Just Cause 3 Has Learned From The Modders


Here’s how it went: I tied three cars to the helicopter, took off and smashed them into a building like a trio of wrecking balls before firing infinite missiles at every car I saw in a long trail the whole way to the top of the island’s highest mountain, whereupon I leapt out and saw my chopper plummet to the ground just as I opened my wingsuit and glided the whole 8km back to the seaside where I opened my parachute, landed on a rusty old fishing boat, threw the captain overboard and piloted it calmly back to shore only to beach the old rust bucket and begin shooting all the billboards in port with a machine gun the size of my whole body. I did not complete any mission objectives in Just Cause 3 [official site] by doing any of this, but I did set the record for longest wingsuit flight, and also: who the hell cares?

This latest rampage of developers Avalanche sees the hero, Rico, heading back to his home of Medici – a set of islands now under the rule of a ruthless dictator called Di Ravello, who is mining a mineral called Bavarium to use as a limitless source of fuel. But I imagine lovers of the franchise will care less about the plot of the game than the fact it gives you 400 square miles of lush Mediterranean landscape to fly about in fighter jets and blow up giant bridges.


Rico’s grappling hook obviously makes a return, with some improvements. You can now attach multiple items together with several ropes. This allows you to trap lots of objects and people in one long chain. At one point I stuck four cars to each other as quickly as I could, then retracted the rope. The cars jammed together like four crazy magnets and instantly exploded. On another occasion, I attached three men to the bonnet of a jeep, covered it in explosives and drove it around like one of the war boys of Mad Max, corpses hanging from the front of my car. When I spotted a lorry owned by the baddies I revved up then dived out and detonated the bombs as it crashed into the truck. I don’t know where the bodies went.


I’m told the multiple grappling ropes were inspired by modders who patched the second game and rightly discovered that it made the game even more ludicrous. These modders clearly had even more influence, as the game also has a built-in “mod” menu that allows you to change properties and effects of different weapons, vehicles and tools. For cars, you can get nitro boosters and the ability to jump. For sticky bombs, you can unlock a mod that grants them a jet propellant, turning your explosives into mini engines shortly before they blow up. I attached several of these booster bombs to enemy soldiers and delighted as they span off against the ground, like doomed breakdancers. Another fun item are the homing grenades, which magically track and fly toward soldiers like terrifying round birds before detonating.

Obviously, it wouldn’t be Just Cause if the environment wasn’t also heavily destructible. Not everything can be destroyed but anything belonging to the Di Ravello regime is made to be blown to smithereens. Huge centrepieces of architecture on the island are also fair game, like a large motorway bridge that can be brought down by taking out the struts, or the propellers on the countryside’s giant white windmills. These big structures will rebuild themselves out of sight while the player is away, a design decision that was made for no other reason than “people liked blowing them up” and the sooner they regenerate, the better.


One of the best new toys, however, is the wingsuit, another mod-inspired addition. This abides by the world’s typically liberal physics, allowing you to fly huge distances in short time. Using a combination of the grappling hook, the parachute and the wingsuit, you can essentially fly non-stop. And even if you pitch yourself head-first into the ground, all Rico will suffer is a short headache and a bit of a wonky red screen. You can hit the ground at terminal velocity, with the meatiest thud, and get back up to do it again. I did this a lot because it was exceptionally funny.

The bread and butter of the game appears to be indulging the plot and going on one supercharged mission after another, or coasting around liberating the country’s towns by casually blowing everything up, like an ultraviolent cartoon adaptation of Venom Snake. Take out billboards, statues, police barracks and propaganda speakers to take control of a town and liberate each area from the regime. It’s the same old shtick we’ve seen for years now: treating the map like a big colouring book, changing everything from red to blue. But even if this formula is becoming old, at least here you can suspend enemy cars over the town square and catapult bad guys into the air like beach balls.


It also seems like new toys unlock very fast and generously often. I played from the start of the game and it wasted no time in letting me go anywhere and anyhow. By the fourth or fifth mission I had already been awarded an attack helicopter with unlimited ammo. You can ask for these vehicles by dropping a supply beacon, which calls in a container packed with your chosen ride, along with a side order of guns. More than anything I enjoyed watching these containers slam down from the sky and ‘pop’ open with a blast of confetti, revealing a huge fighter jet, itself three times larger than the container it arrived in.

My only disappointment came when I drove said jet into a building before even leaving the ground and discovered that all the items I had ordered in my drop were now on a cool-down timer. I would have to wait 30 minutes to order the plane again, for example, and 15 minutes before I could request my twin submachine guns. I’m guessing this is to encourage you to mix it up and not to overpower you too much. But it just seems a bit of a nuisance constraint in an otherwise laughably free flowing explodathon.


