With the release date for Just Cause 3 approaching fast, I finally had my chance at some hands-on with the games at Gamescom 2015. It was actually split into two parts as I had a chance to play it during Microsoft’s Xbox briefing before the convention and again at Gamescom itself – the levels I got to play were the same, but really, you can never have too much Just Cause 3.

If you haven’t seen any gameplay footage so far, you’re in for a treat as Just Cause 3 takes the already solid formula of its predecessor and enhances it further with both visual and gameplay elements.


The first major addition to Rico’s ever-growing arsenal of carnage is the new wing suit. With Rico’s parachute adjusted to be slower and more easy to control, an additional method of rapid descent was required. The wing suit fills the gap perfectly; it allows for a much faster, forward-oriented traversal through the sky, and during gameplay you can freely switch between the wing suit and the traditional parachute. During the hands-on time I had, one of the available challenges was a wing suit descent challenge similar to the airplane challenges we’ve seen before. Fly through the rings, hit dead center for extra points – only now it’s in a suit. The suit felt fun and responsive, definitely designed to be used after launching at high speed off a roof or jumping from an aircraft of some kind.

Another major change was the new skill system – again, expanding on JC2’s collections. This time you’ll be collecting cogs which are granted as rewards for challenges and come in multiple categories. Weapon cogs unlock weapon upgrades, vehicle cogs allow vehicle upgrades and so on. The new upgrade tree is fairly standard with nothing too extraordinary packed in, but now unlocked upgrades can be toggled on and off at any time as long as you’re outside combat.


Of course, the real meat of JC3 is destruction on an epic scale. In terms of map size, Just Cause 2 and Just Cause 3 are quite similar, but the new installment has a better land-to-water ratio – more dry land for you to roam in and less water. The destruction itself is quite similar or even identical to what we’ve seen before – enemy installations are marked with the tell-tale red stripes, allowing you to spot them easily from a distance. Apart from improved graphics the two games play very similar.

Like any other sequel, some attention was devoted to various convenience improvements, but again nothing too game-changing. In particular, I loved the new airdrop system and its simplified approach to ordering munitions. Instead of going over a grocery list of every weapon and vehicle you’ve unlocked, you can mark a set of gear as your loadout and have it air-dropped in a few quick clicks practically instantly. This significantly reduces the time you spend not blowing things up.


Speaking of blowing things up, for the hands-on demo I had access to two different destruction missions. One was all about unloading rockets from Rico’s trusty RPG, while the other was to destroy an enemy base using a tank or a helicopter. There were two other missions but they were navigation challenges using the wing suit and as such had a very poor amount of explosions, hardly something a Just Case 3 hands-on should be. For my part, I spent 30 minutes flying about in a helicopter, unloading tens of thousands of bullets at everything with a red stripe until I was satisfied that the base was razed. It was all very zen and soothing, except at the very end: to achieve a perfect, 5 out of 5 score I had to accrue 30,000 points. My best score? 29,800.

Scores and wing suits aside, Just Cause 3 promises a fun romp throughout a new archipelago. The plot promises to be more substantial but since I didn’t get to see any story missions, I’d rather not speculate at this point. What’s important is that I got to blow stuff up, see all the pretty new graphics and as my pièce de résistance I managed to break a satellite dish… using Rico’s face. All’s well that ends well.

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