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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (448)

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Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5
Horizon: Zero Dawn 4.5/5
Oxenfree 4/5
Murdered: Soul Suspect 3/5
Kirby Star Allies 3/5
Celeste 4.5/5
Dark Quest 2 3/5
Just Cause 3 3.5/5
Guacamelee! 2 4/5
The Incredible Adventur... 4/5
Rise of the Tomb Raider 4/5
Dead Rising 3 4/5
Layers of Fear 3.5/5
Prey 3/5
Zero-K 2/5
Tales from the Borderla... 4/5
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 4.5/5
Hammerwatch 3/5
AereA 1/5
Divinity: Original Sin 4.5/5
The Yawhg 4/5
Sword Coast Legends 3.5/5
Spelunky 2.5/5
We Are the Dwarves 1/5

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Just Cause 3   PC (Steam) 

Destruction Thy Name is Just Cause 3    3.5/5 stars

The Just Cause series has been around since 2006, but I admit I skipped the first and second entry and jumped right in with this third game, mainly because it has been given the most praise (even over the more recently-released fourth entry). The game is essentially a run-and-gun, open world destruct-a-thon. This is not exactly a unique concept (see also the Far Cry series, Crysis series, Red Faction, Crackdown and probably several more I'm forgetting) but Just Cause is known from nearly perfecting it. And because sometimes you just need to sit back, relax and blow stuff up - Just Cause 3 may not be the game we deserve, but it's the game we need.

Presentation: The game looks pretty good - both character and environments pop, though it does suffer from some jaggies and the loading times can get oppressive. The game is quite a memory hog as well, as this is the only title I've played that warns me the game doesn't have enough memory to play (though it never seemed to affect anything that I could tell). About the most annoying thing that probably won't affect many people (unless you stream) is that exiting the game to the desktop changed the input from controller to mouse/keyboard and would sometimes mess up the resolution as well. Taken together, it kind of dings the overall score.

Aside from technical issues, the game is solid - voice acting, bombastic effects and the random one-liners you quip all mesh well with the setting. Even the music was well-suited to the action. The game takes place on the island nation of Medici in the Mediterranean, so most environments are either urban or tropical, with some burned-out ruins and strip-mining operations thrown in for good measure. There are mountains as well, the DLC introduces some fun mechanics (Mechs, Lightning Gun, Gunboat and Jetpack) to make getting around - and destroying things - that much better. The enemies are rather rote and cookie-cutter, but at least their vehicles get a bit more exciting as you progress. The game is littered with interesting vehicles, from tanks to helicopters to sports cars to boats - and if you get board zipping around the skies, you can easily call in an air drop for something to transport you with style.

Story: Rico Rodriguez has been the protagonist in every Just Cause game, and this third entry finds him returning to his home country of Medici, which has fallen into the clutches of the megalomaniac dictator General Di Ravello, who has harnessed the island's unique mineral known as Bavarium to craft weapons and armor of complete destruction. Rodriguez makes a daring return and in short order teams up with his old friend Mario Frigo, who runs a rag-tag underground rebellion. This includes the disfigured (and maybe somewhat crazy) Dimah al-Masri, who equips Rico with a grappling hook, wing-suit and parachute and the liberation of the nation begins. This mainly consists of liberating towns, outposts and highly-defended military bases (that act as fast-travel points thereafter). Other characters soon turn up, including the mercenaries Annika and Teo, the shady American Tom Sheldon, scientist turncoat Zeno Antithikara and Medici's rightful ruler Rosa Manuela. Besides liberating his people, the main story also deals with controlling the Bavarium and making sure it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. I mean the story plays second fiddle to all the crazy physics and destruction, but at least they make things interesting.

The DLC provides a trio of new areas - a research base in the middle of the ocean, a massive floating airship and a mysterious island in the north where refugees are being kidnapped - all revolving around the long-defunct Eden Corporation, provide some content, but, more importantly, bigger and better things to provide destruction.

Gameplay: Certainly where Just Cause 3 shines is in the fun nature of how you get around and cause widespread destruction. You grapple and wing-suit essentially let you fling yourself and fly around (if you have the DLC, you get weapons and essentially unlimited flight for said wing-suit) while the game features a variety of weapons. You can hold three types a time - a pistol/smg, assault rifle/shotgun and heavy weapon (rocket launcher, grenade launcher, sniper rifle) as well as grenades and and unlimited C4 charges (though you can only place three at a time - five with upgrades). You can also gain access to assault vehicles - tanks, helicopters, jets, boats - that can cause a lot of damage. As the game progresses and you liberate more bases, you can call these down with air supply drops at any time.

Like any good, open-world game, you can collect stuff. Every vehicles (land, air, water) can be brought to any garage and once unlocked can be called in like military vehicles. Vintage Parts unlock access to specific weapons and vehicles, while shrines, stunt jumps and Di Ravello tapes unlock both background to the story (tapes) and great advantages like unlimited fast travel (stunt jumps). Each of the main areas has their own group of items to find, but it is worth the effort to track each of them down. Most of the game is, though, revolves around destruction.

Every town, outpost and base consists of a variety of crap to explode. Satellite dishes, fuel storage, generators, statues - anything that is red must be blown up, shot down, dragged down and otherwise wiped from the face of the Earth. The great part of Just Cause 3 is that nothing is ever quite the same - some bases are based around ports, others massive caves or elevated to the sky - each one is an interesting challenge. You can also decide how best to destroy - air and tanks are always fun, but you can even grapple or use some big weapons to take things out. And death? Don't worry, you won't lose a speck of progress as there is little punishment and, hell, the game even refills your ammo to max when you bite the dust. At most you'll have to travel a bit to get back to where you were.

There is not really any leveling up, but you can unlock a variety of abilities by completing challenges. Each challenge has five gear levels and consist of wing-suit challenges, bomb cars, racing (both land, air and water), destruction challenges (usually using a specific weapon/vehicle) and target practice (using a specific weapon to bullseye targets). Each challenge unlocks a specific upgrade - racing unlocks things like nitro and boost jumps and air drop cooldowns for that specific type of vehicle, while wing-suit challenges unlock better control and duration for your grapple/wing-suit combo. You get the idea. While a few of the challenges (the jet ones for me specifically game me headaches), for the most part I didn't find it all that difficult to unlock all the abilities.

The DLC provides so much fun - Mech vehicles you can pilot, an insane, heavily-armed boat, a lightning gun with unlimited charges and a jet-powered wing-suit, that using anything else becomes moot. And you can pretty much do these at anytime provided you are far enough in the game - if you really want to have fun and make things a cakewalk, do these extra missions first and you will be nearly untouchable (not that the base game is difficult or anything).

Replayability: Aside from completing the various challenges or just re-conquering the various bases/towns - there is nothing really dragging you back in. But the fact it's there at least gives some incentive to return.

Overall: Just Cause 3 is the kind of game you play when you just want to have some fun. It's not deep or difficult or punishing - but you get to blow a lot of stuff up, fly around and quip one-liners.

Presentation: 3.5/5
Story: 3/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Replayability: 3/5
Overall (not an average): 3.5/5

 

 


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