When I was 8, I stood across the street from a controlled demolition of a house near my own home. Even then, I knew that there was something amusing about explosions, something that reaches back into the part of our brain that has yet to evolve from the caveman era. “Just Cause 3” awakens that part me, as I travel to a new island full of things to destroy and technical issues to overcome.
From the moment I arrived on the Mediterranean Island of Medici, I had one goal: the death of megalomaniacal dictator Sebastiano Di Ravello and the destruction of everything that belonged to his military. This is the foundation of the “Just Cause” games, and I’m glad to see that the developers didn’t impose any major restrictions on the player’s ability to stop playing for the story and start exploring the corners of the world for things to destroy.
The destruction process has actually been streamlined somewhat for the new game. Series protagonist Rico Rodriguez is given an unlimited supply of explosives, these can only be deployed a few at a time, as well as a wingsuit to facilitate the travel from one fuel depot to another. There is no longer any quick time event sequence for hijacking a helicopter or tank, either. Just press a button and you have a shiny new piece of hardware. It all helps to help keep the explosions coming and the action exciting.
What definitely doesn’t help with that, however, are the numerous technical issues that I experienced while playing the game. The game frequently froze for periods of thirty seconds to a minute, lagged when the action got really intense and occasionally transmitted sounds from the darkest corners of hell into my earbuds. This will all hopefully get patched, but it’s downright awful for a AAA release in 2015.
The voice actors have all gotten better, though it’s hard to imagine it getting worse than “Just Cause 2,” when characters sounded like Yosemite Sam and Speedy Gonzalez. The new government broadcast, “The General’s News Network,” is very funny in its brief reports. It’s introduced early on as, “the only legal source of current events,” and the celebrity-turned-hostage that voices it is forced to attempt to explain away all the destruction. It’s a fun way for the player to keep track of their progress, and I looked forward to the broadcast every time I took down a naval port or an army base.
Unfortunately, the sheer size of Medici works against the game, because there’s nothing to do when you’re traveling from one location to another. Too many times, I found myself pointing my helicopter or jet in the direction I wanted to go and pulling out my phone so I could do something while waiting. The player should never have to resort to another piece of entertainment while playing a video game.
There are other design issues that bothered me. Every region has a massive military base that serves as a command center and has a special defense, such as an EMP cannon or a fleet of jets. In the latter example, though, I ran into a base that kept trying to destroy me with airstrikes, regardless of where I was or what valuable equipment I was standing next to. I hardly had to waste a bullet as I flew past radar towers and fuel tanks and watched them blow up about a hundred yards behind me.
“Just Cause 3” is a difficult game to review because when it’s at its best, such as me in an attack chopper and setting it loose on an oil rig, it’s some of the most fun I’ve had this year. Everything in between, however, fails to match that level of quality. Great times can be had with “Just Cause 3,” but my recommendation is to wait for a major patch before picking this one up.
Edward Pankowski is the life editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.