You know playing Just Cause 4 has given me a sense of appreciation for games out there with a clear sense of direction. I know that the fun to be had in Just Cause 4 is in the senseless destruction but I feel as though the game suffers from only having senseless destruction as its main dish.
I begin to wonder if the developers realized just how big their map is that they have to add something to actually do to make up for the long spaces in between. Otherwise half of the game is just traveling from Point A to B. And hence, they’ve given us all these chores that honestly don’t make any sense or are any fun. They’re there just to make us feel like they’re something to do.
Stunts, being an extracurricular activity, for example, are a bit out of place in the game. They feel like an afterthought for the purpose of having more things to do. Probably because the developers realized that explosions can’t exactly be the only/core gameplay of Just Cause 4. Why would I want to waste time going through hoops in the air with my glider before the time runs out just to fill my XP meter a bit more? I don’t want to be reminded of Superman 64. On that note, why is it so hard to find the exact vehicle I need when I’m just going to drive it off a cliff anyway?
It makes me question why Rico would waste his time when he clearly has a country to “save.” I say save in quotations because Rico Rodriguez doesn’t really save anyone so much as he destroys the country’s entire economy.
Which also brings me to point out that Just Cause 4 seems to have a skewered sense of morality. Rico and his apt named “Army of Chaos” are supposed to be the good guys. Yet they cause far more death and destruction than the people they’re fighting had they been left on their own.
One mission, in particular, had a rebel soldier I was escorting heroically shout “Only cowards hide behind metal! Real soldiers pick up a gun and fight!” All the while I was running down innocent civilians who had the inconvenience of getting in the way.
Seriously, I use civilians as guinea pigs to practice my many combinations of grappling hooks to see which one amuses me the most. Don’t get me wrong, while that’s fun I wonder why the developers just insist on calling the main protagonist the hero. It’s as if they think we need to feel good about ourselves while subjecting faceless goons to whatever creative torture we can think of with a wire, a balloon, and a booster.
A particularly cruel moment had me pinning some guy to my car while a balloon was attached to him so I could parade him around because it amused me.
And who do you think comes to stop me when I go No Russian on every innocent soul on the streets? Not the Army of Chaos that’s for sure. Black Hand is there to save the day! They’re the ones stopping my rampage while the rebels just kiss Rico’s ass for blowing up their country.
And don’t fool me into thinking that this is pretty much just player choice. I’m willing to bet that everybody who winds up buying this game will eventually use civilians as appetizers for starving off boredom. And unlike Black Hand, they make it easier to test out newer methods of causing some serious death and destruction with your grappling hook.
Speaking of which, the grappling hook has got to be the most iconic thing about this game besides the giant tornado. Rico is apparently some sort of jury-rigging guru and can attach a balloon to the end of his hook. Which is pretty much the bread-and-butter of the game.
Wherever Rico goes, he leaves explosions, fire, and dead bodies. Coming up with newer ways to kill is what drives us to keep playing. And coming up with some crazy inventions can be quite fun. Those with good imaginations can find a lot of instruments in this game to make their own enjoyment.
One of the biggest criticisms that I have of Just Cause 4 is that if destruction is the only source of fun you can derive from the game, then it can all get boring rather quickly. Despite the variations between missions, it can all seem rather repetitive. Get in, break shit and get out. It doesn’t exactly inspire longevity. I got bored after a few hours into the game.
This may practically because there’s no real sense of accomplishment or improvement. I don’t really feel like I’m working towards a goal or gaining something interesting. I see no real depth beyond all the explosions.
Yes, you can gain new weapons, new cars, and upgrade your grappling hook with new modifications. But even that felt like an afterthought. There is no home base for me to craft new items, choose from my many arsenals of weapons, and modify my cars. All of it is airdropped to me with a cool down time. Without a home base, I never really felt like I could settle down in Solis. I was always on the move. Always killing. Always destroying. There isn’t much else to do. Even destruction can be monotonous if it’s the only thing to work for.
Speaking of cars, vehicular movement is honestly a nightmare. Don’t even get me started on vehicular combat. You wind up fighting for control of a car more than your fighting against the game itself. I often find myself driving off a cliff due to the unsteady car mechanics.
Honestly, with the wingsuit and parachute to get around, I see no incentive in using a vehicle for transportation. Since the game adds a jetpack to the wingsuit the developers have practically made any other kind of transportation obsolete. I don’t even see a point going inside a vehicle even with a weapon nailed down to it since the wingsuit can also fire infinite missiles essentially turning Rico into a human fighter jet.
Some of the guns can be fun to use. The generic ballistic metal firers being the most boring. The lightning gun, wind gun, and the rail gun were what really stuck to me. Unfortunately, for a game that seems hellbent on destruction, you’d think they’d give us more ammo. Perhaps it’s because I’m firing too many bullets at anything with a pulse that ammo flies by so fast. I do wish Square Enix would give us some kind of cheat code for infinite ammunition or something. That would be swell.
I have to say, I really like some of the guns’ secondary fire. Many of them are truly destructive. Such as the lightning gun’s ability to turn the environment into a dart board for storms. Of course, you’re just as likely to get hit as much as the enemy. Some other guns, however, have quite generic secondary fire such as the typical grenade launchers.
The missions in Just Cause 4 felt rather repetitive. Even with its creative nature, I still felt no real sense of accomplishment when pretty much 90% of the missions is me hacking into a terminal(s) and defending it(them) until time runs out. The other 10% was me doing some pretty dull escort missions or turret sections.
I remember one mission that frustrated me to no end. Generic strongwoman, Mira, had me escort her to the airport in a plane. Wouldn’t be so bad if the plane wasn’t made out of tinfoil. The slightest poke had the plane blowing up on our faces. I had to repeat the mission more than five times simply because of this.
And at the end, I was supposed to escort her miles away from the airport being chased by an army for what pretty much was an act of terrorism. Are you starting to feel like the good guy yet? Which was an act that was pretty much pointless because right after the missions started, I headed back to the same airport for another mission and she was pretty much just there?
For a game that has some pretty creative ways to kill, it doesn’t seem to really extend your imagination beyond your grappling hook capabilities. For one, I wish there was an option to customize vehicles. Putting machine guns in a minivan could have been more incentive for me to even get inside a one but it seems like we’re stuck with whatever the game is willing to give us.
I also feel as though the destruction didn’t quite live up to the hype. Explosions aren’t as big or magnificent as I wanted them to be. And it felt kind of funny seeing a tornado go through a town tearing shit up when the buildings are completely unharmed. Not everything in this game is destructible. And I feel that’s a shame considering that carnage is pretty much everything this game stands for.
Still, I can’t deny the number of destructible objects in this game is enticing. Not many games offer what Just Cause 4 has. And there’s definitely room for people who appreciate this type of game.
Despite my criticisms up above, I really did have a fun time with Just Cause 4. At least I can confidently say that it isn’t a game I can pick up for hours on end. It seems to be the kind of game that has you picking it up whenever you feel like causing some carnage.
And another thing worth mentioning is that I had the game crash on me twice for causing too much carnage. At least this happened before the update. They may have fixed it now, but I feel you should know.
At its core, Just Cause 4 seems like a game that’s been directed by Michael Bay. Special effects are fancy and explosions are always pretty to look at, but there’s no real depth or anything meaningful to find in this game.
Rico Rodriguez doesn’t really fight for just causes, he pretty much fights just cause.
Disclosure: This review is based on a review code provided by Bandai Namco Entertainment. Read our review policy to know how we go with our game reviews.