Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Just Cause 3

Rating: 8.7
Happy Price: 49.99


Just Cause 3 is an action packed 3rd person shooter that uses unrealistic concepts to create the "extreme" feel, opposed to a game like GTAV which has a more simulation type of feel. The player has access to countless vehicles, explosives, and weapons to destroy bases in a variety of ways.  Access to this arsenal is easy with the Rebel Drop mechanic that allows a cargo plane to drop off whatever the player needs. Missions are regularly repetitive, so creating your own fun with the variety of weapons will determine how fun of a game this is for you on a personal level.


There are over 80 accessible vehicles including cars, boats, planes, helicopters, tanks, and utility vehicles. During my 40 hour experience I spent a lot of time in helicopters, they had the ability to rapidly shoot heavy missiles which would obliterate bases in a relatively short amount of time. The only real defense against a helicopter is a SAM anti air weapon, but those can be avoided or even hacked prior to taking down a base. Because there wasn't any real reason to use a boat in a situation, or a tank in another, taking down bases was not as fun as it probably could have been. The typical course of events for me went destroy as much stuff as possible with a helicopter until it blew up, then finish it up with a tank. After that, do everything on foot, and repeat. So even though I had 80 accessible vehicles, I tended to only use three or four consistently. There was no real reason to use a valuable rebel drop for a Volkswagen Beetle or a slow city bus, unless I decided it would be fun to try and take down a base in a bus. Let's make one thing clear, driving around in tanks and helicopters is fun, and this game gives the platform to do that as much as you'd like.


The narrative is similar to previous iterations of the series. You play Rico Rodriguez and are a borderline rebel superhero causing millions of dollars in government damage and initiating a revolution. This time around the evil dictator has developed a nuclear weapon infused with Bavarium that is more powerful than your standard nuke, which is suppose to make this small island into a superpower. Taking down this dictator will not only save the world, but also the oppressed people of Medici. As unrealistic a plot this is, the writing itself does not lend itself to this being a real scenario either. Rico Rodriguez as a character is far too casual and cocky to make it feel like anything is really at stake. He carries an attitude of "this will be easy, nothing bad will happen" which does not create much tension. To add, finishing up a main campaign mission does not end with an upgrade or access to new upgrades. This is all done outside of the main campaign. Doing main campaign missions seemed to be more of a chore, as I'd prefer to have a reward after doing something difficult like taking down a large military base to unlock a better helicopter


Having 80 vehicles, I expected to have a much larger range of weaponry at my disposal. There are only a couple variations of pistol, assault rifle, shotgun, LMG, and heavy weapon. With 40 hours of gameplay, I wanted more. The assault rifles had four distinct and predictable types of specs. There was the fast shooting low damage, slow shooting high damage, 3 shot burst, and one shot burst rifle. I felt very constrained having only able to pick one main weapon, one sidearm, then a heavy. With as much variety, I want to flip between shotguns, assault rifles, LMG's, and heavy weaponry quickly. This element of only being able to hold two weapons contradicts the cartoony nature of the game. At times I felt very under-powered using even the most powerful assault rifle. Multiple head-shots to enemies or unloading an entire clip for them to die.  Whenever I was outside of a vehicle, I typically would parachute around throwing grenades and using my heavy weapon, until I could hijack a vehicle. Most of the time is spent using the grapple hook escaping gunfire and running for your life, which isn't really too fun. 


The flow goes as follows, liberate a base, then get access to a variety of challenges to obtain "gears". Gears are the currency to upgrade Rico. These challenges include: car races, boat races, plane races, shooting ranges, skydiving, and few others. This was the most fun part of the game. Liberating a base, then your favorite type of challenge is unlocked. There are leaderboards attached, and you get to compete against friends all the while working to upgrade yourself. Doing well in car races allows for upgrades to be unlocked for said type of vehicle. Doing so does not necessarily feel like you are progressing in the game, but makes things feel more convenient. For example, instead of grenades doing more damage, you get upgrades like "can hold more grenades". Having more grenades that do more damage doesn't really help me that much, I just don't have to find a resupply point as often. If you really wanted to, the entire game can be beaten without upgrading yourself. The game can likely be finished in 15 hours, but it would take hard work to do so. Because I spent time doing the challenges, I didn't have to constantly resupply myself with valuable ammo to keep my reign of havoc going. Spending hours doing challenges only to have a max heavy ammo be increased from 5 to 11 did not seem justified. For some reason though, I had fun doing the challenges and wanted my experience to be more convenient. Having double turbo in my helicopters made navigating the 400 square mile space much faster.


When creating assets for a space the size of Rhode Island, I think shortcuts are expected. However they are not easily pointed out. Surprisingly the terrain always had purpose. There were flat areas that were cleared of foliage, then areas that were heavy with foliage, but all of these locations made sense and had a great flow. Enemy outposts and bases are placed in strategic locations that are surrounded by canyons with small entry points. Then randomly there will be ruins from some ancient South American civilization. It's fun riding around in a plane or helicopter and seeing these ruin sites, and then hopping down to check them out. Turns out doing this will add a collectible most of the time, which is a nice reward for exploring your curiosity.

The color palette was very bold and uplifting which played nicely into the feel of the game. Vehicles and weapons are very detailed with fine details like different axel behavior in an indy car from the rest of the other cars in the game. Explosions are some of the best I've ever seen in a video game, too many on screen can cause frame rate issues, but most of the time it was in extreme cases of blowing up five gasoline storage containers or something along those lines. The main characters had unique attributes like burned faces or scars, and the facial expressions during cut scenes we're very good, some of the best I've seen in a video game. The expressions reflected each characters personality beautifully and was the best part of the campaign. 


The first 10 hours or so are very addicting, but it tends to get repetitive after that point. It took many play sessions to complete the game, as I would play for about one hour and then get bored. It's every easy to pick up and put down, and I'm not sure if that is a good thing or not. After about 24 hours of not playing, I'd get the urge to blow some stuff up, but then it goes away, and the process repeated itself for about a month. There are many good games out there, but if you need something that isn't going to conflict with your social life, this game is for you. 

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