With the release of Just Cause 4, we're now four titles into the chaotic open-world action series, and gamers are still left asking, "Where's the multiplayer?" Single-player games are all well and good, but for this series to survive, Just Cause multiplayer needs to happen. Here's why.
Let's get this out of the way: Just Cause 4's gameplay is awesome. Avalanche Studios committed to an incredible overhaul of the grappling-hook gadgets. The game arms you with the Retractor, Air Lifters and Boosters, and you can customize and combine these gadgets in a multitude of ways to create your desired outcome.
For example, if I set one of my loadouts to airlift a car upon immediate attachment, I can also set Boosters that will activate only if I tap Up on the D-Pad. There’s even an option to enable a third setting for holding Up on the D-Pad. On top of that, I can adjust the intensity of each gadget I'm using.
The desired effect could speedily lift a car off the road, and upon activation, I could make the vehicle spin out of control to its death using an attached Booster. That's just one example. Another includes five cows, five boosters, five balloons and a red barrel, but I think you get the idea. The options are endless.
A staple of the Just Cause series, and the thing that makes it so unique, is its set of traversal methods. Why would you want to drive or pilot to your objective when you could easily parachute and wingsuit there in fashion?
With Just Cause 4, the developers fine-tuned the movement even more, giving you greater control in the air as well as additional room for recovery, marking a further improvement upon the Gamescom build that I played.
A new addition to the franchise is, of course, the extreme weather, which means you'll fly into colossal tornadoes, active lighting and wild sandstorms, adding some extra flair to the next stunt you pull off.
A Dated Single-Player Game
Despite its unique gameplay mechanics and endless, chaotic fun, Just Cause 4 is simply not a good single-player experience.
The entire game is a visual mess. It's plagued by crazy motion blur and janky animations that look like they're straight out of the PS3 and Xbox 360 days. Seriously, I watched shadows moving at 5 frames per second in the middle of the night.
And even during cutscenes, when a character would walk in frame, it was as if I were watching them through foggy glasses. This game looks like a collage of a bunch of fuzzy pixels. On top of that, you can't even adjust the brightness in-game. I mean, come on! In this case, the addition of multiplayer wouldn't fix the graphics, of course, but it would give us room to forgive that weakness.
The problem's not just in the animations; it's in the story as well. Fans of the series, including myself, could care less about the game's B-movie action plot. And that's coming from someone who loves a cheesy revolution story. But this? It's just too … bland.
We just want to hang out of helicopters and blow up tanks in nonsensical and impractical ways. And we definitely don't want to spend time doing obnoxious side quests in order to get grappling-hook upgrades.
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I'm not saying Avalanche should throw out these things, because otherwise there would be no game. But if you're offering a sole single-player experience, you need these aspects to be good. And right now, they're just not. However, Avalanche could fix this by adding multiplayer.
A Potential Multiplayer Masterpiece
Let's face it: Just Cause is all about the stunts, but people are more interested in watching crazy Just Cause feats on the internet then in actually playing the game.
The Just Cause community will watch a Twitch stream to experience the chaos along with a streamer, because they either don't want to make the effort or don't find it enjoyable to attempt these stunts themselves.
I can think of several awesome stunts I'd love to try, but I feel like all that effort is wasted if I have no one to enjoy the action with. With Just Cause multiplayer, people could collaborate with fellow gamers on some of the most epic stunts of all time.
Something like this would be a great way to bring more fans into the franchise, and it's absolutely something that Avalanche could patch in post-launch.
And Avalanche shouldn't rely on the Steam community to make a mod like it did for Just Cause 2 and 3, because that's still isolating people on consoles.
Look at it this way: A lot of the issues with Just Cause 4 would be irrelevant if the game had multiplayer, but since it's a single-player-only experience, people have to take everything into account, from the uninteresting story to the wonky graphics.
I thoroughly enjoy the Just Cause franchise, because, quite frankly, there isn't anything else like it. But I don't want to watch this series go to waste with an insignificant single-player experience. In order for this series to truly thrive, Just Cause multiplayer is a necessity. The move would be an instant win with fans, and the money would pile in faster than you could say, "Just Cause 5."
Credit: Avalanche Studios