Rico Rodriguez is back in Just Cause 4, an action-adventure game on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Just Cause 4 is developed by Avalanche Studios, a small team of 100 people, and published by Square Enix. Combining all the elements of the previous three games and incorporates several gameplay improvements.
Improvements include a rich and diverse world, four completely distinct biomes, and an upgraded arsenal of weapons. Are these upgrades enough to help differentiate Just Cause 4 from other games in the series? Let’s find out!
Just Cause 4 Details
Welcome to Solis
In Just Cause 4 you once again assume the role of Rico Rodriguez, a former agent of the CIA and The Agency. The game takes place after the events of Just Cause 3 in a South American nation called Solis. Determined to discover the truth around the circumstances of his father’s death, Rico encounters a militaristic regime that controls Solis.
Known as the Black Hand, this evil regime has become a powerful threat. With advanced technology gained from the eDEN Corporation, the Black Hand are continuing to develop this powerful technology, which allows them to control and manipulate weather. In order to fight against the Black Hand, you must gather an army of soldiers to start your own rebellion before going in to destroy the powerful weather-manipulation technology.
Something I noticed after about 30 minutes of playing, which is different from previous games in the series, is that all the story telling isn’t done through cutscenes. Now you must gather information from exploring the world and piece it all together. I really liked this change and it encourages you to explore rather than just rush through things.
Traditional gameplay with new features
The world in where you play in is the biggest yet in the series. It covers an area of 100 square kilometers and is diverse. You adventure will bring you through tropical forests, deserts, snow and plains. If you’ve played Just Cause 3, you’ll be familiar with your methods of transportation around the world. These include cars, trucks, boats and helicopters.
If you are traveling by land, don’t expect a walk in the park. While driving one of these vehicles, I instantly noticed that control and handling has been improved over previous games. Furthermore, certain vehicles now have abilities. For example, Just Cause 4 has a helicopter with a huge magnet that allows you to pickup other vehicles as objects.
Fan favourites such as the wingsuit, parachute and grappling hook return for Just Cause 4. Your grappling hook now comes with 10 active tethers, which allow you to lift, pull or push as hard as you want. Rocket boosters return and this time you don’t have to be next to an object to place them. I really liked that each of the 10 active tethers can be customized to function just about any way you want. For example, you can choose to release one or all tethers at once.
A big change brought into Just Cause 4 is the new extreme weather system. And, it’s not just eye candy—it actually alters gameplay. Essentially there are four different types of extreme weather that you will encounter: tornadoes, sandstorms, thunderstorms, and blizzards.
Each of these different types of extreme weather have different effects. For example, tornadoes can rip airplanes right out of the sky and cause massive destruction on the ground. Furthermore, you can use these weather elements as weapons against your enemies.
One of my favourite ways to manipulate tornadoes is to take out the Black Hand’s wind cannons. You see, these cannons allow them to control the direction of tornadoes. Once you take them out or gain control, you can use the tornadoes to cause massive damage to your enemies.
Better gunplay and weapons
Another improvement included in Just Cause 4 is the gunplay and variety of weapons. Many of the game’s weapons include a secondary function like a sniper riffle, which shoots rockets. The Black Hand are a pretty well trained and cohesive group, which will not let you simply roll over them. So, you’ve got to be well equipped.
There are even weapons that incorporate the extreme weather conditions that you see in the game. My most-liked is the lightning gun, it shoots a lightning bolt and does massive damage to your enemies. Though my favourite thing about it is its secondary fire.
Triggering the secondary fire shoots out a storm grenade, which summons lightning strikes on nearby targets. Furthermore, lighting will randomly hit near the centre of where the storm grenade was thrown.
A new game engine that isn’t without some problems
When Avalanche Studios was developing Just Cause 4, they built a new Apex Engine for the game. While it does allow for some pretty neat physics to take place in the game and reduces loading times, it is not without its problems.
Playing on my PlayStation 4 Pro I experienced numerous instances of slowdown, and drastic drops in resolution. While these are not really deal breakers for playing the game, it is a bit disappointing to see things like this happen on the PlayStation 4 Pro and even Xbox One X.
Overall, the appeal to play Just Cause 4 won’t be because of its visuals. A recent patch just went out a few days ago, which did make things a bit better. However, I am hoping further updates can eliminate some of these issues altogether.
Just Cause 4 is an enjoyable adventure that has room for improvement
When I look back at my time spent with Just Cause 4, it’s mostly favourable. I really enjoyed the new extreme weather, exploring the massive new world, and the improved gunplay and weapons. However, the technical glitches are a letdown and although they have been improved via patches, there is still room for improvement.
In the end, if you love the ability to blow up just about everything in plain sight and partake in the mayhem that ensues, Just Cause 4 might just be for you.
+ Extreme weather conditions add a new element to gameplay
+ Loading times have been significantly reduced compared to previous games
+ Huge 100 square kilometer world to explore
+ Weapons have a secondary fire option
– Graphical glitches and bugs
– World can feel empty of enemies at times
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF JUST CAUSE 4
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 3.8/5 (76%)
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