Just Cause 4 is insane. It’s not the best looking or the most sophisticated game by a long shot. At first, it might look like it’s a totally grounded game, but it’s nothing of the sort. Sometimes it looks like it’s a bit too wild for its own good. Sometimes it looks like the craziness is way too over-the-top. But it always looks like a lot of fun. Avalanche Studios’ Just Cause 4 takes place in the fictional South American country of Solis. Rico Rodriguez, the familiar protagonist, is setting up shop in Solis to figure out his past and put together the pieces of a puzzle he’s long wanted answers to.
The world of Solis is a great fit for Just Cause 4, with its hilly terrain, mountainous reaches, big cities, and a jungle-like atmosphere. From the parts we saw in the briefing, the world is teeming with life. You’ll see see an abundance of people walking the streets, cars crossing high-up bridges, and trouble around every corner. It really looks like there is a lot to do in this world; a vast jungle metropolis, something you don’t see in most places around the world, something unique to South America, and even unique to most games.
What gameplay we saw was Rico gliding over a very lush part of Solis. There’s dust everywhere in the air throughout Just Cause 4, and it’s all heading in different directions. This is actually a wind chart, and with this you can glide with your parachute or wing suit anywhere throughout the country. If you travel in the same direction as the wind, it will take you there faster, or slower if you’re going against it. This wind element is a big factor when it comes to getting around, so you’ll have to get the hang of it right away. But it doesn’t look difficult at all.
Gunplay is vastly similar to Just Cause 3. Rico’s assault rifle looks simple to control. Along with that, we got to see the zip-line, using which Rico can zip from one location with a rope that shoots out from a gun, allowing him to get to high places much easier than finding stairs or climbing something. There’s also a new device in the game, and it acts similarly to Metal Gear Solid 5’s Fulton Recovery balloons. This new weapon of Rico’s allows him to shoot out a tag, causing a massive balloon to pop out and fly away. Depending on how heavy the item is, it may take several balloons to launch certain items. Unlike MGSV, however, you aren’t recovering these items, just sending them into a tizzy for the hell of it. This contraption can be used to your advantage. For example, you can launch a propane tank into the air and shoot at it to get a major explosion, or a big truck full of enemies to have it fly away and over a bridge to their deaths. It looks really awesome, and the physics of the balloons also work with the wind system in the game.
We’re reminded that everything in Just Cause is actually there for interactivity. There aren’t any set pieces off limits, and everything can be messed with. Which lead us to the next big thing: a sky high tornado that is en route to a city to destroy it, but the city is prepared with tornado blockers. We find the blockers and attach our balloon contraption to the first one. The tornado blocking machine is sending out a wave of energy, forcing the tornado to remain at bay, unable to pass further. But as we launch the balloon, the blocker pops up into the air and begins to spin violently and out of control, losing its power. Then a series of enemies arrive. The stealth in the game is on par with the previous entry in the series; this isn’t a good example of how stealth should work, but Rico found enough walls to hide behind to fight off the enemies. Eventually he defeated the enemies and destroyed the next tornado blocker machine. They also malfunction by bullets, but that’s no fun. So another balloon! More enemies, then the next one. Finally, all tornado blockers had left the landscape, and the tornado was free to continue on its destructive path and destroy whatever lied beyond.
The demo ended before we could see the tornado’s destructive power, but watching it get to that point was a lot of fun. There are a ton of things Just Cause 4 allows you to do, but how to get to doing them is all up to you. The ability to do anything in the game’s world seemed to be the big message at this year’s E3, and Just Cause 4 is definitely a game that really wants you to feel that freedom. With some cool new weapons and tech, I can’t wait to see what’s next for this engrossing game.