What is the best action game of 2015? The RPS Advent Calendar highlights our favourite games from throughout the year, and behind today's door is...
John: I'm concerned people have forgotten what fun's for. I played Just Cause 3 for a week before the game came out, in isolation of others' opinions, and had such a wonderful time. There were some buggy issues with the prerelease code, and the load times were abysmal, yet the crazed fun entirely overwhelmed all this. It was the familiar JC formula - free access to an enormous playground of destruction, with a concurrent story mission to play through. But this time, as well as being much larger, it made none of the mistakes that had plagued the first two games.
Both games had let the game get in the way of the fun. The farther you got in, the more ludicrous the game's response to your actions, and the less fun you'd have as a consequence. JC3 masters this, allowing the escalation of enemy responses to be manageable by you, putting the control in the player's hands, meaning you could let things get completely out of hand, or make sensible escapes to deescalate the insanity. On top of that, gone was the half-arsed attempt at a narrative, and in came one of the most entertaining game stories since Saints Row 4. Hilarious cutscenes, convincing pathos, good enough to motivate you to want to carry on down the mission chain, even if it was yet another escort job.
And yet blimey, some of the other reviews are so negative! It's impossible to comprehend, but there were people sitting in front of this sandbox of silliness, and saying to themselves, "This is too like previous Just Cause games." If only the industry were capable of this thought when it came to every other bloody series of identikit annual releases, eh? But when it came to a game that so wonderfully perfected a format that it hadn't gotten right previously, this was cause for complaint?
Ignore such rubbish, and trust me, because I'm RIGHT. Just Cause 3 is glorious fun, beautifully presented (so long as you can get around AMD's royal arsing up of their drivers), and a proper treat. This is the fun games should be offering us all the damned time.
Alec: I haven’t had the chance to play much Just Cause 3 yet, but in the couple of hours I did spend with it I flying kicked a goat, tied a VW beetle to a tower block, caused an entire base to explode by throwing one barrel at a tower and made two men zipline into each other so fast that their instant corpses slumped into a lovers’ embrace. So I guess I’m all for it being in here.
More importantly, I immediately beat half of John Walker’s times and records on the in-game leaderboard even though he’s played it for a hundred million hours.
On the other hand, the story and characters it’s shown me so far made me want to scream, alternately in boredom and in irritation, and I’m really not sure how much of that I could stomach. But I imagine I get to ignore most of it almost straight away, right? Tell me I do.
Graham: You do!
Go here for more of our picks for the best PC games of 2015.