Just Cause 3 Preview
Just Cause is one of those franchises that, on the surface, always seemed bombastically amazing. Each title boasted open-world insanity the likes of which we’ve never seen before but in my estimation, each effort felt the frustrating yoke of unreliable controls and surprisingly uninspired environments. The latter is more of a subjective complaint, of course, but there’s no doubt that the gameplay has never been tight or refined. This should be developer Avalanche Studios’ #1 priority for the upcoming Just Cause 3 and if they can nail down the control, it should prove to be quite the off-the-wall experience.
Before we dive into the details, I strongly advise everyone to first check out the screenshots. A more jaw-dropping set of pics you won’t likely soon see, and not necessarily due to the visual fidelity. No, this is more about what the enduring franchise protagonist, Rico, is doing in these screenshots. There are some pictures that just defy logic and explanation. Some make you laugh and go, “what?!” This is what I mean about a fantastic balls-to-the-wall concept; the IP in question has always had the same idea, but the designers have never quite delivered. But can you imagine the craziness if they do happen to produce a AAA gem this time around…?
Rico is older now; the developers say he has “significantly aged” since the events in Just Cause 2 and that’s apparent in the screenshots. He typically visits sun-splashed island vistas and that won’t change for the new installment; Rico heads to the fictional Mediterranean archipelago of Medici. Yeah, the Mediterranean is awfully nice, isn’t it? But in this particular string of islands, the wacked-out General Di Ravello has enforced his rule and he needs to be brought down. It reminds me of the Far Cry setups, actually. Once you’ve identified the threat, Rico will parachute in and embark on another death-defying adventure.
He’ll have several new items and abilities and this includes a revamped grappling hook. The latter tool was a staple in the last title but now, the hook can snag onto just about any object, which means endless environmental-based fun. Plus, he gets a wingsuit that will propel him through the air at outrageous speeds (again, reminiscent of the most recent Far Cry). He’ll take good advantage of such tools because the virtual world he explores will be pretty massive; Avalanche says the map is about 400 square miles in size. They say it really isn’t that much bigger than Just Cause 2 but it’s a lot more detailed, which we’d expect.
As for those questionable controls, the developers claim they’ve been “retooled” and they’re now a great deal tighter. That’s really what I wanted to hear. On top of which, the driving segments in the game will be better due to contributions from former Burnout designers, so it seems like they’ve got their bases covered. If the controls are reliable and better than functional, I’ll be psyched. Now, as everyone knows, these games have always thrived on the single-player component. If you’re hoping for a multiplayer portion, however, you might be disappointed, as the game will not feature any multiplayer modes at launch. It remains a possibility down the road, though, depending on how gamers react to this open-world smorgasbord.
Avalanche seems to be headed in just the right direction for Just Cause 3, which is scheduled to launch for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC this holiday season. One last piece of good news: They’ve already confirmed that the game will not feature any microtransactions of any kind. Okay, now I’m even more excited.
2/11/2015 Ben Dutka