Tedious scavenger hunts and constant playback errors make Just Cause 3 extremely disappointing. The same amount of chaos is here and your tools are better than ever. It’s the way the game requires you to progress through the destruction that sours the deal. What should feel like a constant thrill ride ends up as a speed bump. The highs are few and far between and this game completely turned me off.
Rico has returned to his stomping ground, a land now ruled by a malicious dictator. The connected islands look amazing and there is a ton of area to explore. You fly in on the top of an airplane as you rain down rockets on the enemies below. It’s a great start that rarely gets rivaled throughout the game. Your task is to take down enemy control points by blowing up enough of them. When the action is moving quickly the game can be a real treat but the ways to go about taking on these control points are a huge bummer.
Instead of gating your progression through the amount of chaos you’ve caused you are now required to destroy certain objects. When taking on a stronghold you will be given a list of items found throughout that need to be blown up. It ends up being everything that can be destroyed basically and these are all color coated for you to find. The major downside is that instead of being able to just go nuts, you have to complete a scavenger hunt for these objects. This lead me to - many times - simply flying a helicopter around in circles as I ‘pixel hunted’ my way through. Instead of unleashing a torrent of chaos and eruptions, I had to slowly run around searching. This causes the core concept of Just Cause 3 to be greatly hampered.
Another of Just Cause 3’s downfalls is how it limits the gear you have access to. The new abilities, addition of the wingsuit, etc. are all fantastic but increasing their usefulness is locked behind challenge events. If you are somone who usually avoids these typically mundane missions then this is will be a major upset. There are a good variety to these challenges and luckily you don’t need to ace each one to progress. There are tiers of completion for each one and the rewards stack towards the upgrade requirements. This is great if you aren’t really into challenge missions. However, if you are solely playing this game for the open ended destruction and firefights then having to play through a bunch of these side missions can be a huge annoyance.
At least the upgrades are truly fantastic and almost make up for the tedious unlock process. For example: better flight control, a stronger grappling hook, more grenades, etc. will require you to complete specific side challenges such as races, wingsuit courses, etc. The gear you have available to you can allow for a lot of fun. Just being able tether multiple objects together and reel them in towards one another allows you to be deadly even without a weapon. The addition of the flight suit makes traversing the area much quicker and exciting. Just like adding nitrous to helicopters and a jump to your boats is great fun too. Avalanche has given you a lot of diverse tools to create some awesome destruction.
My time with Just Cause 3 was spent with the PS4 version of the game and it has been noted online that the console versions experience a good deal of problems. It’s real disappointing that, in a game designed around the concept of ‘explode everything,’ the frame rate drops significantly when things do. The game even slowed down on me when the destruction got too massive. And although it made me feel like I was causing so much damage that my system couldn’t take it, it definitely takes you out of the moment. Along with this, the load times are insanely long. On many multiple occasions I was experience upwards of five minute long loads. Tackling side challenges are almost unplayable since starting/replaying to do better becomes a fifteen minute ordeal. Not only does Just Cause 3 run poorly during its best moments, it takes forever to even get you into the game.
As a huge fan of Just Cause 2, it was heartbreaking leaving this installment unfinished. Playing through the game is a constant reminder of how broken and tedious it has become. Awful frame rate and terrible load times become infuriating and will drive you away. What should be a grand, chaotic time when tacking on the enemy base becomes a slow and boring scavenger hunt for the few remaining destructible objects. It is unfortunate that you can’t lose yourself in any of the fun while trying to progress through Just Cause 3.