Saturday, April 23, 2016

PS4: Just Cause 3

This was what I was playing when my PC's new video card was being RMA'd. It was my first game for the PS4, which is weird, because normally I play a game that is exclusive to the system. When you have All of The Systems, you have to figure out which system to buy a game for. Honestly, that game is InFamous: Second Son but it did not arrive with my PS4, so Just Cause 3 it was. Stupid backorder.

Who started the wars between the Reds and the Blues? Why are the Reds such bad guys? Why are the Blues always the underdogs, striving to take power from those dastardly reds? These are the real questions.

Like Farcry 4 before it, the core element of Just Cause 3 is being a revolutionary (the icon of the blues) taking back control of a fictional country. As you expand your control, base by base province by province, the story moves forward and the government forces (the reds) become more focused on you. Your response is more violence, blowing everything up. Tearing it all down. Maniacal laughter, maniacal laughter.

Ahh the conundrum. What makes you different from the Reds, what makes you, Rico Rodriguez, different from their megalomaniacal General DiRavello? But these are not the questions asked. Meh; this game doesn't really ask any questions. Its too busy blowing shit up.

This game is fun. This game is violent. It makes no attempt to measure the amount of senseless chaos you commit as a revolutionary. In fact, it's one of the game's mechanics --- you get rewarded in Chaos Points for blowing said shit up. This is one of those games where the "story" is just an afterthought.

Story? The thinnest of threads. You are Rico Rodriguez, a latin action movie star analog, an agent of some CIA organization designed to take down dictators. You are returning to your home country of Medici, an island nation off the coast of Italy, but could just as easily be somewhere in the Latin Americas. General DiRavello has set himself up as dictator and your childhood friend Mario Frigo has joined the revolution. You join up. You blow shit up. You become the icon of the revolution, a literal one man army. But really, the missions are just fun excuses to further the blowing up of said shit, and while some are creatively written, most are by the books "Rico! We need you to do this or the General will stop us!"

Yes, the mechanics are fun. Blowing stuff up and mowing down endless red hatted mooks is fun.  And you get a Batman/Spider-Man grappling contraption attached to your wrist, so you find yourself grappling & swinging from here to there, cows to cars, tanks to airplanes, ground to roof. You get a decent selection of cars, planes, boats and guns to play with or hijack, usually via your grapple. You can do some crazy shit.

But it gets tired very quickly. Usually I have to remind myself to catch up with the story line. About half way through this game, I was just pushing the minimum requirements to go from each story segment to the next. Rinse and repeat, take over more territory, viva la revolution.

This kind of game is meant for the 100%-ers, the people who want to find everything, collect all the Achievements, visit every point of the map. I have to be fully immersed in the game, as I was with Fallout 4, to be interested in doing that. This game is not about immersion; its gameplay is too outrageous for it. And the fun does diminish as you cover all the basic elements of gameplay.

And to top it all off, it has one of the worst endings I have ever played. Not a challening, constantly being repeated attempt at the final boss bad, but a quick kill to the credits. That's it ! You shoot him ! End credits ! No denouement, no monologuing, no afterthought about the fate of your island. DLC ? Next game in the line? Who knows but, honestly, by then I was just glad to finish the game even though much of DiRavello's forces controlled the northern islands.

Fun but done.