydiving and/or BASE jumping is fine by me. Probably wont get it though, not for a while.

Avatar image for 93ChevyNut
93ChevyNut

@emerin76: I'm in the same boat. As an experimental aircraft test pilot, weapons and explosives specialist, and wingsuit/grappling hook adrenaline junkie, this game really speaks to me. But I'll wait to pick it up until after my mission to Mars.

Avatar image for StinkB
StinkB

Looks like a borefest, but there's not much that could get me away from Fallout 4 right now.

Avatar image for AceBalls
AceBalls

I thought you were going to obliterate that DJ at the end of the review ;)

That would have been excellent.

Avatar image for JavanC
JavanC

one of the most stress-relieving games!!!

Avatar image for Divisionbell
Divisionbell

Great game. Only complaint is that you only get upgrades by doing the random challenges. Most of them are infuriating. Other than that I love it.

Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

What's the point of all the mayhem if you can't be laughing alongside a friend or two?

I'll pass until there's Co-Op. There's no amount of story/dialogue that could make this serious/engaging enough to warrant a single-player playthrough (woo, evil dictator, free a bunch of <YAWN/UBI map>, like a girl that's in the resist<YAWN>).

Even Just Cause's ancestor, Mercenaries, added Co-Op -- it's a fun 'splody sandbox, to be enjoyed together, and not taken seriously.

Avatar image for bikskit
bikskit

@Pyrosa: Well-written point: In a game where you essentially can "fly" everywhere, why add jarring elements like nasty dictators or a pot boiler storyline? I think Far Cry 3&4 pushed the boundary right up to the line of 'splody sandbox' and coherent/compelling storyline.

Push any element past this point, and the entire game fails.

Just Cause 3 More Info

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  • First Released Nov 30, 2015
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox One
    Just Cause 3 is an action-adventure video game set in an open world environment.
    7
    Average Rating238 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Just Cause 3
    Developed by:
    Avalanche Studios, Square Enix
    Published by:
    Square Enix, Bandai Namco Games
    Genre(s):
    Action, Adventure
    Theme(s):
    Sci-Fi
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood, Intense Violence, Strong Language