Replay Value:
Overall Rating:
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Square Enix
Avalanche Studios
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
December 1, 2015

There’s something vaguely primal and undeniably appealing about Just Cause 3 . Its unabashed insistence on itself – specifically, on the brainless part that gets off on endless explosions – is what makes it so alluring. You know those silly rubber balls people used to squeeze to rid themselves of stress? The latest over-the-top, high-flying adventure from Avalanche Studios is a rubber ball three stories high, weighing about ten tons. The best part is that you feel so damn powerful when playing that you know you can still squeeze that mammoth ball. Unrealistic yet unmitigated power sits at the core of this experience and despite the lack of substance, it’s still enjoyable.

I’ve never liked dark, drab, very industrial-like locations in my video games, which is why I’m partial to the sun-splashed insanity of Medici. It’s bright, sunny, and just begging to be destroyed. Little things, like the detail found in exploding oil tankers or the particle effects that light up your screen, make this production a visual feast for the eyes. Now, granted, when everything calms down and you really start to focus on the technical elements without the benefit of showy effects, the game isn’t as impressive. You’ll notice some merely average textures, for instance (though hardly uncommon in huge open-world adventures), and I’m just not the biggest fan of the character design. But really, you won’t spend much time overanalyzing the visual presentation.

And that’s because everything is so crazy, you’re always caught up in the whirlwind that is Just Cause 3 . Powerful audio cements that experience, delivering hard-hitting impacts and the crackling, satisfying fire that often follows any big explosion. I think the effects can sometimes go a little screwy when the world is alight with impossible events; the cacophony can seem a tad muddled. But given the sheer amount of action on screen, one has to commend the audio because for the most part, it remains stable and crisp throughout. The voice performances are solid as well, even though I’ve never liked Rico. All in all, if you’re playing this game on a nice big TV with an excellent pair of headphones, you’re in for an unparalleled joyride.

From the start, you know you’re going to have fun. It begins with a cover of The Prodigy’s “Firestarter” – apt, no? – and plays over clips of Rico going berserk and pulling off insane stunts. As time moves on, you’ll find out that you have to oust dictator General Di Ravello and of course, simply by way of the “dictator” label, you know this guy is bad news. You embark on a series of quests with this goal in mind, occasionally taking a sightseeing tour just ‘cuz it’s so much fun to do, or tackling some optional side missions. The entire package is relatively well put together, with the exception of some repetitive and uninspired missions, and the island of Medici is chock full of things to do. At some point, you start to wonder if any big-budget action movie has even approached this level of absurdity but then something blows up and you stop caring.