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‘Just Cause 4’ has the explosions but lacks the impact

  • The new upgrades are interesting and it will keep you busy
  • But the new game is nowhere near as good as its predecessor

A still from ‘Just Cause 4’
A still from ‘Just Cause 4’

Known for their outrageous action sequences, Just Cause games have always had a certain amount of repetition. Yet publisher Square Enix has managed to deliver hits with each edition of the game by combining the action with a breathtaking open world environment, colourful characters and evil dictators, such as general Di Ravello in Just Cause 3, whose sinister presence can be felt throughout the game. The fourth game in the series is built around the same principles, but the action seems over the top—it fails to strike the balance that made the previous games, particularly Just Cause 3, click.

Action in this game is next level with a new repository of gear modifications and weapons which are a lot more destructive. The grapple upgrades allow you to take down enemies and control objects in newer ways. For example, you can lift heavy objects, vehicles and enemy soldiers and make them collide. The enemy has become a lot smarter in the latest version and is aided by AI-controlled drones that keep changing their positions and are, therefore, hard to aim at.

Rico Rodriguez, the protagonist, can still take down an entire army of soldiers single-handedly and is not easy to kill. A major departure in the gameplay is in the way the rebels progress on the map. So, Rodriguez doesn’t have to destroy enemy infrastructure or liberate settlements any more. Completing specific missions in any province will eventually weaken the enemy’s control over it. Also, the game’s main villain, Oscar Espinosa, is nowhere as menacing as Di Ravello, and is mostly absent through the game.

Liberating the war-torn island nation of Solis and shutting down the Doomsday weapon isn’t the only storyline driving this game. Rodriguez is on the island for personal reasons: he is investigating the disappearance of his father who was one of the scientists working on the weapon. Gamers can take a break from the main game and do stunts for an American filmmaker who is shooting in Solis or deliver weapon shipments to rebels. This provides Rodriguez with the opportunity to polish his flying skills and test weapons.

Landscape has been another highlight of the Just Cause games. In the latest version, sandstorms and tornadoes can frequently be seen looming in the background. All this, however, does not come in the way of the gameplay at any point, until you go chasing them, which you may have to in a couple of missions. Solis offers everything from ice-capped mountains to rainforests. And yet the game fails to fascinate with its visuals, largely due to the game’s subdued colour tone and light effects. Even on a bright and sunny day, the colours don’t pop out.

Player movements and actions are easy to work out and are very similar to the previous edition of the game.

Just Cause 4 was launched in December, three years after its last edition. But despite several upgrades, the game fails to live up to the standards set by Just Cause 3.

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