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The open world sandbox type gameplay that was pioneered by the Grand Theft Auto series has seen a massive amount of attention from game developers over the last few years, with almost every major publisher putting out their own answers to Rockstar’s hallowed series. Saint’s Row cranked the insane tongue-in-cheek ridiculousness up to 11, while the True Crime series and its recent spiritual successor - Sleeping Dogs - tried to take the formula in a more dramatic direction. Then there are the Just Cause games.
Just Cause 2 took the absurdity to its seeming apex with its combination of grappling hooks and over the top explosive gameplay. With Just Cause 3, Square Enix and Avalanche Studios seek to up the ante with even more excessive expressions of lunacy.
By adding a wingsuit into the already totally nuts formula of grappling hook and parachute, the game makes it even more exhilarating to traverse its huge map without ever touching the ground. Unfortunately, while zipping through the air with the greatest of ease is a blast, the rest of the controls, such as trying to shoot and drive, make everything else a chore. Shootouts remind me of the GTA III era games; everyone just standing around spraying bullets with little options for cover or dodging. This makes what should be exciting moments kind of boring. Likewise, trying to drive anything, from Vespa scooters to ginormous APCs is way harder than it feels like it should be. Stacked on top of these glaring issues is a healthy dose of bugs as well as weird frame rate issues and crashes.
The AI leaves little to be desired, as well. Enemies do little more than run up and try to shoot you point blank with little concern for tactics or how many vehicles you just blew up in a row in the exact spot they're sitting. Playing with the grappling hook and tethering anything and everything together - like attaching rocket boosters to a cow while an enemy is attached to its bum - is a pure form of joy.
Just Cause 3 is gorgeous. The fictional islands of the Medici archipelago are rendered in impressive detail and there are plenty of different environs to fly around and blow up. From tropical beaches to snow capped mountains and sprawling cities, the map is on par with anything Rockstar’s made in terms of size. Explosions are rendered with lovely fiery effects and the Havok engine gives all the flying bodies a satisfying ragdolliness.
For us living in Egypt who just don’t have enough chaos in our lives, or perhaps suffer from too much of it, Just Cause 3 is a great outlet for that urge one may have to eradicate a traffic jam using a goat, strapped with C4, and attached to a rocket. Though the game has its flaws - mostly technical - it can be a lot of fun to zip around and blow up all there is that needs blowin’ up. I wish there were some multiplayer options, but it’s understandable that such a feature would just be too much insanity for our tiny monkey brains to comprehend.
Giant world to explore and destroy.
Multitude of vehicles, including cars, boats, battleships, tanks, helicopters and jet fighters.
Combining the grapple hook with the parachute and wingsuit makes the player feel like a demented superhero with fine-tuned flying controls.
The ability to pull off the most ridiculous of stunts and share them with friends.
Bugs, bugs, bugs! The game crashed on us several times, though the worst of them seem to be fixed with the newest patches.
Controls for everything besides flying are lacking.
Weak characters and story.
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