Just Cause 4 – What went wrong and how it kind of recovered
In this “review” I will express my entire opinion on Just Cause 4, from the first trailer, to now. It will contain my views on the game’s marketing, it’s “representatives”, the E3 streams, the main game, main DLC and mini DLC and an overall sum-up.
So let’s get some things out the way:
- Any swears I write down in this are not meant to target ANYONE associated with Just Cause 4 whatsoever, they just add to how I feel about certain things regarding this game and, when left out, would limit how I can express my opinion about this entire situation.
- I do by no means hate, or entirely dislike Just Cause 4 at all, even if a lot of my views on the main game are negative
- I do no not blame single individuals for how this situation turned out, i am more than certain a bigger group of people and series of events led to this
It is early to mid 2017 and some fans, including me, started to wonder about when the next Just Cause game would be released, or in the worst case, at all. Playing Just Cause 3 Multiplayer, i heard a good 50% plus of people saying how much better Just cause 2 is, compared to Just Cause 3. But not just in JC3MP, online as well. Additionally, many people disliked the game at launch about how it seems to have less content and appears less serious than Just Cause 2. Some people even speculated that the series would be coming to an end, with no more games releasing because the game “did poorly” compared to older installations. I looked up estimates about how well the game did, and I remember one site claiming around 3.2 million copies sold. To me back then this seemed like a lot, and it kind of is. Just Cause isn’t that well known compared to what you’d expect and especially other AAA games. But still, of course I wouldn’t give up hope on this.
In the coming months a few videos popped up as some Square Enix job listings popped up for senior open world and online programmers and some immediately interpreted it as “OMG GUYS JC4 IS CONFIRMED WITH ONLINE MODE”. Eh, i never really bother with getting my hopes up with these kind of videos, although it added at least a little to my hopes for another JC game, the online part seemed unlikely though. I saw videos of two youtubers that continually published videos about speculations of the game and enjoyed listening to what others hoped would be in the game or what could be the big new feature.
Fast forward to sometime in 2018, I was still positive there was going to be a new game, not anytime soon though. Looking at how JC1 released 2006, JC2 in 2010 and JC3 in 2015, I was expecting an eventual JC4 to release in late 2019 or early to mid 2020. I remember seeing a video that had one of the JC3 developers talk about some problems they faced while making JC3, so with the dev-team learning from those previous mistakes and problems, a 4 to 5 year gap seemed realistic. Mid 2018, a Walmart page accidentally showed a listing for Just Cause 4, which had people go crazy about how there was going to be a new game, including me of course. The image that was supposed to be the game’s cover art, wasn’t present on that listing and was just black, so we still had no idea what to expect (of course the listing was removed shortly after). A few weeks or so later another “leak” surfaced with someone claiming to have played JC4. They described quite some aspects, wide and open landscape, more vehicle variety are some of the facts i remember. I wasn’t really sure what to think of this one, but some of the things on there seemed realistic and got me hyped up further. A few weeks before the game was shown off to the public, some people got a popup upon launching Steam, showing a short description of the game, along with its (as it turned out, final) cover/promotional art with Rico in front of a rainforest with a thunder above it. At this point there was no one that could prove the fact of an upcoming JC4 wrong.
I was a little confused though, the game’s cover art shown by Steam was the final one, at that time, however, I didn’t think it was. Something inside of me could never imagine any dev team pulling off a release of a JC game, that good looking in only three years. Another thing that supported this was the logo, it is just a simple white. The previous three games have a timeworn, cracked logo. I was sure the game wasn’t THAT close to release and this was just a placeholder logo. Those speculations faded away as, again, a few days later some more promotional images, this time ingame ones, showed up on a website. I was blown away by the stunning visuals those showed off. Surely, they were just made with some beast pc with all effects and graphical settings maxed out that no user will ever get, but still, it looked like the game was going to be the ultimate Just Cause game, that for sure barely anyone could complain about.
Now then, it was the day of the Microsoft conference. I didn’t watch it since i didn’t expect anything that interests me to show up. I was expecting them to show off Just Cause 4 on their own conference, but some time into the stream a friend sent me a link to the JC4 trailer that was just published and shown off live at the Microsoft stream. I’ve never been that excited as I was during those 1 minutes and 49 seconds. A new massive game world, amazing looking vehicles, a threat that appeared immensely serious and promised an amazing storyline and of course FRIKIN TORNADOES!
