Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Just Cause 3: PS4 Review

Just Cause 3: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Square Enix

If ever there were a game that had its MO in its title, Just Cause would be it.

The open-world gamer's title could be an ode to righteous reasons or a dismissive response to the question "Why did it do that?".

Set several years after the end of Just Cause 2, our hero Rico Rodriguez is back and returning to his homeland of Medici. But not everything is as it seems on Medici as dictator General Di Ravello is installed and cruising for more than power. But one man standing in his way is Rico....a showdown is set.

There's nothing more in Just Cause's arsenal than the desire to simply wreak havoc in the most spectacularly OTT way possible.

If it were a film, it'd be of the Expendables homestead, complete with potentially a Jean Claude Van Damme as the lead (even if Rico does bear a terrifying resemblance to Gerard Butler). And the film version of the game would be punctuated with a series of explosions as full stops to each sequence.

And that's pretty much how the game goes.

Running around the Medici islands, liberating points and taking out revolutionaries, it has more than an echo of Far Cry coursing through its veins. As you head from one job to the next, there's always plenty of carnage to unleash and bad guys (as well as good guy civilian collateral) to get rid of.

Using your grappling hook to hurtle through lands and parachutes, and even a wingsuit, there's more than enough in terms of options for getting around - but each of these are fraught with odd issues. The grappling hook occasionally latches on to places but fails to take you there (an odd bug that hits from time to time with random spawning) and it's tricky to use the hook to scale up mountains.

Equally the parachute and wingsuit has seen Rico been smashed into the ground with wildly inconsistent results. A flailing parachute means Rico will go off course but a speedy wingsuit sees him killed when he plummets with speed into the concrete.

Combat is frenetic fun and occasionally tricky. A lack of an ability to lock into a target can result in ammo being over-used and from time to time, even if you shoot the baddies in the chest from point blank range repeatedly, they bizarrely get up and carry on attacking. And yet, it's in keeping with the almost perversely ACME grounded physics and reality the game seems to hold dear. With a wide range of highly destructive weapons in the game too, there's plenty of havoc to be wreaked.

You can blow up masses of fuel tanks in front of Rico and he will be flung through the air, and not killed but if a vehicle explodes with him in, he's literally toast. There's no consistency in what kills and what doesn't - but if you're willing to embrace the wild logic on show, Just Cause 3 is actually a cartoony game that amuses and entertains.

Graphically, the game hits some stumbles and some long loading times mean it's not exactly a smooth transition through Medici. Explosions look hellishly impressive and the game's clearly thrown most of its engine into achieving those, at the expense of ensuring there's not too much of a delay from the console gamer patiently waiting either for a reload or a next chapter to begin.

There's no denying that the occasionally self-aware Just Cause 3 is fun - its perverse adherence to its own rules which the gamer's not always party to means it's an uneven experience from time to time, but it's a joyous one too.


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