Just Cause 4 Is the Ultimate Chaotic Sandbox

Staff Writer
Updated

I just got a chance to see the latest high-octane adventure of Rico Rodriguez in Square Enix's Just Cause 4, which launches on Dec. 4 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

I played developer Avalanche Studios’ build from Gamescom, and while the graphics were a little rough around the edges, I was impressed by how many improvements there were from the last entry. In the demo, the player is thrown in a South American chaotic paradise known as Solis and tasked with overthrowing the paramilitary group known as the Black Hand.

Revamping the Chaos

To say that Avalanche made Just Cause's already fun gameplay mechanics even more entertaining is an understatement. The developers completely reworked the grappling hook gadgets by setting three simple modes changeable via the d-pad: Air Lifter, Retracter and Booster. On top of that, each ability can be customized with mods that completely change how they react in the environment, and each type of tether can be controlled individually.

For example, you can set the Air Lifter balloons and Boosters to a tank and literally fly around and blast enemies away in your new makeshift death machine. You can also set the balloons to Follow, so if you attach them to a bunch of explosive barrels, you’ll have an army of bombs at your disposal to drop at any time. According to the team, there are 4 million different combinations, and they haven't even scratched the surface of what players can do. Needless to say they are very excited (and so are we).

Additionally, there are multiple experimental weapons coming to the game. including the Windgun, which is a gun that literally shoots wind. This gorgeous cannon can blast vehicles away like nothing, and it will works great as a propellant when you’re parachuting around the country.

A major highlight of Just Cause 4 is the addition of the extreme weather conditions, but they aren’t as threatening to you as they may seem. In order to ensure that players aren’t afraid of playing the game to the fullest, the developers designed weather conditions like lightning strikes to not land the killing blow. While that may seem like its sparing the player, it removes the threat of tangling with these dangerous environments.

The Storm Chaser

After face-planting a few times while getting used to the controls (and creating a forklift monstrosity out of several balloons, boosters and dead bodies), it was time to chase a tornado.

An awesome new vehicle in Just Cause 4 is the Storm Chaser, which is the heaviest vehicle in the entire game, designed specifically to chase (wait for it) storms. While I played an early build, I was impressed by how gorgeous and smooth the game looked as the tornado ripped entire buildings and bridges apart.

I followed the storm to an enemy base that had these giant Wind Cannons that fended off the extreme weather, so I put my Rico hat on and got to work. A neat little feature that Avalanche included is giving time before an explosive environmental object actually explodes. Therefore, I was able to attach multiple boosters to make the Wind Cannons act like a Beyblade of death before they finally went off (the Black Hand wasn’t too fond of that).

As I encountered several new enemies with shields attached to their assault rifles, I also discovered that the Railgun is the most badass weapon I’ve seen so far. When a Black Hand lackey came up to my face, I blasted him across an entire runway with a powerful charged shot, and upon using the alternate-fire, I pumped out multiple adorable killer drones that did my bidding.

When the demo was coming to an end, and the tornado started enveloping the enemy base, I was dared to use my wingsuit fly directly into the eye of the storm, but upon contact with the storm, the build actually crashed (it was perfect timing, really).

Bottom Line

From the Tardis-esque shipping containers that drop giant jets to the small icons in the top-left corner that indicate activities in the area, there are a bunch of new, charming details spread throughout Just Cause 4.

Even this early build of the game looked better than the framerate nightmare of Just Cause 3, and the fact that there are an insane amount of new ways to increase those Chaos levels gets me so excited. The movement definitely feels more fluid than JC3 when transitioning from the wingsuit to parachute and everything in between. Despite the lack of some threats, the extreme weather environments in Just Cause 4 is only going to make the game that much more interesting. 

I cannot wait to take a deeper dive into Just Cause 4, and especially the Gold Edition which includes the popular Iron Man-esque wingsuit. Be on the lookout for our full review when the game drops on Dec. 4.