Just Cause 4

This was on my radar but then was suddenly out the other day I guess there's been so many games recently I lost track.

Anyway I had a go last night here are my thoughts.

Similar to JC3 you are on some island fighting an evil man with a private army called the black hand. They also have weather modification tech which is the new gimmick there are sand storms and massive lightning storms and tornadoes etc.

There were some performance issues initially cut scenes seem to have been rendered by a 486 in 16bit colour which is odd at one point the audio and video stuttered and then desynced so badly things were about 30 seconds offset. Not sure what is going wrong there not a good start. I'm running it on a fairly new machine with a rtx2080 and an i7-8700k so not cutting edge but pretty powerful setting on highest and 1440p res.

Once the game proper got going it felt familiar similar gameplay loop to jc2 and jc3 you destroy stuff it has missions there is lots of crazy explosions and vehicle and planes and so on.

Some new things the tether now has a new option that deploys balloons it has the same cable retract and rocket mods from jc3 now you can setup various quick sets with combinations of the tether retract, balloon deploy and rockets so that one of them triggers automatically when attached another when you tap the dpad up and then another when you hold the dpad up. So for instance you can have the cables retract automatically the balloons inflate on tap and then the rockets trigger on hold. The game has three presets you can configure as you like with different strengths and then modifiers that change the behaviour of all three selectable.

The world traversal is similar to JC3 you have the grapple and the parachute and then the wingsuit. The jc3 dlc modified booster wingsuit seems to be a dlc in this game too.

Weapons now have secondary modes some of them it's fairly standard like grenade launcher but other have things like a deployable shield lots of fun options although like JC3 if feels like you get very little ammo and I'm always running out and finding myself with no ammo. Since the explosives are now secondary modes on the guns you don't have a seperate grenade option.

Vehicle handling feels a little weird like theres some delay in the steering or something I find the cars difficult to control although like jc3 you only spend time in cars for the various stunts. There seem to be 3 types of sidequest the stunt series that includes the wing suit and vehicle challenges and are similar to jc3 but seem to have been dumbed down somehow. In JC3 the wingsuit courses were tough long runs with lots of targets to hit and required really precise control. This time they are usually 3 to 5 rings with a time limit it feels cut down. JC3 had races which I always found painfully hard JC4 now has speed challenges (move through a single gate at a given speed) and some where you just have to move a certain vehicle through a single gate ie a tractor or a specific bike or a boat or a helicopter or some such. That feels really reduced over the previous game. The next type of sidequests are the army training which are a mix of fairly standard missions hold a point against an enemy drive an set of allies somewhere escort quests etc. The third type is a sort of puzzle thing where you have to solve a set of physics puzzles using the grapples which is something a bit different.

The destruction missions where you had to destroy a base and get a certain score only using a certain gun or vehicle seem to have been removed. Which is a shame as I quite enjoyed those.

The game now has this mechanism where you advance the front in the war in the fictional island state. The chaos you cause by blowing things up allows you to recruit more troops and then as you can advance your frontline to allow you to access new regions and unlock new story missions. It's similar to JC3 with having to destroy bases to conquer regions and allow you to do story missions but you can't wander off and unlock unconnected regions it has to be part of the connected frontline of your war. There is also some sort of mechanism where you can surround a territory and make it easier or something not sure I understand that yet.

So if feels a lot like the previous games although some elements feel reduced or dumbed down a bit still has the crazy explosion destruction stuff. Some bugs some graphical glitches feels a little like they might have rushed some bits of it.

Comments

NEATO! Enjoyed the others but my time is more scant these days. Did you enjoy it?

brainwipe's picture

rtx2080 and an i7-8700k so not cutting edge

What exactly is cutting edge? It's only the second most powerful card on the market, while the i7-8700k is pretty much on par with this years flavour, just lacking a couple of cores that most stuff doesn't/can't use anyhow.

babychaos's picture

exactly second (or third if the titan rtx rumors are accurate and they probably are) most powerful gpu and a top of the line but normal cpu rather than something insane like thread ripper or the intel equivalent with an unmanageable number of cores that games don't use anyway ... so one removed from cutting edge :D

I had some fun with the main missions the side quests feel a lot more like hastily put together busy work, they are a lot shorter and often times easier than the same things from previous games. Feels like the whole thing was just rushed somehow and the occasional performance issues are worrying.

Evilmatt's picture

I finished the game at the weekend. The gameplay got increasingly stale and samey as the game went on. They had a few nice set pieces themed around the extreme weather additions like racing after this huge tornado trying to direct it while it ripped apart anything in it's path and threw you and anything near it way up in the air. But to get to that you had to do a bunch of fairly tedious escort quests and fetch quests timed defence things where you had to stay in some area and run down a clock. I stopped doing any of the sidequests as they were even worse the same three ideas copy pasted over the whole map 400 times.

