I can’t compare Just Cause 3, which I’m playing on the PS4, to either of the previous installments. I never played those.
I will compare it to Far Cry 3, which is the game it initially reminded me of. I liked Far Cry 3 a lot. I loved the setting, with the mountains and valleys, the wildlife that could—and would—attack you, the variety of vehicles to drive, the hang gliders and wingsuits.
Just Cause 3 offers a lot of the same things. It also offers more. And less.
Allow me to explain.
JC3 offers less in the way of seriousness. The tone of Far Cry 3 was a bit heavy. There were moments of fun, but they were couched in a lot of seriousness and drama. In this game, there seems to be less in terms of story as well, which may read as a criticism to you. I suppose it is a negative if what you’re mainly interested in is the story narrative. I think what the game does offer more than offsets this for me. More on this in a moment.
In this game, our hero, the character Rico Rodriquez, has a super grappling hook. Think Batman’s grappling gun, coupled with a wingsuit that it more versatile and effective than the one in Far Cry 3, and a quite maneuverable parachute as well. The player can traverse the large map of the game world quite easily, even without a vehicle. But, the vehicles are fun, too. Using the grappling hook, you can hijack helicopters and jet airplanes as easily as tanks and cars and motorcycles. The vehicles in this game also handle a lot better than those of Far Cry and offer a better assortment and, equally important, better roads. The ocean is also well done, with plenty of boats for Rico to hijack, but crossing large expanses of water between islands is boring and rather pointless after you have the ability to fast-travel.
You won’t find the animals here that you have in Far Cry 3. Sure, I miss hunting wild animals for their skins sometimes. But, not that much.
What Just Cause 3 offers in abundance is Fun. A surprising amount of the world is destructible, and destruction is the main point of much of this game. Finesse and marksman-like shooting have their place, of course, but wanton destructiveness is always the daily special. Perhaps my enjoyment in blowing stuff up says things about me that I shouldn’t share with everyone. But, I do enjoy it. A lot.
The story itself is standard fare. General Di Ravello is the bad guy dictator of this Mediterranean (I’m assuming: maybe South American) island nation of Medici. He also has control of the mineral Bavarium which has amazing, semi-mystical properties but is primarily a Maguffin, like Vibranium or Adamantium or Infinity Stones. Rodriguez, along with a group of rebels and sketchy mercenaries, has to take control of Di Ravello’s territories, one province at a time, which also unlocks many side challenges and activities that can eat up huge chunks of your time.
It’s like a huge game of Risk,except that Di Ravello apparently is unable to recapture any territory once it’s conquered by you. The map of this sandbox world is huge. Really huge, with a stunning range of elevations. As I am writing this review, I have only five provinces remaining to conquer, and maybe a couple of major cutscenes to watch. I don’t think the conclusion of the “story” will offer much that will surprise me, or any veteran gamer. But, again, story isn’t the main draw of this game for me.
Like many games of this type, including Far Cry 3, the game play does get a bit repetitive. Never not-fun, but repetitive. And, honestly, hardcore action-adventure or war-gamers may find it a bit on the easy side. Rico, our Latino Rambo, doesn’t die easily. And, when he does, much of what he’s destroyed in his quest to take over a town or military base stays destroyed, so there’s less to do to complete an objective. Death holds no sway over Rico. Or you, at least in this game.
Bottom line: This game is Fun. Even after I finish toppling General Di Ravello, I’m probably going to stick around long enough to complete a few more of the challenges.