This was going to be it, the months up to JC4 were going to be longest wait ever. We went crazy over that trailer to say the least. Analyzing the heck out of it, we found some JC3 vehicles that seem to make a return among other things that blew everyone’s mind…
The streams were amazing. Three days of pure Just Cause 4 news and announcements, and best of all: gameplay! I watched most of it, but didn’t bother missing something too much as I didn’t want to get spoiled too much. Most things that were mentioned by the cast were subtle, yet they hyped up everyone even more. From time to time, they’d show a range of youtubers playing the game for like fifteen minutes, while the video premiered on their channel, starting of with Nerdcubed, and rightfully so. Back when Just Cause 3 was released, he released a separate video just to say how much he loves that game and is one of the few “big” youtubers, that actually played the game more than just once.
And this is where people started to ask questions. One of the youtubers they chose seems like a very questionable choice. I didn’t even know him back then and was super confused when, during his video, a lot of people spammed “big gay” in the live chat and you could see the dislikes rising up. I had no idea what everyone’s problem was, but just a quick look up of him answered some questions. Further research showed that he played JC3 ONCE, so no idea why they chose him. It just looked like they quickly sent some invites to big youtubers they found to promote the game and didn’t really look into how they are perceived by the general public.
The stream in general was alright, i really enjoyed watching it, or at least leave it open in the background when doing other things when there were sections with “just” talk. The gameplay sections were super fun to watch and created massive hype. HOWEVER; all the presentation of the game seemed very over exaggerated. This is the kind of presentation I would expect from the release hype up of Grand Theft Auto 6, not Just Cause 4. Additionally, the cast (as in not the devs) seemed like they overacted at times, especially some of the questions…you just instantly knew “yeah that is 100% scripted”. Then, while the cast talked about Nerdcubed’s gameplay, one of them called him “gamecube”. Not that that’s bad or anything, it just added to image that the show was either not prepared well, or some people didn’t really care about what’s going on. In the end he is, or at least so it seemed, the guy they emphasized on the most, as they kept bringing him up and used his gameplay the most.
With the E3 streams coming to and end, the Just Cause youtube channel started blasting out trailers, showing off different aspects of the game, with some developers talking about said aspect. Now, those were really well made and I don’t mind a ton of trailers at all. Again, i think they were exaggerated a bit for what Just Cause is. Plus, some things were just repeated over and over, I got seriously tired of it at times.
Over the course of those trailers being released, some fans also noticed an increase in quality in game models and textures. Something that obviously added to everyone’s expectations. At this point, expectations could in no way get any higher and the bar for this game was set astronomically high.
HOWEVER (yeah that’s a theme), as you all know, some of these trailers did not at all portray the final game. In these, Gabriella was shown to be the main villain and they wouldn’t shut up about her. Long story short, some of these are straight up false advertisement, which we will come back to later.
Now what could there possibly be to discuss regarding pre orders? Well, I wasn’t going to bring this up originally, but just a few days ago, they announced two more Just Cause 4 editions, which brings our total edition up to…uh…five? Exactly! There’s too many damn editions. We have:
- “Day one edition” – Get the game on December 4th.
- “Digital Deluxe edition” – Get the game on December 3rd. (preordering) plus 2 of the launch DLC
- “Gold edition” – Get the game on December 3rd. (preordering) plus expansion pass (3 main DLC), plus all 3 launch DLC
- (new) “Reloaded edition” – Same as Digital Deluxe but with all 3 launch DLC
- (new) “Complete edition” – All the DLC included
Even with the first three, when preorders went up, i had no idea what these were about until I checked on the Just Cause 4 site and with now five editions, like…why?
Isn’t marketing about making it as easy for the customer to know “this exists” and “these variations exist”? Well guess what, even with just these names, who the hell is supposed to know “oh, i get two DLC included in the Digital Deluxe edition”? Correct, nobody, in fact, what are these names supposed to be anyways?
Why not just:
- “Main game” with an option to pre order
- “Complete/Gold edition” main game with ALL upcoming DLC included with an option to preorder
- “Season Pass” ALL main DLC only
With those options every normal human being would instantly know what these are about, and why not have a “Complete edition” at launch anyways, that way you already covered your ass for idiots that are unable to read what’s included and later complain “Why isn’t [mini-DLC-xyz] included? This is a fucking ripoff!”.
Oh boy, this one got me upset when I saw their schedule. Below you can see the release schedule. Everyone preordering the game would get it one day early. The preorder date was said to be December 3rd. With non-pre orderers to get it December 4th. NOW, if you look at the table below, that is total BS, with XBOX players in Japan getting it on December 6th. Like, who approved this? This isn’t even funny.
