Not every review comes easy. After taking plenty of time to consider, and going back to try again I came to the same conclusion multiple times. I really, really, didn’t like Just Cause 3.
Look, we know going in that JC3 is meant to be tongue in cheek and kind of mindless. It is 90s b-action movie fun filtered through a modern videogame lense. That is great and fine. I actually didn’t mind anything the game was trying to do on the presentation end. The art direction is great, the gadgets and designs were cool, and the characters are cartoonish and fun. But more so than any open world game I’ve ever played, the story and narrative gets lost really fast We play as Rico from the previous games in the series on his homecoming to liberate the island he grew up on from a brutal dictator. And that’s about as far as I could follow. We meet up with old friends, experience some cliche betrayals and kill bad guys by the thousands in hilarious and relatively fun ways. The problems come with the technicals and the fact that the fun of the aimless destruction wears thing rather fast when you realize that things never get more interesting than the sandbox you are presented with 20 minutes or so in.
As stated above, while the art direction and visual work is great, the problems hit hard when the game slows down to a sub 20fps chug the more you try to play in that sandbox. Frequent crashes and freezes plagued even the most standard missions, short draw distances severely impact the visual fidelity, and texture pop in uglied up some already rough edges. Maybe if the game were more stable the destructible environments would have been fun fr longer than a few hours, but the issues here tanked the game for me.
Just Cause 3’s soundtrack is surprisingly the better part of the title as a whole. The music is fun and invigorating, but ultimately drowned out by some truly abysmal voice over work and questionable sound effect quality.
A game where you can go around an entire island, fight an evil government force, and destroy literally everything should be countless hours of mindless fun. Unfortunately Just Cause 3 falls flat where it’s predecessors succeeded. Open world games need stability and at least some amount of narrative world building to keep you hooked in. Everything needed to make Just Cause 3 the kind of game you come back to years later, like its predecessors, is just gone. And while the art direction and soundtrack are fantastic the game itself is rocky to say the least. Hopefully Avalanche Studios and Square Enix can continue with the IP and apply the good while learning from the bad with the next game in the Just Cause series.