I was originally introduced to the Just Cause franchise three years ago, when Just Cause 3 hit consoles. It was an absolute blast running and gunning as grizzled hero Rico Rodriguez: The parachuting! The wing suit! The creative ways I came up with to complete missions and dispatch my enemies!
It looks like Just Cause 4 is ready to follow in its predecessors footsteps with a delightful sequel that ratchets up the crazy even higher. This game goes to eleven, my friends.
So how does Just Cause 4 change up the franchise? If you're expecting a reinvention of the wheel, you'll probably be disappointed; however, if you're a fan of the series and hoping for more of the same (just cranked up), you'll get what you're hoping for. In my time playing, I was able to check out an early part of the game to get a feel for Rico's loadouts and the gameplay, and then skip forward to later on for a full arsenal to play around with.
The grappling hook is as fun as ever, and still integral to Rico's kit. Attaching boosters and retractors to it made for some hilarious high jinks; at one point, I was able to fashion a sort of flying bus that I could steer around in the sky while shooting rockets at enemy satellites. We also watched a developer turn a seaside carousel into a fiery ride of doom -- whatever weird combinations you're thinking of, JC4 not only makes them possible, it encourages them. You'll get the most enjoyment out of this game if you play it completely out of the box, dreaming up your craziest concepts and executing them with glee.
The entire game takes place on the island of Solis, a South American paradise with some very strange weather patterns. Those extreme weather events are scattered around the island, and you'll have to figure out the best way to get things done when you're in proximity of them. If you're wondering, "Ashley, how fun is it to toss a helicopter full of enemies into a tornado," my answer to that is MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF FUN. It's a bit different when you're actually trying to complete a mission near the tornado (or any of the other major weather events), but it's still part of the game's charm this time around.
The main story revolves around the mystery of Rico's dad and Project Ilapa, which is the machine powering those wild weather occurrences; I'm curious to see if the narrative is a bit of window dressing to make the game engine feel like an actual game instead of just a sandbox, or something a bit more meaty and significant. A good story would be icing on an exploding cake when it comes to Just Cause 4.
But let's all be honest with ourselves: We're here to blow stuff up.
Just Cause 4 drops for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on Dec. 4, 2018.