Additionally, in any region, PC players got the game after consoles, although Steam allowed the game to be preloaded a week or so early, literally all they had to do is let Steam flip the switch and boom, but of course not. I’m not saying PC NEEDS to get it first, all I’m asking for is a release identical to console. I got it December 3rd at 6pm, plus decrypting the preloaded files, I was able to start playing like 30 minutes later, still not as bad as Japan…
Main game (positive)
Ah yes, finally it was here! I played through the intro and was already blown away by the visuals and effects. It is bright, has a tons of effect to make the environments more immersive and more!! Of course they didn’t look as good as promotional content, but of course it didn’t. That’s no problem, the game still looks awesome. (taken using aaronald´s entity spawner and the pause player event)
After finishing the first mission, you get into the first fight during the second mission that explains some features of the game, this one was focusing on the new AR-scan, which I really like and makes a minimap obsolete. More things i really enjoy are:
- Overall, the game is a lot more optimised than Just Cause 3 is, i literally didn’t notice more than 15 noticeable frame drops while playing through the main story and I’m easily getting 65+ FPS on the highest settings, even next to a tornado and other extreme weather.
- The handling feels like a combination of Just Cause 3 and Just Cause 2, which honestly feels amazing and i didn’t expect Just Cause 3’s handling could be further improved! There are many different vehicles, a few were taken from Just Cause 3, but enhanced in both look and handling.
- Weapons feel amazing and the aiming feels a lot better than Just Cause 3’s, the secondary fire makes every weapon even more unique and feels satisfying to use.
- Movement on foot feels almost as smooth as Just Cause 3’s but is a little less responsive, but after some getting used to it is quite enjoyable.
- Weapons on vehicles do not have unlimited ammo anymore, which I neither really like or dislike it, it’s there and adds to the realism and you won’t run out of ammo that quick.
- Vehicles don’t explode as soon as you look at them like in Just Cause 3. But for real, you can jump out and they won’t explode as soon as they hit the ground after a fall of half a meter, and can hit a wall on low speeds without exploding which is a very welcome change.
- They improved weapons a lot since Just Cause 3, i do miss pistols though, and despite promotional material showing pistols, there are none of them ingame, I don’t see the difficulty of adding a third weapon like Just Cause 3 did it, I just guess they didn’t want the game to look too similar.
- As promised, there are a lot of different enemies, though, they don’t quite challenge the player as much as promised, the only one I had some problems with, is the warden, equipped with a railgun and takes a lot to take down.
- The shield enemy was also a bit more challenging, as you either have to attack him from another side, or shoot his feet or face through the little cutout to make him take down the shield for a moment.
- Most of the others could just be killed quite easily.
- The biggest let down was the ghost, who can become almost invisible, only leaving some distorted outlines to see him. I encountered ONE situation where he attacked me while being invisible, most of the time he was visible and during the first half of my play-though, I didn’t even know it was a ghost.
- To be fair though, enemies are a lot more intelligent as in jc3 and even try to properly dodge attackers, which honestly looks very impressive
- The missions overall were mostly fun, but a bit exaggerated, even for Just Cause standards.
- Yes, there are more than in Just Cause 3, but 3’s were more diverse and had a more “realistic” theme.
- The side missions are good to have, the stunts are a bit overwhelming at first since there’s so many, but they assure you’ll be busy for a few hours longer.
- The newly added gear is just fun to play around with. It opens so much more creative ways to cause chaos and allows for countless hours of freeroam.
Movement on foot:
- It feels great. You can clearly feel it’s heavily based on Just Cause 3, which is good, I don’t mind them reusing parts of previous games as long as they slightly improve or change it, which they clearly did.
- The grapple speed feels a little slower than Just Cause 3’s, which you can easily get used to after a while
- The parachute does also feel a bit different, although I can’t point my finger at it. When pressing s while parachuting, you will not just slow down and slowly go down, Rico will lean backwards and you will slowly move backwards too, which is very useful for precise aiming midair.
- I really like the unique take on the game’s ui. It still has no minimap, but as promised, the AR-scan made up for that. The spawn menu is also rather unique, unlike anything I saw before and I love it, especially after the patch that made it control more like JC3’s. I know some people don’t really like it because of how different it is, but i really like it!
- Unlike the problems I have with this new system I will mention later, i really like it. Especially the positioning and rotation feature!
- The AI update in Q1 is amazing! It can get quite difficult to lose your wanted level once you’ve triggered the black hand going after you, especially in air, I found myself flying around for like 15 minutes, with the black hand still on my tail!
With the game’s launch, it also brought along a few weapons, vehicles and gear for purchase. The one I like most is, of course, the weaponized wingsuit with boost, similar to Just Cause 3’s. I have nothing to complain about these, apart from the fact that the boosted wingsuit should have been part of the main game by default. I don’t mind having to purchase it, unlike some people online, however it’s the closest things about this game that i would call rip-off.
