Rakuen Reviews: Just Cause 3

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Rakuen Growlithe
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Rakuen Reviews: Just Cause 3

#1

Post by Rakuen Growlithe »

I really loved Just cause 2 and sank way too many hours into that than I should have so I was really excited for Just Cause 3. It's still a lot of fun to watch everything explode and make your way around by hijacking whatever takes your fancy but there are also a number of things that were done worse than in Just Cause 2 and some that are just odd.

==Gameplay==

The first thing you might notice is that the game has been dumbed down in a number of ways. There's no longer any health bar; Rico is, to a large extent, invincible. Sure, you'll die if you get shot too often too quickly or are too close to a particularly large explosion but if you're about to die you just need to duck behind cover for a few seconds to be completely fine. It makes things even easier than they were in Just Cause 2 because it's as if you're playing with cheats by default.

Hacking and hijacking now happen automatically. I've seen someone put this as a positive but what it really means is there's no real skill. When you had to match the pattern you could mess up or you could get faster. Now, no matter how good you are, it doesn't matter. I want my own skill to actually matter in the game and have the ability to get better! This prevents that.

The minimap has also been removed. The major drawback is it's now a lot harder to locate enemies. In Just Cause 2, I depended on the minimap to tell me where enemy cars and helicopters were coming from. Helicopters in particular are hard to spot before they are on top of you. I'd actually bet that this was removed out of laziness so that enemies can now just spawn out of view instead of arriving from somewhere like in Just Cause 2.

In Just Cause 2 if you grapple but nothing is in range, you see your hook shoot to nowhere then retract. Here the game strictly controls what you can target and won't even let you fire your hookshot if there isn't a valid target! I am Rico Rodriguez! I don't need that kind of babysitting!

One part of dumbing down that is actually nice is that, when you are in a settlement, you are shown a list of structures that need to be destroyed to liberate it. Knowing what you are looking for can save a lot of time.

A big plus in Just Cause 3 are random missions that pop up. You could be driving and suddenly need to free a captured soldier or assassinate an informant. I've also been asked to open a rusted gate so they're not all vital for the cause. In this I'm including some nice roadside events like coming across broken down cars, ambulances at accidents and ambushed military vehicles. I once found one with a triple missile rocket launcher!

==Rico==

Rico seems to have let himself go since Just Cause 2 because his athletic ability has taken quite a hit. He can no longer roll to avoid gunfire, has forgotten how to move while on top of a car and can't even sprint. The inability to sprint and the lack of a dodge roll makes the combat feel really sluggish as you either have to grapple back and forth constantly (Good luck keeping track where everyone is without a minimap) or look pretty stupid as you prance through a hail of lead.

His vehicle skills are roughly the same, although now he's learned to engage autopilot while hanging around outside of flying vehicles. One thing I find really odd about cars is Rico's invincibility aura. I thought the people of Panau just knew how to make good cars but even here Rico can drive down mountainsides, cliffs, through walls and so many other things that should really kill him (but which we're glad don't). Strangely enough other cars will explode at the slightest provocation. Drive down the road and smash into a wall, you'll be fine. Bump an NPC car into a wall and it will instantly become a fiery ball of death. How does that work? I've also just brushed against cars and sent them shooting into the air, so who knows what physics they obey.

Your grapple abilities get a nice upgrade with the ability to tether multiple objects together and retract the tethers. This is a cheap alternative to finding explosives for statues and larger destructible objects. There are other changes that make less sense. You can now grapple towards an enemy and deliver a flying kick. It looks cool but at times I miss the ability to grapple and pull enemies to their death. I don't always want to be in the middle of things! The worst change to the grapple system is that hooking a vehicle no longer removes the parachute but acts as if you gripped the land. It's a small niggle but it makes quick hijackings a bit more difficult.

==NPCs==

NPCs are, overall, better. Enemies are smarter and there's the ability to stop them calling for backup. You are warned when the authorities can see you and if you do anything out of sight they won't react. On the negative side, that includes sniping them from a distance. When they do see you they won't hold back and will even send in tanks and battleships, both of which have powerful rockets that can kill in one hit. Hijacking a tank solves nearly all your problems though. Related to that, if you hack SAM sites they will shoot down any enemy helicopters and the enemies make no attempt to destroy or reprogramme them.

While on combat I want to refer back to my comment about enemies just spawning and so the need to hide the minimap. If you liberate a settlement, all enemies will be instantly removed and friendly units placed in the appropriate spots. This is one of the most jarring aspects of the game. I've raised the rebel flag and had an entire army that were about to kill me disappear. It saved me but it felt wrong. How is that no one is there to help me on isolated oil rig then, in seconds, the rebels are everywhere? Do not spawn NPCs like that! Make them travel to locations or at least wait until I leave the area.

Citizens in Medici are weird. They all recognise Rico (unlike the soldiers who are also local) but don't mind him murdering or hijacking them. Yeah, I've killed more than a few for various reasons. They still run from gunfire but get on their cars and you can shoot to your heart's content without them ever leaving. They also have no qualms about running you over. Even shooting at their car won't discourage them much.

The rebels will now tell you stories from time to time. It adds a richness to the world but if I have to hear about the stupid cow at the shoot out one more time...

==Performance==

Medici looks beautiful. I had to get some extra ram to stop some annoying stutters but if I lower the resolution I can enjoy 60 fps. What I don't enjoy is how distant textures become a mess of triangles. Yes, I have an AMD graphics card and Just Cause 3 doesn't play nice with them. Frankly, it's unacceptable that the game was released with such a massive bug and they have had more than enough time to patch it. It's not game breaking but it looks horrible, particularly in a helicopter or driving in certain areas where the distances involved become large.

Some people complain about loading times and, while it takes a while to start up, once you're in there's not really any load times at all. Mostly in-game loading is for specific missions and you can still move from region to region with no problems. I'm not quite sure where the complaints are coming from.

==Final word==

It's still a lot of fun but it's simpler and easier than Just Cause 2. There are a couple bugs but the AMD graphics bug is too serious to ignore. If that were fixed, I would give Just Cause 3 a thumbs up but until then it's a thumbs down.
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