Just Cause 4 Review: Saved by New Features, Not It’s Map

By | 17/12/2018

Just Cause 4 Post Feature Image


Just Cause 4 may not be one of this year’s most highly anticipated titles however that’s only because 2018 has been a tough year for a contender however the Just Cause 4 map is lacking in some areas such as rich details and great side missions and activities with Just Cause 4 new features being the thing that just about saves it.

The release of titles such as Red Dead Redemption II, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Marvel’s Spider-Man has potentially overshadowed the release of some titles which are just as interesting and deserve the same amount of respect but may not necessarily have the same budgets for a marketing powerhouse behind them.

Coming from Avalanche Studios (The Hunter: Call of the Wild, Mad Max, Rage 2) once again and published by games industry super-publisher Square Enix, Just Cause 4 seems to be settling in nicely alongside its predecessors and although the game has had to contend with super-massive AAA titles during this Christmas period, Square Enix sees Just Cause as a series just as good as any other with Square Enix CEO, Phil Rogers citing Just Cause as a “major franchise” just as good as any other [1].

However, some popular online gaming websites have raised concerns with the game’s initial bugs and poor PC performance [2] with one website even calling the game a “failure” of old ideas [3].

Popular game sites such as Gamespot and IGN have cited Just Cause 4 as being an initially good game with excellent mechanics such as the Kinetic Movement System and great physics allowing you to affect the environment but the story and characters leaving a lot to be desired:

Just Cause 4 once again sees Rico Rodriguez wreak carnage and mayhem in a vast, South American inspired, open-world area set against the backdrop of a political coup by long time enemy, the private military contractor known as The Black Hand.

The game starts by introducing Rico’s latest adversary Gabriela Morales via a briefing explaining the actions and whereabouts of Rico, who has been missing until now.

Rico has been positively identified as being present in a fictional South American country known as Solis, where the rest of the game takes place.

Just Cause 4 Gabriela

Immediately noticeable when starting as Rico is that the graphics are not as wholly representative of a modern-day action game as they could be, with games such as Marvel’s Spider-Man and Far Cry 5 being comparatively superior is their visual fidelity.

Although the graphics aren’t bad, items such as distance scaling and anti-aliasing are way better with the PC version, with the game’s graphics engine and the power of modern consoles PlayStation 4 and Xbox One being seemingly under-utilized.

Please watch the graphics comparison video (courtesy of Candyland) below for more understanding.

The console versions’ distinct lack of LOD over distance (anisotropic filtering) and advanced Post FX rendering techniques makes the game appear years old with visuals and a graphics engine more akin to Watch Dogs and Max Payne 3, which is a shockingly overlooked and missed opportunity to convey the beauty of such a potentially rich open-world experience.

Just Cause 4 Rico in World

Yet another disappointment regarding the potential of the open world is that there isn’t enough to do aside from the main story.

The potential of the world is just, for lack of a better word, lost. Yes there are detailed structures, many towns and cities with plenty of vehicles and inhabitants, and apart from the conveniently placed explosive barrels and fuel tanks to aid you in combat, the buildings just feel like wooden sets with the primary purpose of serving as a platform for attaching a grappling hook to and then launching off of.

Just Cause 4 Launcher

That being said, the Kinetic Movement System, as always, is a great tool in this game and is utilized beautifully when you either need it and/or want it and with the ability to upgrade your grappling hook, the fun only increases:

  • Air Lifters; use balloons to send things into the air.
  • Retractors; pull multiple targets together.
  • Boosters; speed targets away with jet engines.

These grappling hook mods can be customized to make them stronger, faster, more adaptable, or increase altitude, but they require you to complete some of the game’s lackluster side missions in order to unlock, ironically having you engage in the only combat where you may benefit from the upgrades.

However, one saving grace of the game is that the combat is awesome; for example, using your parachute to glide in on unsuspecting enemies and then taking them out with automatic weapons and nicely placed gas tanks is, well, a blast!

Just Cause 4 Combat

There are many weapons in the game including your standard fare assault rifles, pistols, and close-range weapons. Being a Just Cause title, however, this time around things have been taken up a notch or two as the game has some pretty exotic experimental weaponry:

  • Lightning Gun; fires a lightning bolt.
  • Railgun; fires an electrical metal bolt.
  • Wind Cannon; mounted air blaster found in Black Hand facilities.

Combat is as to be expected, with the best firefights taking place during some of the main story’s most memorable action sequences which will allow you to utilize all of your gadgets to extremely satisfying effect, being limited only by your imagination and your boldness in combat.

On top of that, a lot of the game’s gadgets and weaponry coincide extremely well, such as using your Retractors to bring together some enemies and a conveniently placed fuel tank as you open fire upon said fuel tank causing an immense explosion (and thus killing anyone in the immediate vicinity) as you simultaneously zip out of the area with a well placed grappling hook and open parachute!

However there is another weapon you can utilize, and it turns out that the best weapon in Just Cause 4 may perhaps be Mother Nature herself.

Watch the impressive physics and weather system in effect in the video below:

The gameplay experience throughout is overlaid with some light musical score which heightens and quickens in reaction to the situation at hand, but merely fails to capture the intensity of a situation when all the action kicks off; the meager and somber tones with the seemingly random techno samples fail to lift the combat experience.