I’m also not sure how truly different it is from Rico’s last outing. The tone is definitely the same. Daft, over-the-top action with no motive aside from a loose ‘good versus evil’ plot. But then again, more of the same is going to be absolutely fine for anyone simply looking to top up their gung-ho come Christmas time. And I can think of worse ways to do it than coasting down the side of a mountain in a wingsuit, flying through a tunnel at 100mph and firing a rocket that splits up into six smaller rockets at a single lonely henchman. Boom.

Just Cause 3 will be released on December 1st.


  1. gbrading says:

    It sounds like it’s going to be more Just Cause. I like that there will be a few more destructive buildings/objects in the environment, but the lack of a tangible plot is disappointing. Still hopefully the voice acting is better than JC2.

    • ButtonDownMind says:

      I kinda hope it isn’t. Without the ridiculously bad voice acting, I’m not sure that JC2 would have charmed me as much as it did. I’d love if the VA for made a reappearance.

      • ButtonDownMind says:

        Oh farts. I screwed up my HTML. That last sentence should be: I’d love if the VA for <a href="link to youtube.com Santosi made a reappearance.

        • ButtonDownMind says:


          • Premium User Badge

            Earl-Grey says:

            Well, your HTML cockups made me chuckle, if that helps?

            Me, I couldn’t HTML myself out of, or indeed into, italic even if my life depended on it.

        • Muzman says:

          I’ve seen that voice in particular get quite a bit of flack (when you could easily share it around). A fairly exaggerated Malay/Singapore accent, but not wildly off the mark. I get it. People like accuracy. But the actress is Singaporean. It’s all part of everything being turned up to Slightly Bonkers I think (as I think you suggest).

  2. Solidstate89 says:

    I’ve been looking forward to the sequel to Just Cause 2 since it was basically released.

    It looks like they’ve done a great job making it an even more spectacular Explosion Simulator.

  3. GWOP says:

    Can’t wait to crucify random passers-by and make a conga line of corpses this coming December.

    The media rages against GTA, but if they truly knew the depth of gaming’s heart of darkness…

    Just Cause 3, ladies and gentlemen.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      I am going to say something non-pcorrect: I think JC3 might be a lot more fun if it were more of a terrorism sim than a “Once more you’re the good guy, SURPRISE” game. The whole train derailing, gas station blowing up, people running scared thing would do so much better if it were tied into a larger terror theme. Also more honest, given that it basically gives you that but wraps it into hero apologetism.
      Bit of a shame that nobody ever has the balls to go there and build real mechanics on top of it (strategic government resources to disable, simulated economy to disrupt via infrastructure, maybe even topple various political figures by making their efforts against crim and terror moot etc).

      Ugh now I’m just sad again. *goes back to look at shiny explosions to cheer up*

      • Cvnk says:

        Labeling and marketing it as a terrorism sim would be a sure way for them to tank their sales. Some games use that sort of negative attention just to get traction in a crowded games market (e.g. Postal, Manhunter, Hatred, and probably thousands of other overtly psychotic games I’ve either forgotten or never heard of) but JC3 doesn’t really need it. It was pretty much guaranteed to be a best-seller as soon as they announced it.

        Yes Rico is a de-facto terrorist (even though he’s battling an “evil” regime) but a popular franchise isn’t going cross that line by embracing the theme entirely. But if all you’re looking for is a more complex state-disruption sim that goes beyond “You’ve destroyed 250/500 oil rigs” then sure, why not? It probably would probably make the game surrounding the sandbox insanity more compelling. People might even finish it!

        • Kollega says:

          Red Faction: Guerrilla was actually kind of a terrorist sim in that regard, though it didn’t really have any actual state-disruption mechanics as described here. But it was still a game where the players were encouraged to use car bombs and strike at administrative centers and memorials in order to cripple the military police controlling and oppressing Mars. Our John has actually interpreted it in his Wot I Think as an allegory for the Iraq War where you’re essentially fighting as the insurgents.

          To sum it up, yes, you can get away with making a game where the main character is a terrorist in his methods, if you frame him as being a revolutionary in his goals. Which I think kind of goes for Just Cause too. As the saying goes, “your terrorists are our freedom fighters”.


      “if they truly knew the depth of gaming’s heart of darkness” Let’s players are indeed the worst types of human beings. They’re not even good at games, those fucking parasitic hacks!

  4. Blackcompany says:

    But have they fixed the awful 3rd person shooting? JC2 was a fun game in concept, but man that shooting was…bad.