Main game (problematic)
- Vehicles that were submerged in water, stop working after getting them on land again, unlike jc3 which just stopped nitrous and jump from working
- Getting onto the roof of a vehicle, requires you to hold e, then select whether you want to go to the roof, or hang below unlike jc3 which just required a press on the space bar. This now causes you to parachute out the vehicle unlike jc3 which required you to hold space. This isn’t that big of an issue and was likely done to make the games not too similar, it’s just something I dislike.
- Sometimes, especially at the start of the game, there is very little guidance and basic game mechanics, e.g. how frontlines were need to be figured out by yourself
- There are a bunch of wingsuit skins, which can be obtained by completing various tasks. What are these tasks you might ask? Well, there are already some articles on the internet, but none of them has all of them listed. This is caused by absolutely no help on how to get them, expect a rarely appearing message on the loading screen which you won’t even get to fully read most the time
Main game (negative)
Starting off in the game, at first there was nothing to see I could complain about. But after some looking closer, oof. The very first thing I spotted, was during the first squad fight, the black overlays on the ground that were supposed to be explosion impacts, kept flickering, depending on what angle the camera was.
After this mission, the squad battles were not explained yet, so I wasted like 10 minutes fighting black hand soldiers, that of course kept respawning. Squad battles kept unexplained for a good while and I had no idea how they worked until then. Another thing i noticed relatively quickly, were how bad boat physics are. The first time I used a boat that had turbojump and did a hard landing onto water, it didn’t feel like i was landing in water, it felt more like landing on pillows that were on top of asphalt. The boat goes down a little into the water and then rapidly stops. The first version of the game also did not have any waves coming behind the boat as i was driving on water and felt super unfinished. Next thing I noticed, and this honestly was the first time the game disappointed me so much, I almost felt bad myself. I discovered a giant waterfall and drove down. The river continued at the bottom, but it had no currents at all, further down, i drove off a smaller waterfall and wanted to take a closer look. The smaller “waterfalls” back then were nothing more than a non-moving, low res texture and a few “splash effects”. I began questioning whether it was just my game, but others also had this. This was patched in a later version.
Additionally, to this day, the waterfall “physics” are an absolute joke and it hurts even calling that physics. As soon as you get close to a waterfall, it just puts Rico into ragdoll…done! And that even happens when you are about a meter away from the water. I seriously had situations where I was stuck for several minutes because I was stuck in a rock, but still under the influence of the waterfall “physics”. I later discovered that this is 100% reused from Just Cause 2 btw. Something I don’t think was that big of a deal but everyone kept going crazy about were how lighting behaves under water and the very low res rocks. This too was patched, but the water was like this for several months.
I personally didn’t think these were as bad as everyone claimed, but nothing like this belongs in a 2018 AAA game that you can, all in all, pay up to 100 Euros for.
When setting the ui to “hide all”, it will in fact hide everything! Wow! But should you enter a car afterwards, the speed-meter will reappear, ruining potential screenshots you’d like to take and ruining the immersive feeling in general (screenshot of a mod currently unreleased)
The first version of the game did have very confusing ui controls, but thankfully those were made to control like Just Cause 3’s in a patch.
Transitions between biomes still are very abrupt. Take as an example, you are leaving the snowy mountains with snow particles and fog in the distance as in the screenshot above and you are moving towards the desert biome. Upon crossing the border, within seconds, that fog is gone and the desert’s warmer environment feeling kicks in. This isn’t as bad as the V1 waterfalls, but to me feels super cheap. The biomes on their own have amazing atmosphere, nothing to complain about, but crossing them ruins everything the biome before built up.
The first release caused a LOT of crashes. For most of my friends it was in game, but in most cases, lowering the graphical settings helped. For me though, it liked to crash on startup. My record was three crashes in a row, this too was fixed thankfully.
Cutscenes look awful, i remember cutscenes on the 3ds that look better. Not only are they somewhat blurry by day…at night or dark surroundings…just no. For some reason it looks like when they rendered cutscenes, the game still applied outlines as if it was daytime.
When you request a rebeldrop in Just Cause 4, that item is dropped in a container, like in Just Cause 3. However, that container does not open right away on hitting the ground, but stays closed until it stops moving completely and even then, opening is still delayed by a few seconds. This is especially annoying when dropping items off road, especially on a steep mountain, like at the alpine area. You’re just left with watching your items roll down the mountain in a container. Something else that happens when dropping items on wooden bridges is that the box would clip through it and your items will be stuck in the water.
