Avalanche’s bombastic open world franchise returns.
Avalanche Studios’ Just Cause may not be the standard setter when it comes to the open world variety of games, but with its impressive destruction mechanics, large scale of worlds, and, of course, EXPLOSIONS, it has made a name for itself for being consistently fun, if nothing else. Just Cause has had its up and downs, sure, but there’s no denying that it’s almost always a blast to play through these games, at the very least. Just Cause 4 is looking exciting for all the same reasons, and with not long to go before it launches worldwide, in this feature, we’re going to take a look at the fifteen bits of information we have that have got us most excited about the return of Rico Rodriguez. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
In Just Cause 4, Rico Rodriguez is going to butt heads with Black Hand, the world’s most powerful private military group, which has ties with both Salvador Mendoza and Sebastiano Di Ravello, who, of course, were important characters in Just Cause 1 and 3. When Rico discovers that his father may have been working with the Black Hand at one point, he decides to try and uncover hidden details about his past.
The leader of the Black Hand is a woman named Gabriella Morales. Rico’s fight against the Black Hand is going to be no cake walk either, because as it turns out, they have managed to acquire advanced technology and equipment used by the eDEN Corporation, a name you would recognize if you’ve played the Sky Fortress, Mech Land Assault, and Bavarium Sea Heist DLCs of Just Cause 3.
Just Cause games always feature some of the best and most beautiful settings. In Just Cause 4, Rico’s headed to South America, to the fictional country named Solis, which seems to be the base of operations for the Black Hand. As expected, it’s going to be large, beautiful, and serve as a playground for unlimited havoc and chaos.
Solis is going to be divided into four distinct regions, each representing their own biome. Each will have its own unique physical and geographical properties, and each will be characterized by different weather patterns (which we’ll get to in a bit). From dense jungles to snowy mountains, arid deserts, and, of course, urban cityscapes, there’s plenty we’ve seen of Solis so far.
Avalanche Studios’ current build for what is known as the Apex Engine was designed by them for for the development of Just Cause 2, originally, but since then, it’s been put to almost every subsequent game they’ve made, including Just Cause 3 and Mad Max (and will also be used in the upcoming RAGE 2). Unsurprisingly, Just Cause 4 also uses the Apex Engine- but it makes a few notable improvements.
The Apex Engine was retooled by Avalanche for Just Cause 4, so that it could allow them to have much more diverse and extreme weather patters in the game- which we’ll be speaking about in greater detail in just a bit. The engine also makes improvements to things such as animations, physics-based rendering, and perhaps more notably, to enemy AI. Speaking of which…
Combat in Just Cause 4 is going to be more challenging than it has been in past Just Cause games, thanks to the aforementioned improvements made to the Apex Engine. Enemies in the game are going to be smarter, more capable, and more adaptable, allow them to use better tactics. All around, they’re going to pose more of a threat to the player, and hopefully make the combat much more challenging.
This, of course, is the highlight of Just Cause 4. System-based dynamic weather is something that we’ve seen in open world games a great deal, but Avalanche Studios’ next title seems to be taking it to another level. We’re not just talking about your regular, run-off-the-mill, every Tuesday rainfalls and thunderstorms. We’re talking harsh blizzards, furious sandstorms, deadly tornadoes. The most exciting thing about these weather systems is that they’re going to physically interact with the world and everything in it, which means everything around a tornado is going to get sucked right into the vortex- which could include you as well.
Rico’s grappler is one of the things that is associated with Just Cause the most, so of course, it’s going to return in Just Cause 4. Except, it’s receiving some notable improvements, with more enhancements for players to make use of. For starters, players will be able to tether a larger number of objects together, and anyone who’s played Just Cause before can vouch for the possibilities that promises to hold. The rocket boosters from Just Cause 3 will also be in the game, but this time they will be featured as a mod for the grappler.
But that’s not all as far as improvements made to the grappler are concerned. One of the most notable upgrades made to the grappler this time around is the fact that it is going to be fully customizable. What sort of customizations these will be and to what extent they can be modified is something that we do not know too much about, though we do know that one particular mod for the grappler, known as the Pulse mod, will adds an electrically charged explosion to your grapple.
Another interesting new item that is being added in Just Cause 4 is the Airlifter, which works a lot like Fulton from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Players will be able to attach balloons to anything they see – vehicles, objects, even people – which will then lift whatever the balloon is attached to up into the air. Combine that with the grapple, Rico’s wingsuit, and Just Cause’s natural tendencies of chaos, and it’s not too had to imagine the sandbox possibilities.
No one looks at a Just Cause game and says, “you know, there’s not enough tools to cause absolute mayhem”. Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Because clearly, that’s exactly what Avalanche did. The extreme weather systems might be the highlight addition here, but Avalanche have also added a secondary fire mode to each weapon in the game. While some of these might be logical and predictable, like an assault rifle firing grenades, others might be a bit more whacky, such as a sniper rifle shooting homing rockets.
Vehicles are, of course, an important part of any Just Cause game (really, any Avalanche game in general). In Just Cause 4, there’s going to be land vehicles ranging from the civilian type to the military, armoured kind; aerial vehicles like choppers and jets; while sea vehicles will also obviously return. The wingsuit, of course, is in as well, while hoverboards are also going to be included in the game. Each vehicle will also have its own unique aerodynamic properties, meaning that some vehicles might be more prone to damage to certain weather patterns than others. In fact, one particular vehicle, known as the Stormchaser – which is essentially an armoured truck – is immune to the destructive powers of tornadoes.
Just Cause 4’s Gold Edition, which costs $89.99, will come with plenty of bonuses. For starters, on top of the base game itself, it will also include the expansion pass, giving players access to each of the three planned DLCs. It will also include a bunch of Golden Gear equipment,such as the Golden Gear shotgun, the Golden Gear wingsuit, and the Golden Gear parachute. Lastly, those who purchase the Gold Edition will also get 24 hours’ early access to the game.
XBOX ONE X AND PS4 PRO ENHANCEMENTS
Like most major releases (and plenty of not-so-major releases as well), Just Cause 4 is going to include enhancements for both the PS4 and the Xbox One X. What enhancements? That is, sadly, something that Avalanche or Square Enix haven’t gone into, so we don’t know anything about whether or not 4K or higher frame rates are on the card. We can, at the very least, expect higher resolutions on both enhanced consoles.