    • gpown says:

      Sadly it’s still the same lifeless shooting, judging from the last gameplay video. I don’t know why couldn’t they add some fake recoil animations, make enemies less bullet-spongy, just anything to give it some kick.

      • Blackcompany says:

        Agreed. At this point, I will await a mod to remove the enemies and turn the game world into a stunt map, if the shooting hasnt been updated. Cause the shooting from 2 was just…bad.

      • Siimon says:

        Damnit, thats such a shame!

    • derbefrier says:

      show me a 3rd person action game and i’ll show a game with horrible shooting mechanics. it seems to be a staple of the genre.

  5. The Masta says:

    Sounds you were having a blast.

  6. henrietta says:


  7. cairbre says:

    Looking forward to this now PC or PS4 that is the only question

  8. April March says:

    I much prefer a timeout than to be charged every time I ask for one of my boosts. Money in JC2 was plentiful, but not limitless.

    Also, I can’t believe Rico is European! I thought he was a Latino all this time :C

  9. Doubler says:

    I really don’t have a good history with this series. I felt like I exhausted every single thing it has to offer just after playing the first game for a few days. Got JC2 years later and got horrifically bored within the hour. Downloaded some mods to unlock stuff from the start and that added maybe another hour at best doing silly nonsense.
    So little to see and explore, really only one thing to do. I want to spend time in its gorgeous worlds but I can’t for the life of me find a reason to.

  10. RegisteredUser says:

    I hope they fixed the easy “Ooops, didn’t mean to do that” deaths and generally made it more possible to stay on a rampage without running away like a coward or get mowed down by infinitely spawning, ever increasing reinforcements(in JC2).

    I want a better feeling of empowerment, one that so far only Prototype has managed to produce for me.
    If JC3 can manage that, I’ll be all over it.
    So far it sounds nice, but I still have to see whether you can level up your toughness/madness enough.

  11. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Blimey, trying to give Marsh a run for his money in the erudite alt-text stakes I see Brendan?
    Bravo sir, bravo.

  12. Siimon says:

    JC2 was already ludicrous, over-the-top, enough. I’m glad there are mutators to change vehicle and weapon behavior, really glad, but I still wanted a bit more JC1 than a roid-rage’d super-charged version of JC2.

  13. Overflight says:

    I tied three cars to the helicopter, took off and smashed them into a building like a trio of wrecking balls before firing infinite missiles at every car I saw in a long trail the whole way to the top of the island’s highest mountain, whereupon I leapt out and saw my chopper plummet to the ground just as I opened my wingsuit and glided the whole 8km back to the seaside where I opened my parachute, landed on a rusty old fishing boat, threw the captain overboard and piloted it calmly back to shore only to beach the old rust bucket and begin shooting all the billboards in port with a machine gun the size of my whole body.

    Why? JUST CAUSE!


  14. Jakkar says:

    Unfortunately, this is how you make a game *too* pointless for me to enjoy for more than five minutes. Why destroy anything if it will simply ‘heal back’ within the hour, except that first time for the spectacle? And why would I care to do that when Red Faction: Guerilla exhibited a drastically superior (visually and technologically) destruction system half a decade ago?

    I need consequences and consistency to be able to value the decisions I make in a long-campaign singleplayer game. I was overcome, each time I tried to play JC2, with an overwhelming sense of ‘but what is the point?’ that most sandbox games don’t induce, or at least don’t induce until after I’ve enjoyed many hours of suspended disbelief and consciously indulgent investment.

  15. racccoon says:

    I look at the game and think ok good fun, but, that’s it. I can’t see the point in buying it, as I already bought a destructive game and that’s un installed.
    My problem is Just Cause it can be done, why is it? & what is the next one chances to be anything. There are limits to a madness and games have seen & reached this border with these games, the barriers aren’t broken, they are smashed & this is it.
    With nothing left to the imagination you have to go backwards as it all becomes mundane and you become immune to it everything.

  16. tonicer says:

    *sigh* Lets hope the port is decent enough to excuse buying it a couple months after release. *yada yada consoles suck etc.*

    • Kollega says:

      I wouldn’t worry about that. All the gameplay footage that was released is, to my knowledge, taken from the PC version – the people were just playing it with Xbox 360 pads. And Just Cause 2 ran like a charm on my mid-range PC back when it came out. And the PC version of Mad Max that came out in September is also reportedly very nice. So basically, Avalanche are not your average “eh, we’ll optimize the PC version when the phase of the moon is right” AAA developer.

    • Solidstate89 says:

      There was absolutely nothing wrong with Just Cause 2 on the PC, it still holds up to this day with its explosion effects and rendering of the water. It still looks and plays great. I don’t think what you’re basing your belief on that it’ll be a bad port.