Just Cause 4: “Not too late or too early” Review

13 Dec

2020 has produced a slew of fantastic games, like Doom Eternal, Last of Us Part II, and Cyberpunk 2077 (with reservations for console owners on the original PS4 and XBOX One owners–just wait and upgrade to an XBOX Series S/X system) in 2020, the aforementioned come across my periphery, as timeless as they can be, but Just Cause 4, was another game that seemed to travel under the radar in 2018 with little fanfare. Just Cause 4, is not a game I would call a classic, but it seems to be the Latin version of Nathan Drake, as both Drake and Rico, are both psychopaths who face incredible situations and they deal with it like every video game character. Blowing it up or solving elaborate puzzles to calm the righteous testosterone in there bloodstream. 

EA Studios and Avalanche studios produced Just Cause 4 (2018), which is interesting given that mixed reviews is all that are found for Just Cause 4 and 3 (2015). What is interesting is that Just Cause carries itself with lore and a story that seems to be surrounded by male macho calm swarthy attitude and a practical nature that only a swarthier man than myself could handle. He even gets a wing suit, which can allow him to fly around Solis like he’s Iron Man. (Psst…Nobody liked Anthem!).

The thing is that this shares a lot in common with Naughty Dogg’s Uncharted Series, as both protagonists seem off rather cool, and unaffected by murdering bad guys and destroying there bases in the process. Although Rico Rodriguez must find the murderer responsible for the death of his father, and achieve it in the best way possible. Blowing shit up in the process, and parachuting whenever he can, to deliver his bullets into the baddies faces. 

What is one positive about this game, and Naughty Dogg, pay attention to this, Just Cause 4 never seems to take itself too seriously. Unlike Neil Druckman. What Just Cause 4 does is let you blow shit up in the most over the top way you can imagine. Using rocket launchers, automatic shotguns, grenade launchers, and being ironically Latino at every single statement another character makes. With dialogue on one repetitive mission of hacking a base follows: “So you’re just going to run out when I honk the horn, and it could be the Black Hand.” “Eh, you live and you learn.” This is at least poking holes in the monotonous gameplay allowing the gamer to chuckle as both player and developer laugh at the mission playthrough.

The flexibility of jumping in and out a parachute and then hang glide back into place reminds me why video games must not always follow Naughty Dogg. Rico is never too serious, as his swarthy Latin charm commands the screen, and we all know what he does to Mira’s face when she looks at him. Just like your mom when she looks at me when I leave her room, and she makes me pancakes at 3 AM. Even if she had gotten into a fight with him. 

Picture borrowed from: https://tr.pinterest.com/MrKira97/just-cause-4/

What the level design speaks of is that while the side quests consist of disposing vehicles with bombs under a time limit, powering down sites with access to tanks, choppers, and plot related devices, as I played it, the missions have a fun factor that isn’t required in Oscar nominated films, but the type seen in big budget action films that aren’t too pretentious or they are underwhelming when the subtlety is ignored on a first playthrough. 

The story is simple, and allowing the word “fun” to be a part of video games in 2020 is presented as a disservice to an otherwise fun game that proves that games should be fun even though the side quest missions are repetitive. While this might be disappointing to hardcore gamers, some games, like Just Cause 4 never truly hit the mark of creating new and organic mission levels that outlive the first play through. 

If you don’t, you might be surprised at the subtle humor between the actors, and the writers, is a fun ride. I mean, having a wing suit and flying across the fictional South American landscapes, Solis, is half the fun. If you want to save time, just fast travel, but to do that in this game is almost denying yourself the thrill of what a game can do. Be fun and exciting. 

While Uncharted goes for scenic fight scenes that are just as memorable, Just Cause is almost the Latin American cousin of Nathan Drake’s Uncharted. But what can be said are positive, there are negatives. 

The negatives are simple. Sometimes when I grapple, the camera pulls into the wall and I’m stuck before my enemies kill me. When playing part of the submarine machines in the DLC, I can fall into the antenna bay, and I can see myself inside it as if the development team didn’t look it over one last time. Another negative is that if you want variety, the repetitive side missions, while fun momentarily, can be a hindrance if you remember the missions in GTA 5, where each mission is new and exciting and the team at Rockstar put so much time in crafting a new mission that can be replayed over and over again for years to come. 

Sometimes missions in an open world game should be inventive and prove to satisfy on a technical but also story driven level, I didn’t feel the need to complete the side quests to upgrade the wing suit as I didn’t really feel the need as I could get by without it. If you don’t have the jet pack from the complete edition, then there would be a need to upgrade the wing suit. 

What can be said about Just Cause 4 is that it continues with the deserved male chauvinism that Naughty Dogg discontinued in Uncharted, but what Just Cause 4 delivers with bravado and bullets, it can be satisfying for the first play through, and the DLC, while entertaining, doesn’t pull me in to play further. Just Cause 4 isn’t a classic, but it does provide sedentary thrills while waiting for other games to come out in the meantime. And again, a wing suit and the ability to fly over mountains and greenery almost proves that the series may provide further experience in a series that hasn’t reached its peak yet.

6/10

Header photo. borrowed from: /https://www.instant-gaming.com/en/2666-buy-game-steam-just-cause-4/

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