In the week before PAX Australia I was invited to an exclusive look at Just Cause 3 at Square Enix’s Sydney office. Hosting the session was Avalanche Studios’ game director Roland Lesterlin and producer Omar Shakir.
I’m a great fan of the Just Cause games. The first one blew me away, really showing of what would become the future of sandbox gaming. The second game raised the bar when it comes to physics simulation and player-driven activities in video games. With a loose plot, but hundreds of activities and potential for mayhem,Just Cause 2 is a game that I’ve found myself returning to time after time over the last five years.
For the third instalment, Avalanche have taken everything that made the previous games great and turned it up to eleven. In harnessing the power of the new-gen consoles and modern PCs, they’ve been able to give players the tools to create a gaming experience like none other.
After a brief intro session whereby the pair of developers pretty much confirmed that the focus of Just Cause 3 was to find new and exciting ways to spectacularly blow stuff up, we were lead into the preview room to try the game running on PC.
The Just Cause games follow the adventures of Rico Rodrigues, a special agent with a speciality of toppling Latino dictators. Using an arsenal of weapons, equipment and vehicles, Rico’s adventures are the closest thing that you can get to an interactive action movie, complete with over-the-top Hollywood-style explosions.
Rico’s trademark grapple has been updated allowing multiple lines to be attached to object to drag, hang and pull objects, vehicles and people about. With the touch of a button lines can be tensioned to cause some extra carnage.
New for this entry is the wingsuit, providing Rico with a rapid form of aerial transport that is absolutely breath-taking. Using the wingsuit with a grapple and the returning parachute (which has been slowed down to allow for better aerial gunplay), Rico can stay aloft almost indefinitely. The wingsuit is influenced by ground effect allowing player to fly inches from the landscape for a real adrenaline rush.
The game features incredible destructible environments that include huge concrete bridges, installations and even a working train system that’s crying out to be derailed. Top that off with hackable gun turrets- that can be airlifted (whilst firing on the enemy) and you have everything you need to free Rico’s homeland of Medici from the tyranny of General Di Ravello.
Or, as I did with my partner-in-crime, game producer, Omar Shakir, inadvertently kill a goat with the grappling hook and tie the poor creature’s corpse to a passing car, watching in awe as it drove out of sight with the goat bouncing behinds it. Little things, indeed.
Just Cause 3 is one of those games that really get you thinking. Sure, you could go in guns blazing and take out all the enemies, but wouldn’t it be better to fling a fuel tanker at them or drop a destroyer on their base? Watching a well-orchestrated bit of destruction is guaranteed to get you smiling from ear to ear, as I did taking out a massive bridge with some carefully-placed limpet mines.
I had great fun with Just Cause 3 and I’m sure you will to, it really embraces the legacy of the previous games and distils everything that made them great into a truly unique experience. Watch out for my review soon.
Just Cause 3 is in the shops and available for download on December 1 for Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. In the meantime, check out the amazing 4K video of the game in action on PC, below.