Just Cause 4 may well not be one of the most anticipated games of the year, but that’s only because 2018 was a difficult year for contenders. Despite this, the Just Cause 4 map lacks some key components, such as rich details and exciting side missions and activities. Only the game’s new features come close to saving the game.
The launch of games like Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, and Marvel’s Spider-Man may have taken the highlight from other games that are as compelling and deserving of praise but may not have had the same resources for a marketing blitz.
Just Cause 4 appears to be blending in well with its predecessors, coming from Avalanche Studios (Rage 2, The Hunter: Call of the Wild, and Mad Max) and being published by super-publisher Square Enix. Despite the game having to compete with super-massive AAA games during this Christmas season, Square Enix sees Just Cause as a series just about as good as any other, with Square Enix CEO Phil Rogers citing Just Cause as a “major franchise” equally good compared to their previous.
A Strong Action Game Deserving of More
Just Cause 4 isn’t a terrible game, but it’s also not a terrific one, and that’s a real pity.
Modern open-world games must have a setting that is fully detailed and has fantastic side missions and diversions, particularly those that cleverly incorporate the game’s own gameplay, systems, mechanics, and gadgets.
The developer’s devotion to the primary narrative, battle sequences, new weather system, and physics, which are all, for the most part, great, is evident in Avalanche Studios’ neglect of this obvious element. But the fact that there is so little action on such a large world map only leads me to believe that the Just Cause 4 plot might have been better served as just a linear story where more in-game experiences could have been properly focused rather than dispersed throughout an uninspiring, enormous game world.
This is an issue since one of the better aspects of the game, the grappling line upgrades, calls for you to do a few of these tedious “go there,” “do that,” and “escort him” tasks. Why these enhancements couldn’t have been accessible right away rather than requiring you to travel the entire planet is something I truly don’t understand.
But Just Cause 4’s engaging plot and well-developed characters save it from becoming a boring game. What should have been a dreadful game is made much better by the hidden background of Rico’s father, the desperate nature of The Agency, and the hero-to-villain interplay between Rico and Gabriela.
Even though it isn’t as good as the first two iterations of the series, Just Cause 4 is still a good game and one that is worth buying. It won’t win a game of the year, and it has missed some goals, but overall it is a good game and one which is well worth buying, if only for the weather system, which is a highly entertaining addition that has never before been seen in a major video game production.
But several well-known gaming blogs have expressed worries about the game’s early glitches and poor PC performance, and one publication even referred to the game as a “failure” of outdated concepts.
Popular gaming websites like Gamespot & IGN have praised Just Cause 4 as having initially amazing gameplay like the Kinetic Movement Pattern and fantastic physics that let you impact the world, but with a disappointing plot and cast of characters.
A political coup by Rico Rodriguez’s longtime antagonist, the private defense contractor known as The Black Hand, is set against the background of Just Cause 4’s expansive, South American-inspired open-world setting.
The game opens with a briefing outlining Rico’s activities and current location before introducing Gabriela Morales, his most recent foe. Rico has been AWOL for some time.
Rico has been definitely recognized as existing in the remainder of the game’s setting, a made-up South American nation called Solis.
The game’s graphics engine and the capabilities of contemporary consoles like the Xbox One and PS4 seem to be under-utilized, despite the fact that the visuals aren’t poor and features like distance scaling & anti-aliasing are much better with the PC version.
The visuals are not as accurately indicative of a current action game as they might be, with titles like Marvel’s Spider-Man and Far Cry 5 being significantly greater in their visual quality. This is immediately apparent while playing as Rico.
A shockingly overlooked opportunity to convey the beauty of such a potentially rich open-world experience is the console versions’ glaring absence of advanced Post FX rendering and distant LOD over distance (anisotropic filtering), which makes the game appear years old with visuals and a graphics engine more akin to Max Payne 3 and Watch Dogs .
The lack of activities outside of the main plot is another letdown in terms of the open world’s potential.
Long story short, it has not reached its full potential. With the exception of the strategically placed explosive barrels as well as fuel tanks to help you in a battle, the buildings feel like wooden sets that are primarily intended to be used as platforms to attach a grappling hook to and launch off of. There are detailed structures, and numerous towns and cities with a variety of vehicles and inhabitants.
Despite of this, the Kinetic Movement System, as always, is a fantastic tool in this game and is expertly used when you either need it or want it, and with the possibility to improve your grappling hook, the enjoyment only grows.
The game’s limited side missions must first be completed in order to unlock these grappling hook modifications, which ironically force you to participate in the only combat where the upgrades might be useful. These modifications can be modified to make the grappling hooks quite adaptable, stronger, faster, or increase altitude.
One upside though, is the game’s fantastic combat. For instance, using your parachute to sneak up on unsuspecting adversaries and then killing them with machine guns and strategically positioned gas tanks is a thrill!
Additionally, many of the game’s tools and weapons work in perfect harmonies, such as when you use your Retractors to gather enemies around a conveniently placed fuel tank, fire upon it, causing a huge explosion that kills everyone nearby, and then use a well-placed grappling hook as well as an open parachute to escape the area.
The battle is standard fare; the finest firefights occur during some of the main story’s most memorable action moments, allowing you to use all of your gadgets to really thrilling use, with only your creativity and combat bravery as a constraint.
The greatest weapon in Just Cause 4 may really be Mother Nature herself, but there is still another one you can wield.
The light musical score that runs throughout the gameplay experience quickens and heightens in response to the situation at hand, but it simply falls short of capturing the intensity of a situation when all the action begins; the sparse and somber hues with the seemingly random techno samples fall short of elevating the combat experience.
It’s a shame because the combat in Just Cause 4 is really the only thing that makes the game enjoyable; after the main story has concluded, it seems like the game needs some serious DLC treatment because the side missions are very few and far between and just aren’t good enough. The music is just so dull that while engaged in a fierce battle, for the most part, you won’t even notice that the track is there.
Don’t give up, however, since Square Enix has revealed that DLC is on the way.
We are aware of the release of three DLC packs, all of which seem extremely intriguing.
After these first three DLC packs, whether there would be further ones, is yet unknown.