Just Cause 3 or as I like to call it "Big Arse Explosion Bang Bang Simulator" as usual for the series stars liberationist Rico Rodriguez, this time let loose upon the fictional fictional republic Medici to pit his wits against evil dictator Sebastiano Di Ravello. If you think these names sound like they are straight out of a B grade action movie then you are thinking correctly, the characters and voice acting in Just Cause 3 are straight up cheesy but this is where games charm lies, it doesn't take itself seriously and it's dialogue is deliberately cheesy and over the top. If your sense of humour is anything like mine you will find that you will laugh at the cut scenes (in a good way) many times.
The plot here is forgettable, it basically involves you travelling around the map to different military installations and blowing them up in spectacular fashion and causing as much chaos as you can in the process. The explosions in this game are absolutely incredible and would have to be some of the best I have ever seen in a video game. You can set off a chain of explosions simply by shooting into a gas tank and watching as it explodes and sets off other gas tanks around it like a bunch of exploding dominos or you can get creative and latch several items together with your grappling hook and then fling them all together in one giant exploding fireball. There is so much fun to be had here in the different ways you can explode, destroy, annihilate and crush things that the plot soon becomes secondary to the fun you are having destroying things in the game.
The map in the game is absolutely huge (400 square miles) and there are plenty of different ways of travelling from place to place you can choose to jump off a cliff and use your parachute, wingsuit to zip from cliff to cliff and grapple your way across the map or you can simply drive a car or fly a jet or helicopter to your next desired location. The same ideals apply to combat, you are only limited by your imagination as to how you approach each battle, you can decide to go in all guns blazing or attach a couple of nearby objects to your grappling hook and then send them shooting into a gas tank near your enemies blowing everything and everyone up in the process. This type of approach to combat keeps things feeling very refreshed, if you get bored of one way of approaching combat then there are always several more ways of attempting each scenario, you never stop thinking of different ways to cause destruction and mayhem. The game also keeps constant track of you and your friends stats in the game and each time you attempt something whether it be flying, grappling from cliff to cliff or just shooting a certain amount of enemies a scoreboard will be shown in the top right of the screen showing where you rank vs your PSN friends, this is a really nice touch. The basic controls of the game get explained to you in the first couple of missions which serve as a tutorial of sorts after that you are left to your own devices to find your own style of playing traversing the map and tackling combat, the control system is really well put together and feels very fluid and intuitive to use.
The graphics in this game are simply amazing from the character animations to the amazing pyrotechnics you can unleash, it really does make you feel that you are playing as the star in a major blockbuster Hollywood action flick. There were times driving around in the game that I just had to pull over to the side of the road to appreciate some of the spectacular landscapes that were on display.
One thing I did find is that the game does seem a tad too easy and there is no way to change the difficulty of the game which to me seems like a major oversight. The upgrades in the game are mostly tied to side games such as having to use your wingsuit to fly through gates or rings in a certain amount of time this seems like an odd design choice as not everybody is going to be interested in attempting these mini games, in my opinion it would of been better to have these upgrade rewards awarded for progressing through the game rather than having to do largely irrelevant challenges for them.
Just Cause 3 is a load of fun and in many ways is a great improvement over its predecessor however it doesn't come without problems. One of the major bugs I encountered was with clipping, get too close to some buildings and you can actually see through the walls, on several occasions I grappled on to a closed building and actually went straight through the wall into the building which left me with no way to get out, pretty frustrating when you have just spent 25 minutes doing a mission and now have to restart it. Speaking of frustrating the load times in Just Cause 3 are absolutely abysmal, the most annoying part being that if you fail a challenge the game reloads, sometimes taking up to 2 or 3 minutes to put you back at the start of the challenge, this should not be necessary and is bad game design. All these issues aside Just Cause 3 is a great game to play, each time I was away from the game I was thinking about new ways to create massive explosions in order to tackle missions more effectively, there is a load of stuff to do in the game and at times I just decided to explore the missions and drive, fly or grapple around and explore just to see the many beautiful sites in the game. If you are a fan of open world shooters then this game is a must buy for you, even if you aren't a fan of the genre there is plenty on offer here and this could be the game that converts you into becoming a fan.