'Just Cause 4' Review

Just Cause 4 is the latest entry into the franchise and though it offers a lot of what feels familiar to the series, it’s a very unique sort of sequel. Rideable tornadoes aside, the latest entry into the franchise offers so much more to do in an impressively expansive open-world.

The latest game in the series takes the series to Solis, a massive South American area that is rife with oppression and never-ending conflict. That’s where our beloved Rico Rodriguez comes into play, taking to those issues firsthand with a wingsuit, an epic grappling hook, and a scrappy sense of adventure ready to go!

Though definitely a game, the team behind Just Cause 4 went above and beyond when taking a more cinematic approach. Often during my run through story missions, I felt like I was less in a gaming experience and more in an action-movie which admittedly kept the progression going at a pretty fun pace. For those that played Just Cause 3, this concept of a movie-based game will seem pretty familiar but somehow the team manage to top even that.

The fourth entry into the series offers a lot of changes while still managing to feel authentically “Just Cause.” One significant change made was to that of Rico's grapple. Grappling is no longer about simple transversal movement but environment manipulation as well. Stick airlifts on a tank and commit aerial homicide, use a trigger grapple to flip a switch at a safe distance - there are so many different ways to approach this game and that's all thanks to the decision to use the Apex engine. The game is completely systematic and that's a true freedom that hasn't always been prevalent in the series as we know it.

Speaking of what Just Cause 4 has to offer in terms of activity and an arsenal of gadgets, this game is pretty much perfect for those that just like to go ham and blow shit up. Pretty much nothing is safe, which is pretty awesome when looking for innovative ways to achieve certain missions.

The ability to stack certain abilities also adds to the destruction. If you’re willing to try it, chances are you can do it, and that’s pretty much the official motto of Just Cause 4.

Though the map was expansive, it didn’t feel repetitive which was a worry of mine when I first demo’d the game back in September. With open-world titles becoming more of the norm, it’s easy for developers to lose sight of what exactly makes these expansive worlds so magical. Instead of relying solely on quantity, the team definitely paid special attention to the quality of this South American landscape. It was fun to explore, to uncover certain areas, and just to mosey around to see what’s available. From jungles, to deserts, it’s really hard to get bored with all of the exploration available in this game – especially with all of the world events.

Stunning visual experience aside, the story was lacking. The mechanics and beautiful world did a lot to help but there was still a lacking in overall story cohesion. The cutscenes were fun at times, especially with the cinematic appeal mentioned previously, but the story itself had so much potential that at the end of the day just felt almost cheapened by the over-the-top cinematic effect.

If you’re looking for a blow-you-away type story, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for an incredibly fun exploration game with a destructive side to rival even that of Red Faction Guerrilla Warfare, then this is definitely for you. That being said, those intimately familiar with this franchise kind of already knew to expect that. In that instance, it doesn’t really hurt the game at all because that’s what a Just Cause game is – it’s the game where people get hilarious clips from and just enjoy the ride, and that’s OK!

Overall:

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Just Cause 4 delivers exactly what it promised: An expansive open-world, diverse enemies, dynamic weather to enhance the immersive experience, and the action that the franchise is known for. Rico was definitely back in a big way and despite perceived narrative shortcomings, this is very much a sequel that Just Cause fans will enjoy. If you're an action fan, this is for you.

WWG Final Score: 3/5