Even the crazy destruction stuff is reduced, in Just Cause 3 they had these large installations with unique structures you had to destroy and around them a lot of similar little things like fuel tanks and generators to pad things out. Now it's just the incidental padding none of the larger unique things. They also tended to have different themes in places like one base would be some sort of radar thing it would be covered in dishes and antennas, if it was a naval installation various fuel tanks boats and cargo stuff, a mining camp lots of stuff filled with ore massive digger machines (all destructible) and so on. Here nearly all the bases are the same.

A lot of the elements seem to have been just made easier, in JC3 if you attacked a base with a helicopter you had to have taken out the sam sites first as they would just blow you out of the sky now you can take several hits before it becomes and issue and even then it's trivially easy to just dodge the missiles. This also makes hacking the sam turrets pointless, in JC3 if you got in hacked the sam turrets any enemy choppers would then get creamed by them in JC4 they don't have any significant effect most of the time they don't even seem to fire partly that's their range is now tiny.

The story is also basically non existent now just cause games are not exactly known for their story but still it used to have something there. In JC3 you had these little intersections from the evil dictator as the game progressed and you got to see some sort of arc pan out the radio broadcasts by a captured actor forced to do pr broadcast as you took out the bases (voiced by David Tennant viva medici) was pretty amusing all the various explanations the state gave for why their missile base/ power plant/ radar installation was now a smoking crater. The little interludes with the various characters in the resistance and their backstories (there is a little bit of that in JC4). Then the dlc had a load of story telling on the mysterious Eden corporation and their history and work told in either in game stuff or using sort of motion comics.

Here there is a bit of story at the very beginning (told in really badly compressed rendered video) and then a tiny bit at the very end but basically that is it. Every now and then it seems to start to hint at some story (there is stuff about Rico's father and some interconnection with the plot of previous games hints about the mysterious Agency Rico and Sheldon worked for but it never goes anywhere they hint and then never resolve things just leave all the threads hanging)

In terms of the radio they do have some ones you can access in game including this fairly amusing talk radio but since this is only available in vehicles and you don't really spend any time in them since wing suiting around is far easier it's not very often you get to hear it.

It's a disappointment to see the thing so dumbed down the few original ideas it does have either used once then discarded or copy pasted a thousand times till they lose any appeal.

It feels like the developer has gotten lazy and what new stuff they put in are gimmicks that don't really serve the gameplay. The new balloon tethers are hilarious to use I spent a lot of time making large floating chains of enemies hanging together by one guy covered in balloons but beyond that they don't really have any function in game. There are some fun weapons the rail gun , the lightning gun (although that was in JC3 in one of the DLC's), the wind gun. Vehicles are fine but the variety seems to have gone, JC3 had mechs and other fun stuff none of that is in JC4 maybe they are saving it for the dlc but seems like we had that already they should be adding new stuff not just repeating things they've already done and requiring more money for them.

The side missions are really weak nothing new and all of them watered down versions of what was in JC3. They've even removed a lot of the more interesting ones, no destruction missions, none of the ore collection missions where you drover around trailing a magnet collecting ore, no races (I was never a fan of those but still seems like something that basic shouldn't have been removed and then not replaces).

In short it's a disappointment on almost every level and I wouldn't recommend it especially at full price. I'd wait for a deep discount or just not bother at all.

Evilmatt's picture

JC2 had a reasonable story. There was a grindy middle-section where you had to befriend the gangs but I remember that it was quite and twisty sort of story that I enjoyed. For me, the problem with JC4 sounds like the issue I had with JC3 and you nail it in paragraph 1:

The gameplay got increasingly stale and samey as the game went on

I find that I enjoyed the wingsuiting but doing your 50th course is a bit tedious and the village capture isn't that fun. You don't really need to scope the village beforehand, you can just wade in and as long as you don't cock up, you can tick em off pretty fast.

I'd wait for a deep discount or just not bother at all.

I so desperately want JC to be good because the comedy+freedom is wonderful but there does need to be at least some structure there to make it more fun to return to.

brainwipe's picture

JC2 was an amazingly fun playground, I have never gotten the same vibe from 3 and 4.

When I finally played 3 the car physics felt so wrong I found them unplayable which ultimately destroyed any desire to play it again.

Thanks to this review (and a few others) it is looking like 4 is one to skip altogether.

Bigger Rob's picture

In all the ways JC3 was bad JC4 is a worse version of it. Wingsuit courses are all over the map but now only have 3 gates you can hit the ground switch to parachute walk around to the next gate so long as you hit it in the timespan while in wingsuit you pass. Vehicle races are now either drive a particular vehicle through a gate or drive at a certain speed through a gate.

There is something very wrong with the car physics JC3 was pretty bad but in JC4 I find almost all vehicles nearly impossible to drive they just steer weirdly and I'm constantly oversteering plus the destruction of stuff usually means debris that just stops them dead even if you are in a tank that should be able to roll right over stuff it gets stuck.

Evilmatt's picture