You know what you’re going to get when you jump into a Just Cause game: destruction, stunts and utter chaos. The latest addition to the action-adventure franchise doesn't stray from this formula, instead ramping it up more than ever.
Set three years after the events of Just Cause 3, Just Cause 4 sees the return of the charismatic Rico Rodriguez as he seeks to uncover the truth about the disappearance of his father. The journey takes him to Solís, a country that's fallen victim to the Black Hand mercenary faction led by the ruthless Gabriela.
Solís is separated into four distinct biomes, each with its own extreme weather conditions including lightning storms and tornadoes. Rico discovers that his father's disappearance is linked to these biomes and a man-made weather project called Project Illapa. It’s up to him to shut down each biome’s generator and uncover the mysteries of the project.
Eve of destruction
Straight off the bat, we’re thrown into the action and required to assist the Army of Chaos (those rebelling against the Black Hand). Fortunately, Rico still has his trusty gadgets such as the wingsuit, parachute and grappling hook - the latter of which has had more than a few upgrades.
Rico’s grappling hook is now fully customizable, allowing for over four million combinations and often hilarious results. There are three key elements to the customizations: air lift, retractor and boost. On top of that, you can also manage factors such as whether the grappling hook deploys automatically, and how long it takes. Not all these options are immediately available off the bat; many unlock as you progress throughout the game.
Our personal favorite combination was grappling unsuspecting civilians with a combination of high air lift, high boost and medium retraction, then watching them skyrocket into the air like a turbo-charged accordion.
“We want people to use the new sandbox tools of the grappling hook to be able to do destruction in more creative ways than ever before,” explains senior game designer Robert Meyer. “It’s one of our core pillars - destruction. I think part of the philosophy behind it is that it’s just satisfying. It’s almost cleansing in a way.”
Blame it on the weather man
The new weather conditions also add another element to this physics-driven sandbox. We specifically hunted down a tornado to see what chaos we could reap. Apparently, a lot, and the combination of the grappling hook customizations and the extreme weather conditions makes Just Cause 4 an anarchist’s playground. We found ourselves grappling mercenaries to the ground beside the tornado just to watch them rag doll in the high-paced winds. Meyer was right - it was 'cleansing'.
As you progress, you’ll also unlock more supply drops, which allow you to have items airdropped to you including vehicles, guns, mines and even pinatas.
However, Just Cause 4 isn’t purely about blowing stuff up. The real reason Rico is in Solís is to defeat the Black Hand - so how do you go about that?
Well, as you progress through the game you will come across Black Hand infrastructures. The more you of these infrastructures you destroy, the more chaos you build. With this chaos you can deploy squads to advance into Black Hand territories, making it easier for you to roam free.
Just Cause 4 isn’t necessarily for those who want a game with a strong narrative and character development, but it never claimed to be. If you want a bit of mindless chaos in your life with a destructive playground at your fingertips, then it’s the perfect fit.
Get daily insight, inspiration and deals in your inbox
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
Vic is TechRadar Gaming's Associate Editor. An award-winning games journalist, Vic brings experience from IGN, Eurogamer and more to the TechRadar table. You may have even heard her on the radio or speaking on a panel. Not only is Vic passionate about games, but she's also an avid mental health advocate who has appeared on both panels and podcasts to discuss mental health awareness. Make sure to follow her on Twitter for more.