Square Enix graciously offered us a chance to play Just Cause 3 ahead of its launch via Steam, citing that it’s very much an open world RPG set in a modern setting. Now, we won’t go so far to call it an RPG in a traditional sense, but there’s so much fun to be had in this game that we can forgive its linear story and lunatic physics. It’s a toy box of wonders for any kid who imagined blowing stuff up with his or her GI Joes for hours on end.
If you’re not familiar with the series, Just Cause puts you in the shoes of Rico Rodriguez, returned home to Medici, no longer working for “The Agency” and finding his homeland under the brutal control of General Di Ravello. You then set about taking back every corner of the Archipelago from Di Ravello, often by really explosive and violent means. You know, a feel-good tale for kids of all ages.
The story’s not essential here, the locale is absolutely a gorgeous Mediterranean paradise, and the beauty of the game isn’t in its realism or multitudinous game systems… it’s in this massive playground Avalance gives you and says, “Go ahead, blow it all up. It’ll be fun.” Avalanche’s other big release this year, Mad Max, couldn’t quite do the freedom and open world destruction thing as well as Just Cause 3, which is a shame because the former would have been so much greater because of it.
After the opening few missions to get your feet wet, you’ll rove about Medici taking back towns, military outposts, and small settlements, blowing up massive missile silos, radio towers, and more along the way. You’ll use a grappling hook mechanism on your arm, freshly upgraded by your own version of Q, to commandeer enemy helicopters, boats, tanks, turrets, cars, skidoos, and even a few scooters. This game is not short on fun toys to play with, that’s for sure.
As you take back outposts (the act of which is fun enough, if repetitive), you’ll unlock special challenges that test your skill at flying, driving, wing-suiting (yes, you get a glider suit), and pure mayhem-causing. Completing these challenges earns you gears depending on how well you score, and the gears in turn unlock additional toys for you to play with. This is where Just Cause 3 mixes in a little RPG-lite, by letting you unlock perks and slot them on your version of Rico. You might want your cars to have a nitrous-fueled turbo jump, your grenades to explode on impact, and your rockets to become heatseekers. You can unlock a staggering amount of special perks, but you can only equip so many at one time. It’s a bit like building a deck of cards… if those cards exploded and sent bodies of militants flying.