If riding a rocket upside down while shooting bad-guys with a lightning gun sounds like fun, then you’ll be in for a treat with Just Cause 4. The latest entry in the much-loved action franchise brings with it the tried-and-tested gameplay experience of stunts, explosions, and liberating exotic locales from tyrannical leaders; but one can’t help shake the feeling of deja vu while playing through the game’s 20-odd hour campaign.
That said, the good things about the game staying (very) true to its roots is that fans who loved the previous entries will feel right at home, while those unfamiliar to the Just Cause games will get a perfect dose of what the franchise is all about.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some new tricks up secret agent Rico Rodriguez’s sleeve. The game is obviously bigger, more beautiful, and runs smoother (when there’s not total chaos on the screen), and the cutscenes and attention to story have been ramped up quite dramatically. There’s also the introduction of a new weapon in Rico’s arsenal: air-lifters. These are essentially balloons in your grappling-hook which you can tether to tanks, enemies, or any item really, which cause them to float away. Practically, they’re actually not too effective in combat situations, but will give you a bit of entertainment when playing around in the open-world.
The other gameplay hook, though, is the addition of a dynamic weather system (which plays into the story too), whereby you’ll encounter tornados and lightning storms. When tornados hit, it is fun and throws the gunfights on their head by showcasing the game’s physics-based hilarity in full force, but these moments are extremely under-used in the moment-to-moment gameplay and missions – which is really where Just Cause 4 rests its hat.
In terms of the missions themselves, most of the problems encountered can be solved by blowing things up, which isn’t a bad thing (because Just Cause 4 has some of the best-looking explosions of any game – they truly do look spectacular). Additionally, there is some great variety to the missions at hand, which helps with the loop of things-going-boom and shooting – so whether you’re foiling mission launches, stealing warships, or trying to kill a tyrannical super-soldier, there’s always something to keep it interesting.
Just Cause 4 is as bombastic, loud, and explosive as you’d expect from the latest entry in the over-the-top action franchise, and while it doesn’t introduce too many new ideas to the formula, it’s core mechanics and openness to encourage experimentation is enough to make it a worthwhile entry for fans, and the perfect place to start for newcomers.
Just Cause 4 is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.