Oh, what a transition…Once vehicles enter any body of water, they stop working, even if you use tethers to get them back out, when in JC3 only nitrous and turbojump stopped working.
Main game (very questionable issues)
This is a short one, yet one of my biggest concerns after what you are about to read. The blimp vehicle in the first version of the game. When I did some freeroaming around, I spotted a few flying around and hijacked one. It looks super fun and I wanted to see what could be done with it, though, I couldn’t figure out how to control it. I felt pretty stupid, I mean, how hard could it be to fly this? I asked a friend and they had the same issue. Moving forward, also made the blimp go up and vice versa. It was IMPOSSIBLE to make it turn without using boosters. It turned out they FORGOT to add PC controls for it…really? Like, all the previous issues are…well not this ridiculous and once again shows their focus on console over PC.
- Uh…what to say about it…it’s there, sometimes, while playing through the story.
- The ONLY extreme weather that was really there was the tornado.
- The sandstorm never appeared, lightning and blizzard were exclusive to one fixed spot. After playing the weather specific missions, there’s no more extreme weather unless you turn it “back on”.
- The lightning and blizzard should stay turned off as they still “attack” you when entering their surrounding area.
- The tornado and sandstorm, once turned back “on” only appear once, after they disappear, they need to be turned on again, so after two times of doing that i just stopped bothering with it. Kind of let down for the main element of the game.
There are a few parts of missions that require the usage of Rico’s tools, and uh, one “challenge”, i really think there needed to be a few more situations that required some creative thinking to progress the mission/objective
Main game (Things i literally hate)
Continuing with vehicles, vehicles you rebeldrop do no longer have nitrous and turbojump enabled by default. In Just Cause 3, vehicles on the road do not have these either, however vehicles you already brought to the mechanic and unlocked and rebeldrop, all have those enabled. This is one of the few things that made me even more sad than the waterfalls in version 1. THIS is what made a lot of the crazy things people do In Just Cause 3 possible at all! The vehicles can look and control as good as they do in the game, if they don’t have the capabilities to enable you to create crazy things, they are mostly useless. I can understand vehicles with secondary functions like the massive crane not having them, but then again Protatos mod to enable those for every vehicle proves that it works perfectly fine on ANY vehicle without any drawbacks. This move just shows lazy and rushed some parts of the game are and nobody took their afternoon to configure nitrous and jump for most vehicles.
Scattered all over the map, you can find small “challenges”. These can be anything from “fly through these three rings” to “pass through this ring in a specific vehicle”. Exciting stuff, i know. Just Cause 3 has something similar, but so much better. It has “pass through the ring”, but it’s a full course like a race in all kinds of vehicles and even for the wingsuit that were actually challenging. There are way more, but none of them is found in JC4. And not just that, they unlock “gears” that don’t just help you reach 100% completion, but also unlock abilities, like longer wingsuit boost, more tethers, stronger nitrous etc. In JC3 they can’t be completed within three seconds, but again take several tries and around two minutes for one runthrough. They don’t just extend the time you need to 100% the game,but are also really fun. Some are pretty hard, but are even more satisfying to complete and you know it actually does something getting those 5/5 gears after 15 tries. Now, I would have been fine if those “3 ring challenges” JC4 has would have been added for the monthly challenges as a little bonus, but those already being the base-game makes the game seem rushed so much more. On the other hand though, I like that there’s no loading time attached to them, however adapting JC3’s version to this can’t be too hard.
The game’s graphics…I said before i really like them, however at the E3 stream’s youtuber gameplay, the game looked so much better than the release version does…What the actual fuck happened? I get that console might not be able to handle all the effects, but surely they could have figured out a way to compensate for increased effect usage and making it optional to enable, at least on PC…
The rebeldrop menu ordering…
…i hate it with everything I got. Like, just WHO got up in the morning and was like “yeah, let’s put that bike into a menu with a tank icon…and AND, yes this is genius, the boat goes to the sportscar icon”???
