There’s nothing original about a game built just for you to tear the world apart. Any game with a 3 in the title already has a certain expectation, particularly for a franchise which had a very successful first and second instalment, and whether Just Cause 3 is for you will rely on whether you are looking for something different or more of the same.
The map is huge, and split into a number of different areas, all of which have a number of settlements and areas of interest which need to be liberated by blowing things up. Tackling a settlement, you are offered a list of icons on the top left of the screen to let you know what still needs destroying, unfortunately though these points are often highlighted on the map as icons, you can’t toggle them as an active objective, making hunting around villages a chore more often than not.
The military outposts which need levelling are a little more straightforward, with no civilians to get in the way (not that the game really punishes you for friendly fire anyway) and targets being more obvious.
Despite Rico's active lifestyle, he hasn't quite mastered the art of clambering up walls...
To begin the dominoes falling you have a fairly basic selection of weapons at your disposal, most notably C4, which Rico has a limitless supply of this time around, meaning it’s at times laughably easy to zip between buildings, plant C4 and then be on your way knowing that the structure’s demise is imminent.
Levelled is exactly the word for the end state of most buildings in fact, since the destruction engine in the game offers something comparable to Red Faction Guerilla which really meets the standard of a new generation. On Xbox performance isn’t flawless, but considering the amount of chained explosions you can end up with it holds up fairly well. Consider the gauntlet thrown down, Crackdown 3.
As you reach certain levels of destruction, such as most enemies killed with a single explosion, for example, the game will show your total compared to your friends and other players in the top right. While this asynchronous multiplayer aspect may introduce some competition, in practice it's incredibly distracting and seemingly can't be turned off.
Travelling around the map has been sped up for this game as well, thanks to the introduction of the aforementioned wingsuit, which turns Rico into a glider in a world with a very loose interpretation of the physics of flight.
This combined with the grappling hook and trusty parachute makes for a holy trinity of traversal which is surprisingly hard to master, but when it all works together the experience is fantastic.
Despite Rico’s active lifestyle, he hasn’t quite mastered the art of clambering up walls though. Perhaps it’s too much time with Assassin’s Creed, but the inability to grab ledges which would be a child’s play to even the most out-of-practice assassin, is a constant source of frustration when trying to get across rooftops quickly.
While it all comes together to make a perfectly enjoyable game, and there’s no need for every game to have depth or layers to its experience, you can’t help but feel that this instalment of Just Cause is a bit too one-note even for the most destruction-hungry anarchist.