Performance issues are the real evil dictator in Just Cause 3
Just Cause 3

I don’t mind games that throw all aspects of realism out of the window in the name of fun. In fact I thrive on them.

Too often we see games trying to be uber realistic, when sometimes all we want is to go out there and blow the crap out of everything we see. Well, with Just Cause 3 Square Enix have seemingly answered my prayers. Here’s a sandbox title with so much bang, consoles struggle to keep up. Literally.

It’s a kick ass game with an absolute load of performance issues pulling it down.

Re-enter Rico Rodriguez. Unleashing a fair amount of cheesy one liners alongside his irritating co-stars along the way, Rico and his band of barmies embark on a mission to rid Rico’s homeland, Medici, of General Di Ravello – who is hell bent on a hostile takeover. It’s a cliche story full of cliche characters. Di Ravello is your typical evil dictator archetype, while Rico’s friend Dinah is a weird rambling genius who should be locked up in a loony bin rather than a tropical island. Then there is Mario. This guy is something else. He’s easily the most eccentric character here but it’s so over done, he made me want to strangle myself. The unfolding plot line is meaningless.

No, the real selling-point here is mindless mayhem, and Medici is your own personal playground. Settlements and military bases and guard posts litter it from top to bottom, requiring you to liberate them all. Well, that’s if you want to earn cool mod upgrades for your equipment and vehicles. Liberating locations means you have to destroy certain types of Di Ravello’s equipment, which are conveniently colored red. Doing so unlocks different types of challenges, which are what earns you mods. These are things such as land, air or sea races, destruction based challenges or, my personal favorite, crash races. The ending result is downright awesome.

Rico now has some handy new upgrades. He can use a tether which allows him to connect things together and, at the hold of the trigger button, send them careering towards one another. This is a great way to hurl an infamous red barrel towards a set of fuel drums while stood at safe watching-distance. Linking things like this together creates some massive, breathtaking explosions. Another way to create some humongous boomage is Rico’s infinite supply of C4. Sticking it on things like radar dishes, antennas, water towers and electricity supplies and setting them off all at the same time can easily create the biggest explosions I’ve ever seen in a video game. So big, in fact, that even your hardware seems to struggle, dragging the frame rate down shockingly low.

This became quite the problem. Most of the time during hectic situations, I did most of the work in slow motion. Square Enix needs to fix this fast.

During one of my many one-man hostile takeovers of a heavily fortified military base, there were four skyscraper sized antennae. It was too perfect. Highly flammable signs marked their weak spots for me to place my C4 conveniently near the bottom. Setting them off would have been the greatest thing ever…if I wasn’t so worried that the game would slow down so much that it would eventually lock up the game.

Yes, it is that problematic. Even big fire fights were made harder due to the slow down. Rico wouldn’t be as responsive, making my split second decisions almost redundant. I died more than enough times. Enemy helicopters pummelled me from above before I could tether it to a cliff.

Thanks crappy performance, thank you very much.

On the plus side, traversal has been made easier and more convenient. Rico now has a wing-suit which allows a faster, more exciting method of transport. That’s a good job really because the vehicles handle like crap.

Gliding is fantastic fun. This combined with parachuting and reeling in means getting from one location to the next is a doddle. On the ground? Not so much. Rico is slow on foot and apart from tanks, choppers and planes, vehicles are horrible to use. They all handle sluggishly, rendering them almost completely useless. The gunplay thankfully isn’t bad. Rico has tonnes of guns to choose from, and although the enemy militants are numbskulls who practically ask you to kill them, pumping them with lead is satisfying. Blowing them sky high is even more so.

Just Cause 3’s problems in the performance department stop it being a true great in the sandbox genre.

That said, it doesn’t stop it being one of the most explosive games I’ve ever played, with plenty of creative opportunities to make the biggest bang possible.