If you asked me to name my favorite video game of all time, chances are I'll tell you Just Cause 2.
I know that's a weird answer. Some of you reading this may have not even heard of Just Cause 2. But ever since I began playing games starting with the Nintendo Entertainment System (Mike Tyson's Punch Out, what's up!), I can't remember that offered as much pure fun as Just Cause 2. Guiding hero Rico Rodriguez around the fictional island of Panau was more fun than actually going through the story line. I still haven't finished the game; I spent more time flying around in my parachute and trying to cross islands in record time than I did playing the actual story mode.
Just Cause 2 wasn't a massive seller. But it continued to sell long after its release, and even today it's a rare game that's hard to find and it is expensive when you do. It was a fun game. It still is. Sometimes I pick it up and do ridiculous things, just to see if I can. And that fun factor, the sense of being able to do anything in a giant world, is why I so heavily anticipated Just Cause 3.
It's the first Just Cause game for next generation systems. And you should know right now that it is not realistic at all. It's as though you took a Hollywood action movie, amplified it by 100,000x and then put yourself directly in the middle of it all. You're free to do whatever you want. Feel like jumping on the top that plane that just flew over the top of your parachute and riding it before leaping off and diving to the earth before triggering your chute at the last possible second? You can do it. Want to hook a bunch of explosive barrels up to a car and then drive it into the lighthouse over there?
You can do it. You can do a lot. It's not quite a game where you can do anything your heart desires, but if you're looking to make big explosions and set up ridiculous action sequences, this is the game for you.
The best new addition to the game, however, is the wingsuit. By pressing a button, Rico can deploy a wingside that allows him to soar high above the island or—and this is the best part—zoom closely over the ground below, through hills and valleys and caves and tunnels. The wingsuit is absolute best part of Just Cause 3. The flying mechanics are absolutely perfect, and it makes you feel like Superman.
As with the last game and your parachute, you can use your grappling hook to pull yourself along in the wingsuit, never touching the ground. It's an incredible feeling, and I've spent hours flying around, looking at the scenery and perfecting my flying technique. It's a blast.
The graphics are incredible, rendering the new fictional series of islands named Medici as gorgeous as you'd expect. There are valleys with deep caves and there are soaring mountains poking above the clouds. It's a massive open world, and it takes a long time to explore. As I did in Just Cause 2, I went from one corner of the map to the other, using only my parachute and wingsuit and vehicles and boats (no airplanes). It took nearly an hour of real world time.
The missions themselves are the low point of the game. Many of them are the exact same: free this town and this town, then destroy this base to take over a section of each island. It gets repetitive quickly. Luckily, the challenges make up for them. There are special challenges in the wingsuit, vehicles and guns that allow you to earn gears, which are in turn used to unlock mods for your grappling hook, vehicles, guns and more. The challenges are unique and fun, and I suspect you'll try to free each island just so you can unlock the challenges.
Needless to say, this is a great and fun game. Is it as good as, say, Fallout 4? No. But is it as fun as Fallout and other great games that have been released this year? I dare say yes.
Rating: 8 out of 10