‘Just Cause 4’ review: Mindless fun can get old fast

Kyle Chua
‘Just Cause 4’ review: Mindless fun can get old fast
The game’s mindless fun fails to save it from some uninspired mission design and technical shortcomings

Just Cause 4
Available on PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, and PC

 

Just Cause 4 offers players a big, physics-based sandbox where large chunks of the environment can be destroyed. It’s incredibly exhilarating to fly a jet over an enemy base, parachute down, and blow things up. But the game’s mindless fun soon wears off and there’s not much else to enjoy.

In the game, you play as series protagonist Rico Rodriguez, whose mission to hunt down an evil leader takes him to the fictional South American country of Solis. There, he faces the Black Hand, a mercenary organization in possession of a weapon that can control weather.

The story is ridiculously over-the-top and clearly not to be taken seriously.

Sure, it does havesome serious moments but they’re few and far between to be in any way memorable. Thankfully, what Just Cause 4 lacks in story, to an extent, it makes up for in gameplay. 

JUST (BE)CAUSE. You may like blowing stuff up just because you can, but there may not be more than that. Screenshot from publisher.

Destruction is the name of the game

Similar to previous entries in the series, the game has you explore and wreak havoc in a massive open world littered with tons of fuel tanks, barrels, and generators for you to blow up and dispose your enemies with.

This is made even more fun by the three new attachments added to Rico’s grappling hook in this game. First is the air lifter which lets you tether a hot air balloon at targets that send them to the sky; then there is the retractor which pull targets together; and last is the booster which accelerates targets.

The best part is these attachments are upgradable and can be used in combination with each other which means there’s plenty of room to experiment and get creative. For instance, I often use the retractor to hurl barrels at armored brutes that are much tougher to kill with guns. 

The traversal system is also one of the most enjoyable parts of the game. You can easily get around the map by combining and smoothly transitioning among Rico’s grapple hook, parachute, and wingsuit.

It’s undeniably satisfying to glide to your destination without ever touching the ground. In case that’s not your style, you can easily hijack or have an ally NPC drop cars, boats, tanks, aircraft, and bikes you can operate yourself. 

ADVENTURE? ADVENTURE! Gliding around is fun, but the mission structure can feel outdated. In-game screenshot by reviewer

Outdated and uninspired

Despite all the gadgets for destruction at your disposal, the game’s missions are uninspired and can get repetitive quite fast. Most of the main story missions and side activities revolve around hacking a terminal, protecting NPCs, or destroying something.

The new weather effects are admittedly pretty impressive but they’re not as common as the game might make you think. Tornado is the stand out as it’s the one that does the most damage to the environment and in a way showcase the physics system.

Visually, Just Cause 4 looks outdated and a console generation behind. From low-resolution textures to poor anti-aliasing, it’s lightyears away from what you would expect from a late 2018 title.

The lack of detail in character models and the environment are magnified during cutscenes that often show them up close.

It’s quite clear that the game sacrifices some visuals to keep the game playable, given the amount of things that can populate the screen at any one time.

The year has seen some truly remarkable open-world games that pushed the envelope for the genre. While this particular series has long established its identity among other open-world games as a playground for creative destruction, Just Cause 4 severely lacks the tools that might make you excited to get lost in its world.

If explosive,mindless fun is what you seek, there’s about 30 to 40 hours of it here. But if you’re after more than that, you may want to look elsewhere. – Rappler.com

Disclosure: Review code provided by publisher

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