Just Cause 3 review: Too much mayhem is not enough
Just Cause 3 (PS4/XOne/PC); rating: 8/10 Age: 18+
MISCHIEF and mayhem form the cornerstone of JC3’s chaotic open-world adventure, the latest in a series that started life as GTA on a tropical island.
Nothing much else matters. Certainly not the plot, a rote number about unseating evil dictator General Ravello in a pleasant Mediterranean-style nation named Medici. JC3 sidelines most tropes that litter GTA-aping games – endless collectibles, portentous mission briefings, etc – and focuses on tipping the anarchy meter into the red.
From the off, your anti-hero Rico is handed the tools of revolution to chip away at Ravello’s dominance. These include, of course, copious weapons but also an upgrade to the series' miraculous grappling hook that now enables you to tether several objects together, with hilarious consequences.
You may decide to shackle a car to a helicopter. Or slingshot a cow off a cliff (you bad person). Or truss an unfortunate soldier to an explosive barrel.
Assisted by a parachute, a wing suit and a superhuman tolerance for damage, Rico thus becomes a destructive machine in the guise of a solo saboteur. In practice, this means blowing up military bases, toppling giant Ravello statues and gunning down waves of soldiers.
JC3 indulges all of your Michael Bay fantasies, generating huge plumes of fire, shuddering, collapsing buildings and outrageous scenarios such as firing a rocket launcher as you stand on the wings of a plane. In comparison with Just Cause 2, then, it’s a case of turning up the destruction to 11.
Alas, though, as much fun as this mayhem becomes with your growing suite of abilities, it does mean the gameplay rarely shifts gear. Exploration and traversal of Medici is a lark in aircraft, vehicles or just with the grappling hook/parachute combo. But there's very little radically new to discover, in the same way you might happen on a fascinating little enclave in Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3.
Factor in a wildly variable frame rate and despite all its entertainment, Just Cause 3 can't match the finest open-world adventures of 2015.