Just Cause 3
(Square Enix for PS4)
By Mike Delano
Just Cause 3 is an incredible action movie amusement park filled with the tools to create any explosive, over-the-top Bond/Bourne/John McClane fantasy that may be swimming around in your head. The fictional Republic of Medici is your faux Mediterranean powder keg playground, and your character, Rico Rodriguez, is completely at ease in it, whether he’s soaring through the sky in a wingsuit, grapple hooking around an industrial park, racing cars into fuel tanks, or surfing a jet into an enemy encampment. Many of these crazy possibilities were realized in the previous installment of the series, but Just Cause 3 uses the power of the new consoles to ratchet up the destructive craziness to a glorious height, and looks even better doing it.
When you’re not off causing wanton hysteria or admiring the gorgeous vistas as they transition from day to night and back again, the missions are fantastic distillations of what is possible in Medici. From high-speed chases to infiltrating enemy strongholds, the main missions are big in scope and perfectly paced (developer Avalanche Studios even manages to make escort missions fun), and completing them opens up quick, objective-based challenges which give you a deeper appreciation for the beauty and incredible diversity of the landscape. There are some hiccups: Loading times can sometimes be minutes long and wear down on your enthusiasm, and some missions require that you liberate a certain amount of settlements before they unlock. Liberating settlements is always a good time, but doing so is nearly identical from one to the next, so forcing you to complete several of these back to back naturally engenders a feeling of repetition.
When Just Cause 3 is at its best, though, it offers over-the-top entertainment with no equal. There are plenty of open worlds to explore in games nowadays, but none are as gleeful as this one. Grand Theft Auto and Fallout are a little too serious, Assassin’s Creed has its historical limitations, and Saints Row tries a little too hard, but Rico Rodriguez surfs a jet into that sweet spot where everything feels just right.