Like, I get some decisions, but this is just a mess, give me a tank category, one for boats, one for sportscars, old cars, helis, bikes, planes, etc…it’s surely not that hard, you did just that in JC3 and who exactly complained about a logical ordering, yeah, no one
One more thing before the biggest and most awful change, the final boss-fight, if i can even call it that. All the build up they made, impressive visuals along the way, mission exclusive areas that are fun to explore, all for nothing as the game ends in nothing more than a short cutscene of Rico flying the tornado controller into Espinosa’s helicopter, done. And the trailers that promoted Gabriella as an interesting enemy, all for nothing as you only end up seeing her twice during cutscenes…
And now to the one thing everyone reading this waited for. Say it with me:
B a s e l i b e r a t i o n
or more fittingly, the absence of it. Just Cause 2 has something similar where liberating bases was handled in a similar way. Though that also had way more story elements that made up for that. Additionally the tasks you completed required a bit more skill than just busting in, killing five enemies, completing a task and walking out in peace. Just Cause 2 is hard. The objective is heavily guarded and at times required several tries and you could still fail attempting to leave the site. Just Cause 3 and onward is what most people consider the more modern era of Just Cause and hence what most people expect from those games. That is seamless gameplay, a story that drives the game forward, but isn’t too heavily focused on and the fun of blowing up EVERYTHING. Liberating bases in Just Cause 3 is the main way of advancing the game besides missions. In Just Cause 4, blowing up most things brings no satisfaction after some time, since it doesn’t do anything, additionally, bases keep repsawning so even if you complete the game and could mess around, you still won’t as during the entire game, blowing things up had barely any effect. Now, i like that JC4 does have a more serious and story and more missions, I in fact love that! However liberating bases should have been handled like in JC3. Something i would have been completely fine with, is a combination of both. On bigger bases, complete a certain task, like, say, get back an item that could help the enemy and blow it up afterwards.
I was really surprised about all the variety and creativity with eastereggs in this game! Returning eastereggs from previous games, new ones! Everything is here! Unlike Just Cause 3 which had smaller and more hidden eastereggs, in Just Cause 4 due to how varied and open to exploration the world is, you might have a bigger chance of running into one! Overall, eastereggs are on point!
The new engine
A short stop before i cover the Main DLC. They kept flexing their new engine, how it can do everything they could ever imagine and how it is absolutely necessary for Just Cause 4. I do have to say, like i mentioned above, i barely had any framedrops, even in the most intense conditions. Everything runs smoother as I could have ever imagined. That comes at a cost however, the engine yeets everything out of memory that gets more than fifty meter away. So, say you are preparing a stunt at the main airport and park your car at the start of the runway to get a plane, it’s common for that car to despawn. Glitching below the map also shows how weird it handles some locations, so villages and larger structures. Moving around under the map shows them flickering like crazy, which I’m very curious about.
DLC and Trailers
After a few months of patches, we finally got a first DLC trailer for the daredevils update. Actually this wasn’t the first trailer. There was one right after the game’s release and was supposed to paint a rough picture of what the main three DLC would be about. Nothing to complain here at all. However when the first real DLC trailer dropped, i was still super excited and was expecting a lot, even after all the letdowns of the main game.
This one was going to be all about races. I’ve had fun with racing in JC3MP and still do to this day and was so happy to finally see races being in the main game as a full gameplay element. The trailer promised several game modes and even showed a glimpse of what seemed to be classic races. There were a few videos of youtubers that got it early. I skipped those since I didn’t want to get spoiled on it.
Upon release, everything seemed great, a new island, weaponized vehicles, a new short storyline and tons of intense race gameplay. The story started off a little abrupt, but i don’t mind that too much, after being called to a destroyed village, you had to reach the new island where you meet one of the crew leaders (i guess) and drive to their HQ. On that ride you have to avoid several obstacles which hyped me up even more of what was about to come. The cutscenes, like for the JC3 DLC, were sadly not rendered in the actual game world, but were animated. They looked unlike the game’s entire style before, but i really enjoyed them.
You then start with your first…uh…challenge? Drive around a varied small area and destroy as much stuff as possible, quick to keep your score multipliers. Took me some time to figure out that THAT was the objective, but pretty fun. I also loved the music which made these so immersive.
After that you could choose between several other challenges of various types. After playing some of these I really liked it, however to progress, you need certain scores at some of them. And that was when it went downhill. Now it was replay, replay, replay until you meet the requirements to progress and some of these asked for almost impossible scores. You needed to NEVER lose your multipliers which is impossible on the longer ones. Adding to that the constantly repeating four songs and repeating edgy commentary made it really annoying after a while. I retried some of the challenges, but without luck, there was also an overabundance of…stuff…going on on screen, mostly on the more linear ones, that it has to keep track off while also shooting as much stuff as possible and all that within a time limit. After some days I ended up giving up on ever getting this DLC completed at all and still haven’t to this day, it’s just no fun after playing the same thing 20 times with similar or worse results as your original score.
