Should you buy Just Cause 4?
“I live for levitating animals, tornadoes, big guns and chaos.”
Just Cause 4 is an action-adventure game developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Square Enix. It is the fourth game in the Just Cause series and the sequel to 2015’s Just Cause 3. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
I hate it when adults talk about those games that melt their kids’ brains away to their friends – especially those adults with suits, tie clips and side combed hair. They’re always talking about how little Joey doesn’t stop playing that noisy game where he’s constantly blowing stuff up as a bearded flying squirrel with a hook. I then think, what kind of weird game are they talking about? Blowing stuff up? Which is true of most games nowadays, but with a hook? Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle Royale maybe? It isn’t when you hear ‘as a bearded flying squirrel’ you know they’re talking about the Just Cause series. Let me tell you something Joey’s dad/mom/abductor, Rico is not a squirrel and in Just Cause 4, he is closer to a God.
When Just Cause 3 came out I didn’t really bother ordering it since I wasn’t much of a fan of the series. It wasn’t until it was available on PS Plus (yes, I’m a PS4 gamer, get over it) and had no other game to play that I decided to download it and give it a shot, you know, just ‘cause. After playing a couple of hours I noticed, this game literally has no story and focuses on gameplay so I decided to just do my own thing and that’s when the love for the game finally revealed itself. The best part about Just Cause games isn’t the story, but the pure carnage you can cause when playing, plus the power of near invincibility. Let’s face it Rico, you’re indestructible. This is mainly why I wanted to try Just Cause 4, to see if Avalanche decided to pump up the carnage and make me feel more omnipotent. The answer is yes, and more.
After playing around 20 hours of the game’s story I decided to do what I did with the previous game, go ape-sh*t and destroy everything. It was lovely. The people behind the Just Cause series seem to have grasped the element of blowing crap up in the noisiest and most creative fashion as their forte.
Just ‘cause Just Cause 3 was a just cause, I went and bought Just Cause 4, and I barely even paused… I’m not much of a poet, excuse me, and let us continue the review. I also listed this game as one of the best games to play this Christmas here.
The Story –
The real reason you buy Just Cause 4, at least in my opinion, is not for the story, but for the chaos. Nonetheless, the story behind Just Cause 4, from what I’ve experienced up until now, is pretty ok. In this ‘episode’, our lovely, testosterone filled flying squirrel, Rico Rodriguez along with the Army of Chaos (sounds like the bad guys) try take down Oscar Espinosa and his Black Hand organisation (sounds more like the bad guys). Fighting alongside the Army, you (Rico) will be pushing the front lines with the resistance to push Oscar and his posse out of Solis. You do this by destroying stuff, you know, the more you destroy and kill, the more people will rally to your cause… logic nowadays, fun logic nevertheless. You can then move troops to capture sections of the map, ultimately gaining upgrades and unlocks as you liberate the entire country. It’s represented as you play by actual front line battles in the world, wicked stuff guys. Sadly I’m not really interested in the narrative, especially when competing with the games that have come out this quarter, the story will surely be forgettable.
The missions are predictable and repetitive – mainly unloading havoc (not cyclops’ brother – also, this sounds pretty bad when thinking about it) on everything you see (ok, it’s very bad). Most missions consist of going to a thing, to switch the thing on, so the big door thing opens, and then destroy the thing… sound familiar? Especially since I prefer destroying things as I please with no limitations, thank you very much. It’s pretty tedious if you think about it. On another note, many times during the game, the map marker didn’t really work, leaving me confused and lost on where I was supposed to go. Distances can be tricky. I usually took on side-missions, sadly they were pretty much the same. Well, thank you, next?
The Game –
Just Cause 4 is set in the gorgeous, and huge island of Solis. The map being so big allows for realistic distribution of targets unlike some other games I played this quarter. There’s great environmental diversity, trailing/flying across cities, jungles, mountains and beach-fronts by using an almost infinite variety of vehicles is at your fingertips.
