Just Cause 4 is a superhero game. You may not have a Marvel or DC license, attached to it, but make no mistake – Rico Rodriguez is basically a superpowered guerilla agent. Between the insane amount of technologically crazy tethers, the ability to survive a dizzying amount of explosions and bullets, and yes even the ability of limited flight – Avalanche as essentially made a killer Iron Man game without Tony Stark. Heck, if Marvel Games ever wants to make a solo Iron Man, this would be the team to hire. Just Cause 4 is the insanity of peak 80s and 90s action movies, and Rico and his Army of Chaos make for the best entry the series has had to date.
Why So Serious?
Don’t take JC4 too serious. While there’s always been an underlying story of the oppressed taking back power from the oppressor, Just Cause 4’s story is pure insane Hollywood blockbuster cheese. And it knows it. When the “crazy conspiracy theorist” character is asking Rico is he really just suggested diving “down into a tornado”, you know a game’s having fun with itself. Just Cause 4’s main goal isn’t to win a narrative Pulitzer, but to give you a huge and varied open world, a crap-ton of toys, and let you lose to with what you will.
Rico Rodriguez is a maestro of destruction, and every single power you’re given is designed to let you think up increasingly clever ways to destroy things, kill bad guys, and blow things up. Peppered throughout the massive island of Solis are dozens of challenges, a bevy of side missions for different NPCs which unlock new mods for your tethers, and of course – loads and loads of enemy bases to destroy and take over.
Damn the Man
Whereas Just Cause 3 focused largely on taking back cities and destroying monuments to a dictator, Just Cause 4 is about rallying an army of people and pushing back the frontlines of a rebellion. The way you unlock areas of the map, doing whatever you want in whatever order you want, is a little disorienting at first, but quickly becomes one of the best things about JC4. Your goal is to create chaos, which in turn raises the number of people willing to follow your rebellion, and that in turn lets you establish more footholds and create more Army of Chaos-controlled spaces on the map. So while there’s a progression blocker for some missions, you never really feel hand-held to choose one specific place to unlock over another.
Some Difficulty Expected
Largely, Just Cause 4 is an easy game. The powers, abilities, and sheer undying nature of Rico make it so that you can take a huge amount of punishment before kicking the bucket. But things get hairy on many of the main campaign missions where you’re expected to defend a structure and keep it from being destroyed while you’re also getting absolutely pummeled by helicopters, rocket launchers, and tons of SMGs and assault rifles. One man may be able to destroy a lot, but it’s way harder to keep things from being destroyed. If there’s one real complaint about JC4 it’s that it doesn’t have a difficulty slider, and some missions are infuriating enough that you’ll find yourself stepping away and coming back later when you have more time in the game.
Another weak spot in Just Cause 4’s armor is its controls on Mouse and Keyboard. Largely, the game plays great, but more than a dozen times at least I’ve hopped out of a moving vehicle or plane because I forget space is not a brake, but a way to jump out with your parachute open. I literally killed a woman on a mission 4 times in a row because I was having trouble getting used to this. I jumped out of a copter, she screamed “I can’t fly this thing!” as she blew up in flames in the valley below. Woops.
But after some practice, the controls become second nature, and every single weapon has an alternate fire option that’s tied to the middle mouse button. Late in the game, you get wind guns, lightning guns and all kinds of weather-oriented witchcraft. It’s amazing, especially since the world of Solis is also rife with huge lightning storms, massive tornadoes, and punishing sandstorms. Avalanche’s proprietary APEX engine is a thing of beauty, and really hope more games might try and use it in the future.
The sheer amount of funny clips that are going to come from this game boggle the mind.