There was also no “classic” races to be seen anywhere. Now, this was never explicitly said to appear, but one of the trailers still showed around 8 cars lined up at the beginning of a race, which again didn’t happen. Not fully sure if this counts as false advertising. However there is something that does, one of the trailers showed the car’s “turbine” styled boosters pushing the car upwards in midair, this doesn’t work in the game at all, since those boosters just act like regular nitrous, that don’t do anything in the air.
But still, after all i just said, you still can’t ignore the DLC’s amazing visuals, especially at night
- Los Demonios:
Not gonna lie, I was still upset about how bad the last DLC was and when i saw alien-bugs. At this point I just thought “oh wow, more gimmicks that probably get boring as fast as the last DLC”. But things changed when it came out. NOW THIS is what I signed up for! Crazy action, actual base liberation, an actual story and trailer-worthy visuals. To start, the visuals. Just wow, this is everything you could ever ask for, proper lighting, textures that popped out compared to the main game, all the particles and effects on the aliens.
But not only that the graphics are as good as ever, some of the cutscenes in this DLC were actually rendered in the game world, with the animated ones, once again being unique in their own way.
The short story is that another researcher uncovered ancient ruins with a threat to the entirety of Solís and Rico having to stop them together with Javi. The story is a lot better than Daredevil’s, that basically stops after the introduction, but I would still have preferred a little more backstory.
Gameplay is what you’d expect from a Just Cause game, a return to base liberation and not just that, unique features to some “bases” scattered around Solís. The enemies could still be ignored for the most time, but that didn’t take away the fun. This expansion also introduced some unique gameplay mechanics throughout the story and new amazing weapons. Well, given that my aiming is horrible i tried to avoid most enemies and never really used the new crossbow apart from messing around in freeroam, it’s still a nice addition!
This DLC’s trailer is THE single most epic one in the entirety of Just Cause. After the
Demonios DLC and the return to base liberation and great gameplay, i was hyped more than ever for this DLC. And did it live up to my expectations? No, it surpassed them. First up, animated cutscenes look better than ever.
With more details and love put into them, I would not mind an entire Just Cause game with only cutscenes in this style. Story, finally some more backstory and in depth information as ever! New features, on point, not too much, not too few. And no useless gimmicks. Hoverboard, most fun addition to Just Cause after the bavarium wingsuit, I strongly hope it makes a return in JC5! Bases, again, actual liberation with varied bases and base-specific features, I would even go as far to say, these have the most varied chaos objects EVER.
New hoverboard courses, super fun and a worthy follow up to Just Cause 3’s challenges. And then we have the final boss fight. Unlike the base game’s joke of a, not even, boss-fight, this one is, again, a worthy follow up to JC3’s. Starting off with a vehicle chase around the exploded submarine and finally ending in an intense weapon-fight, THIS is great work! And it’s not just a boss that shoots at you, he fully utilizes the grapple hook, high ground with drones that also attack you and the entirety of the military boat you fight on. Beating this enemy gave me true satisfaction. Am I done with this DLC yet? Haha no! The ending cutscene did emerge more questions than answers, however the atmosphere is so well made, it didn’t overexcite, but also did not let the excitement of the boss-fight fade away. Only
towards the end, which I will come back to later. But all we know, the fight against the agency is far from over!
In conclusion of this DLC i would say, it even improved over Just Cause 3’s Bavarium Sea Heist DLC. Everything I love about this, was improved on here, except the totally overpowered eDEN spark, which was “split” into several great weapons here! But the character interaction, the story you slowly uncover and all the build-up that ended in one epic scene at the end, everything is there!
Main DLC – conclusion
Except Daredevils, the Main-DLC was an absolute blast and brought great additions to Just Cause 4 and Just Cause in general! Their release schedule was also very well planned out! Just when you almost forgot about the last one, they announced the next one!
The monthly challenges, just like I mentioned before, are a really nice addition to pass time between big DLC and are pretty fun too.
The legacy items really came out of nowhere and are one of the smaller things people wanted in Just Cause 3 – alternate skins! Although you could complain that Rico’s gear is not themed, it’s not too big of a problem and will surely be taken into account in JC5.
The Free Tuk Tuk Boom Boom, Chevalier Ice Breaker, Rubber Ducky and Clusterbomb Launcher were even less expected but another nice addition to the legacy items collection.
Add all of these together and you got an ideal way to bridge the gap between the main DLC, which already have an ideal release schedule!
Now, let’s not forget the mini-DLC! There are several packs, but i will not talk about them all on their own. I love them! Again, variety on point, nothing that makes you say “oh haven’t we already seen this?”. Now, some people might argue about the price of them. I also questioned that at first, but looking at how unique each and every vehicle-pack is and new mechanics and techniques were used to make them what they are, justifies that price point somewhat. I still think 4.49 would be a price that’s nicer to look at and would surely make more people buy them, in comparison to 4.99. Seeing how you can get three weaponized vehicles for JC3 for 5.97, and two for 4.99 in JC4 makes a lot of people question the price.
