Just Cause is a series that has always been hit or miss with me. I played the first game for a solid hour before I put it down and haven't touched it since. Just Cause 2, however, I played for hours on end. I loved the combination of main protagonist Rico Rodriguez's grappling hook and parachute. Just Cause 3 expands on the incredible movement system, and a few other aspects, but technical shortcomings hold back an otherwise enjoyable experience.
The most important question always comes first - What is Just Cause 3? Just Cause 3 is an open world action game where you play as long-time protagonist, Rico Rodriguez. Rico assists the rebels of the island of Medici to free themselves of the ruthless dictator, Di Ravello. Here's the issue with this - the story is bland. Just Cause 3 attempts to make you care about the characters, like Mario, Rico's childhood friend who is now leading The Rebellion, but falls short. Each character has some cheesy one-liners, but most are carbon copy cutouts of generic roles. The goofy one, the serious one, the one who doesn't want to be there, and so on.
Luckily, Just Cause 3 makes up for the bland story with its gameplay. Using the grappling hook to zip around the world is a blast, and it's even faster with the parachute and wing suit. It's easy to do and hard to master, and I really felt like Rico was learning how to use the wingsuit himself as well, instead of being an expert who is doomed at the hands of whomever has the controller.
The main story is 30 hours of go here, blow this up, protect this person, steal this car, kill that person, blow up this base. This isn't an awful thing, however, as the very nature of the game is to be a blank slate where you can choose to get the objective done as creatively as you see fit. The newly added tether is a great addition, allowing you to hook 2 things together from distance, and pull them into each other. With upgrades, you can eventually hook up to 6 things together, causing loads of destruction.
The upgrade system is simple, if not a bit of a grind. Players upgrade their equipment and vehicles by doing small mini-games and side quests. These usually involve shooting targets in the quickest time possible, (a recreation of the movie Speed, where the player must drive a vehicle over 40km/hr or it explodes), races, or sky diving challenges. These are fun and interesting the first few times, but quickly get repetitive.
More often than not, I found myself believing that Just Cause 3 is supposed to resemble 80's B-list action movies. Rico can take a comical amount of bullets before you even start to think you might die. When you are only a few bullets away from death, everything in the environment turns gray, except for the enemies, giving you the final chance to either flee from or engage the enemies shooting at you. Death is inconsistent though, as I sometimes die from the exploding helicopter I happen to be hooked to the bottom of, while other times, being in the exact same position, I won't die and simply fall instead. Luckily, health can also be upgraded.
The island of Medici is gigantic and gorgeous, but size doesn't matter if you don't use it correctly. The sightseeing is incredible. Everything from the beaches to the snowy mountain peaks are absolutely beautiful. Sadly, though, the world is not filled with much and is just used as a way for Rico to get around easily. Town's and cities are repetitive set pieces, and I can never remember what any location looks like because they simply are not interesting enough.
The destruction is incredible. Not everything is able to explode, but many, many things can. Throwing cows at helicopters with the tether and putting land mines on a jeep and driving them into a base are just 2 of the incredible combinations that players can do. I've strapped proximity mines to goats and pushed them into the street, only for a passing convoy to take a huge hit. I've pulled huge gas tanks onto others, and created a domino effect of explosions. On the Xbox One version, which is what I played, the frame rate can stutter and slow down greatly during huge fights with lots of explosions. However, I have heard the PC version is better.
When all is said and done, I couldn't bring myself to dislike Just Cause 3, despite all of its flaws. 7/10 certainly isn't bad, and I still find myself playing Just Cause 3 pretty often, and returning to the island of Medici to cause some havoc.