Apart from the mediocre story, the gameplay and the absolute ridiculous fun you have is second to none. Rico is a titan among men, while leading the revolt as Rico you will likely wade through almost anything Solis can throw at you – from surviving missile fire, taking in and ‘sometimes’ dodging bullets, being blown up and falling from body splattering heights only results in a red tinge in the corners of your screen. This red tinge surprisingly fades away pretty fast and you’re back to being fit as a fiddle. Surprisingly, even if you encounter a tornado in the game (which does not happen as often as you’d think it does, especially with the new weather system being the main USP and hyped up subject about Just Cause 4) you’ll easily find a way to get out of there easily. Grappling hook > Tornado.
There are only a few things more satisfying than Rico traversing across Solis with his grappling hook/wing-suit or parachute, almost as satisfying as web shooting across Manhattan’s skyline as Spider-man… almost. You’re a one-man army, and Just Cause 4 makes sure of that. Merely jumping out of a jet you just airdropped a couple of moments ago which then plummets to an enemy facility’s shiny explosives causing fire and destruction as you land peacefully by hooking one of the remaining henchmen as you land flat on your feet as another walk in the park. Think about it people, what other game can afford being this silly, yet come out this fun? The question is, couldn’t you have done that in Just Cause 3?
Well, yes, but this latest edition of the Just Cause series has some improvements. New grappling hook upgrades gives you twice as many things to play with, easily switchable loadouts based on what you prefer are now accessible. The game gives you the choice to attach balloons you can use to lift things out of – or into – the way. Something which I remember in another game I played around a year ago, was it Metal Gear V? Well, Metal Gear didn’t have thrusters that you can attach to anything with your hook to help shoot them across the map. It’s here where the modern millennial troll will have fun, playing around with so many creative combinations as they look for new ways to obliterate and destroy. I remember lifting a tank I airdropped, and attaching thrusters pointing towards an enemy base so I can rain destruction from the sky – this didn’t really pan out the way you think it did, if I remember correctly the tank just kept spiralling in the air. Physics nowadays.
As stated previously, the new Just Cause also introduced some killer weather effects – if you encounter them that is. Although, when you do encounter a storm it is quite the sight; hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning storms literally flipping sh*t everywhere. Nevertheless, you are Rico Rodriguez, a titan, tornadoes cannot kill you it just splatters rain on your screen.
As I previously mentioned, in the past 3 months I’ve played seriously detailed and impressive games like RDR2, Spider-man & AC Odyssey. When comparing this game to these three, Just Cause 4 sadly comes last, but this game does have some incredible moments of beauty and destruction. It’s a game which can easily be understood, gratifying and gives you the ability to do whatever you like. Solis is your playground, Avalanche Studios gives you the tools to be a god. From airdropping almost anything to help you destroy more efficiently and effectively to doing as you please to being creative with what the game deals you. I’m not saying this game has the finesse to compete against other rivals in its genre, but at a time where open-world games have become saturated the Just Cause series gives the people what they want, especially since this entry is by far the best we’ve seen from the Just Cause series by a mile.
- Playing around with Physics of the game and tethering items together and attaching rocket thrusters to them just for the fun of it.
Things I Hated:
- I wish the hurricanes had more to them, and I was able to encounter more of them during free-roam.
Don’t forget to use that grapple mid-air!
If you’re a starter to the series, you should know that when Rico is free-falling to the ground and you’re not interested in parachutes you can use the grappling hook to break your fall. This is especially useful when you’re falling at super speed and are bound to take damage if the fall is not interrupted. I would recommend using your hook for moving around the island as well, using a combo of this and your wing-suit will make you trail through the 1024km2 map at ease.
Always keep on the look-out for those weapon boxes.
The shiny crates on the ground you find are weapon boxes, these contain a multitude of weapons that can be used to annihilate your enemies – like rocket and grenade launchers. Open ‘em up and reap the world.
Chaos level is back mates!
A feature that was apparent in Just Cause 2 is back, and that is of the Chaos Level. Increase your Chaos Level will get you lots of new perks – like more agents and reserves for your squadron. Play the game as you do, do the activities assigned to you and your Chaos Level will increase.
- Game makes you feel omnipotent.
- Beautiful and dynamic environment.
- The game is ridiculously fun, emphasis on ridiculous.
- Performance is good, with a steady frame rate.
- Narrative is boring
- Missions can be repetitive
Reviewed on PS4 Pro, you know it!