Just Cause social-media
In general i’ll say, i really like the stuff they post on their Twitter account. From little secrets in the game, teasers, the patch changelogs and of course the trailers, all in one place. But please for the love of god stop the overuse of emojis. Seriously at times i thought you let a seven-year old tweet for you. The following one is one of the worst examples, though it supports my point.
Apart from that though, i love how they don’t just post their own things on there, but also fan creations like art and some memes from Reddit were also posted on there! They even go as far as using fan-submitted videos as promotional content for the game, which I’ve never seen anyone do, massive respect for that!
Just Cause 4 – conclusion
With absolutely everything mentioned by now, I’d still like to conclude everything:
- The E3 event was pretty good, except a few moments where bad planning was VERY visible.
- Overall presentation was a bit exaggerated for what Just Cause is. Trailers showed everything there is to know about the game, though some things were repeated over, presentation is “more” fitting, still showed a completely wrong image of the story and created too much hype.
- The release schedule was total crap.
- The Main game was very obviously rushed out for christmas and had way too many small flaws that made people mad when added together and was taking itself way too serious.
- Presentation of the DLC is way more on point
- DLC itself is what partly rescued the game!
- ALL the DLC had a very well laid out release schedule to keep the game relevant
Just Cause 5
Yes, Just Cause 5 is practically confirmed by the ending cutscene of the Agency DLC!
Appears like it will take place somewhere around Washington. But that’s not what this section is about.
Just Cause 5 will have to be an absolute hit, else I can see Just Cause being in serious danger. Not only will it have to fix any and ALL issues people had with Just Cause 4 and 3 and combine them into one Massive game, but it’ll also have to innovate in the right places and bring fun and interesting additions to the Just Cause series as a whole without any compromise in ANYTHING. And with next gen consoles on the way, I don’t see any excuses why Just Cause 5 had to compromise in anything. Assuming the Just Cause team gets their shit together and doesn’t rush the next game too, we’re looking at a solid 3 to 4 years time until it’s release. By that time the new console hardware will be well known researched and known by the devs and they can adapt their games more to it in comparison to when the game would release only a year after new consoles. Like that, the PC versions of the game won’t be held back by console limitations as much as with current gen consoles.
The engine they’ve built was a necessary upgrade for a jump to how massive JC4 is and will help them to further improve on it’s already, mostly great, base and enable even more crazy physics and mechanics without too much performance impact.
Just Cause 4 brought “back” the snowmobile that was cancelled in Just Cause 3. However it’s not the only vehicle cancelled in that game. Files mentioning a submarine, vehicle_submarine_camera.xvmc a camera file with an unusual file extension for a camera file, is left over in Just Cause 3’s files. I fully expect underwater combat to be part of Just Cause 5, which would bring so many new gameplay possibilities and seeing how the team already played with that idea, I don’t see any reason for this to not be in Just Cause 5. And assuming this would be included, they would also be able to one-up the natural disasters with tsunamis, but let’s not focus on one assumption. Another element that was already rumored for JC4 were cars utilizing the grapple, which seems completely possible and plausible.
They also HAVE to bring back a real final fight, or else all that build up was for nothing. Same goes for pistols, they were removed from Just Cause 4 without any reason and could have helped bring more variety to the base game, same goes for grenades. And of course a return to base liberation. The DLC already moved towards the right direction, which is already promising for JC5.
Not essential, but bringing back more characters from more previous Just Cause games and references to previous locations will make the player feel more comforted by the game than have barely any references.
And the most essential, yet most obvious part, don’t promise things you can’t deliver, that’s literally the main thing that broke Just Cause 4’s neck.
With what i mentioned before about new console hardware, they are absolutely able to bump up the graphics to what Just Cause 4 looked during youtuber gameplay, which looks essentially like a completely different game and would totally srt them apart from a lot of other open world games and allows for explosive madness never seen before.
I do not expect them to implement any sort of online mode, but if they make Just Cause 5 a worthy follow up to JC3, i see absolutely no issues why a group of competent developers would not want to create a multiplayer mod for this game, further pushing the game’s popularity. Coming with that are also mods for the game that add even more crazy stuff to the game to keep it fun for longer and longer *wink*.
Should they actually have anything close planned to what I, and probably most people expect from a Just Cause 5, there is zero doubt about a great future for this franchise and this game will get more love, by any group of fans, than any game before!
A rant review by