The music here is just so dull and low that while engaged in fierce combat, for the most part you won’t even notice that the track is there which, again, is a shame since the combat really is the only great part of Just Cause 4’s experience which, once the story has ended, seems like it needs some serious DLC treatment as the side missions are few and far between and just aren’t good enough.

So, don’t despair, as there’s good news because Square Enix has announced DLC’s are  coming:

There will be 3 DLC packs that we know of and for the most part, the sound very interesting:

  1. Dare Devils; a racing based expansion which will see Rico establish himself as an underground racing legend while taking on Solis’s gangs.
  2. Demons; a supernatural-themed expansion having Rico battle an ancient demonic force.
  3. Danger; Technology and item-based expansion which has Rico utilizing “advanced technology, secret weapons and specially trained operatives”.

Whether there will be more DLC packs after these initial three remains, as of yet, undisclosed.

Ready for some insane action? Just Cause 4 is available with a 24% discount now for PC from CD Keys

A Good Action Title that Deserves More

On the whole, Just Cause 4 is not a bad game, it just isn’t a great one either, and that’s such a shame.

The modern-day open-world game absolutely needs a richly detailed world and the inclusion of great side missions and activities, especially ones that feature intuitive inclusion of the game’s own mechanics, systems, gadgets and gameplay.

The fact that Avalanche Studios haven’t paid attention to this glaring detail highlights the developer’s focus on the main story and combat sequences plus the new weather system and physics, which for the most part, all of which are amazing. But the fact that they have included such a small amount of action on such a large world map only forces me to conclude that perhaps the entire premise of Just Cause 4 may have been better served as a linear story-based actioner where more of the in-game experiences could have been focused properly rather than scattered throughout an uninspiring, massive game world.

And this is a problem because one of the game’s best features, the grappling hook upgrades, requires you to complete some of these “go there”, “do that”, “escort him” missions and they just aren’t any fun. I really don’t know why these upgrades couldn’t have just been available from the start rather than forcing you to traverse the world.

However, the petty interesting story and well thought out characters save Just Cause 4 from being a bad game. The secret history of Rico’s father, the desperation of The Agency and the hero to villain dynamic between Rico and Gabriela plays out excellently in what could have been a terrible game.

Just Cause 4 isn’t going to win game of the year, and it has missed some targets, but for the most part, it is a good game and one that is well worth buying, if not for the highly entertaining weather system alone, something never before seen in a major video game production and for a die-hard Just Cause fan, it certainly is one for your collection, even if it isn’t as good as the previous 2 incarnations.

This is just my opinion but I would love to hear what you guys think down below in the comments section as I’m sure this AAA title will divide gamers completely.

Square Enix’s Just Cause 4 is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

Just Cause 4 PC System Requirements

MINIMUM for Just Cause 4

  • OS: Windows 7 SP1 with Platform Update for Windows 7 (64-bit versions only)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2400 @ 3.1 GHz | AMD FX-6300 @ 3.5 GHz or better
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 760 (2GB VRAM or better) | AMD R9 270 (2GB VRAM or better)
  • DirectX: DirectX 11.1
  • HDD/SSD: 59 GB

RECOMMENDED for Just Cause 4

  • OS: Windows 10 (64-bit versions only)
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4770 @ 3.4 GHz | AMD Ryzen 5 1600 @ 3.2 GHz or equivalent
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 (6GB VRAM or better) | AMD Vega 56 (6GB VRAM or better)
  • DirectX: DirectX 11.1
  • HDD/SSD: 59 GB

Article References

  1. Avalanche Studios“. Wikipedia. Retrieved 15/12/2018.
  2. Just Cause 4 Patch Aims to Fix Crashes and Major Performance Problems“. PC Gamer. Retrieved 15/12/2018.
  3. Just Cause 4 Review: A Tired Retread of Old Ideas“. Polygon. Retrieved 16/12/2018.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Just Cause 4 Review Score




2 thoughts on “Just Cause 4 Review: Saved by New Features, Not It’s Map

  1. Philip

    Hi Michael,

    I just found out, on the sly, what someone I know wants for their Jan B-day – Just Cause 4! This article is great and gives me all the info I need. Forgive me Michael but what is the price of that game?

    I don’t know how anyone can process all that game data in their heads and still NOT get killed i n 2 seconds flat! I get stressed if I try to play these games – they are so and too advanced for me. For me to get good at them it would require the effort like a full time job.

    SO, I am leaving it to others. Shame, – I used to love playing games but I have fallen behind with all these games like Just Cause 4 for the PlayStation.

    Thanks again Michael and I have book marked your site to check for new content regularly – much appreciated.

  2. Michael Gore Post author

    Thanks for commenting Phil.

    The price of Just Cause 4 varies from platform to platform:


    Just Cause 4 is indeed a title with a lot going on as the Just Cause series is known for and these games do require some effort on the part of the player. However, as complicated as they can look, you will probably be comfortable after around one hour of playing and most games come with in depth tutorial and/or introductory missions.



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