Traffic sucks. Specifically, traffic in Los Angeles really sucks, a land where travel is measured by time, not distance. Yet in the hustle and bustle of the city, it is possible to find slices of tranquility. Square Enix had other ideas, however, and invited us to brave miles of traffic and play a few hours of Just Cause 4 across the street from LAX. After a predictably extended time in traffic on the way there, we were definitely ready to blow shit up, and series protagonist Rico Rodriguez was happy to oblige. Read on for our thoughts in this Just Cause 4 preview.
Uncover the Truth. If You Want To.
Rico has received evidence that his deceased father was working for The Black Hand, a private military contractor, which of course he cannot believe. While the game’s story wasn’t the main focus of the night’s event, since Just Cause 4 has gone gold, all story missions were available. Like in most open-world games, the story is there for those who care to dive into it, but you’re not really obligated to play through it. There are plenty of side tasks to do, and an army to control.
That army stars in a new feature, Frontlines. As the player causes more chaos, they will eventually recruit a new chunk of civilians to the revolutionary army. Rico can then choose a spot at the border of conquered territory, to launch an assault on the PMC. These battles actually take place in the game, as traveling to the chosen location allows the player to engage in combat, with revolutionary allies helping out as well. It wasn’t clear during our demo if these events have a conclusion, but they are useful sources of extra ammunition, and tanks to steal.
It wouldn’t be a Just Cause game without Rico’s signature accessory, the grappling hook. It’s here and much more enhanced than ever before. There are three loadouts to choose from, which can be toggled using the directional pad. Each loadout can be equipped with multiple abilities for the hook, which can be combined in countless ways. Well, not countless. By developer Avalanche Studios’ own number crunching, there are over 4 million combinations available for this mode. For starters, the automatic option can be to inflate a balloon, to lift whatever the tether is attached to almost immediately. This can be followed up by another tether, which can have a rocket engine attached to it, controlled by the directional pad. Finally, an exploding tether can be attached, triggered either at the end of the tether’s launch sequence, or at the player’s command by holding down a directional button. This can all be combined to turn even an unassuming umbrella into a rocket-propelled instrument of death. The example shown to us during the event was the creation of a hover-tank, with balloons to loft it into the air, and rockets attached to the rear, remotely controlled to give the vehicle forward motion. It was over-the-top, hilarious, and an epic way to rain destruction on enemies.
Millions of Possibilities
The capabilities of the grappling hook/tether were impressive, and reminiscent of the ever-popular Garry’s Mod on PC, where you can quickly and easily turn anything into a vehicle, or explosive ordnance. No doubt players will come up with some ingenious inventions when Just Cause 4 launches, but for now I was more than content to simply try these tools for myself. This usually defaulted to launching my enemies into the sky thanks to automatic balloon deployment, which never gets old.
Just Cause 4 takes place in the fictional country Solís, which is a massive 1,024 square kilometers, or just over a Megameter squared. Another new feature that will cause a lot of unscripted awesomeness is dynamic weather. Rain and snow may normally present their own challenges, but the extreme weather in Just Cause 4 is something else entirely. Each of the four biomes present in Solís have their own version of extreme weather. Perhaps the most infamous is a tornado, which occurs in the grasslands-like biome. This is a tornado that is persistent, due to a massive weather-making building which is key to the game’s story. As the tornado roams the countryside, it destroys everything in its wake, and the new Apex game engine allows for seemingly anything to be tossed up in the air and become a projectile. The violent winds that surround the tornado can be used to give Rico a major lift into the air if he has his wingsuit equipped, and it is relatively easy to glide around and out of danger, while using the tornado as a form of cover against any enemies that might be in the area.
Just Cause 4 appears poised to deliver the goods when it launches on December 4, 2018. The over-the-top combat of the previous games now has over-the-top extreme weather events blended in, and these two aspects combine like a fine wine pairs with a steak. Only the fine wine is a makeshift hover-tank, and the steak is an ever-present tornado, to use but one example. The new Apex engine appears to handle all of this chaos without breaking a sweat, to boot.
We’ll be sure to deliver more Just Cause 4 news leading up to its release this December.