Just Cause 3: Man Fly

Is there an open world series that offers as much freedom as Just Cause ? We’re talking about a game that lets you grapple hook onto a jet plane, attach some C4 to it, hijack and fly the plane towards an enemy base and then parachute out to see the plane crash into your target in a ball of flames. Indeed, it is that sense of play that Avalanche Studios is focusing on as it unveils Just Cause 3, set to release in 2015.

The pitch for the game is that the studio wants to keep that core of ostentatious, explosive, free form gameplay, whilst improving on the details. For example, that grapple hook and parachute combination that lets you zip swiftly throughout the world will of course be a key facet of Just Cause 3 (though you’ll now also have a wing suit to play with), but Avalanche says that it has done a lot of work tightening up the game’s controls, making navigation more enjoyable. The same goes for the experience of driving the dozens of vehicles that will be littered throughout that game’s world, from cars and planes, to boats and helicopters. With ex-members of the Burnout team taking a look at that aspect of the game, Avalanche says driving mechanics will be much improved.
When it comes to the environment that you’ll be traversing, the game will be set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Medici. In terms of scale, Avalanche says we shouldn't expect something that’s a lot bigger than the last game (that’s not unreasonable given that Just Cause 2 was pretty huge), but, continuing on that theme on refining the details, the developer says that it wants to focus on the density of the world, rather than the size. Having said that, the shift in environmental design won’t just be about adding flourishes that make the island a more aesthetically pleasing and believable place. Just Cause 3’s environment is set to have a greater sense of verticality, not only in that it will further encourage us to sail through the skies, but in the sense that there will now be caves and tunnels to explore underground.

The most interesting thing about Just Cause 3, though, is the level of destructibility that the developer has talked about. The studio has said that the game will allow you to pull down statues, blast your way through walls and topple radar dishes. It also gives the example of thwarting pursuers by destroying a bridge as they follow behind you. In combination with the tools that Just Cause traditionally gives its players to mess around in its world creating chaos by attaching a car to a plane, for example you can well imagine the kind of explosive, spectacular and ridiculous scenarios it might be possible to create.

That has always been the strength of the Just Cause series the fact that it provides an excellent toolset for players to create their own fun. Where it has tended to struggle is when it scales things back and asks the player to perform very specific actions in campaign missions a result of loose controls and shoddy AI, amongst other things. If Avalanche is successful in doing what it says and tightening up the series core mechanics, Just Cause 3 will be far better balanced and will hopefully address that issue whereby it starts to feel a little ropey at a smaller scale. 

It’s still too early to make any judgements about Just Cause 3, but we like the noise coming from Avalanche. If the studio can ensure that Just Cause remains chaotic and over the top, throw in a few new toys to play with and refine its core mechanics, then we could well have an incredibly enjoyable game to look forward to later in the year.

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