Just Cause 4 Hands-On Preview – Storm Chaser, Dream Maker

Rico is back once again, and this time he’s all about chasing storms. Just Cause 4 is shaping up to be even more ludicrous than the other entries, with developers Avalanche Studios (as always) attempting to one-up themselves with the sheer ridiculousness Rico gets up to on his adventures.

While my demo was only 20 minutes long, I managed to float a car into the air while it was spinning rapidly via rocket boosters I’d attached to it, fly through a tornado, and set an enemy off on the journey of his life via a well-placed rocket booster. It was wonderful amusement which has, in its own right, become one of the key staples of the Just Cause franchise, and I had a blast with all of the new bits and bobs that are being concocted for the fourth iteration of the series.

The opening five minutes of my hands-on time was spent getting re-familiarised with how the gameplay mechanics work, and not a lot has really changed from Just Cause 3. Rico still has all of his handy gadgets, like his wingsuit and grappling hook, with the latter now also able to attach balloons and rocket boosters to objects rather than just link objects together.

After most of the other journos and I had gotten to grips with the gameplay, we were then thrown halfway into a mission that saw Rico and friends chasing a tornado. It was, understandably, absolutely ridiculous, though it encapsulates exactly what Just Cause should be all about: sheer insanity. The tornado started shifting in the wrong direction thanks to some pesky enemies using wind cannons, so it was then up to me to put those new-found grappling powers to use.

Gunplay felt slick, and in-game traversal was as good as it’s ever been in a Just Cause game. Driving mechanics are easy to come to terms with, though it was the traversal and parachute/grappling hook combo that stole the show throughout the demo.

With that said, Just Cause feels like one of the harder series to demo in such a short amount of time. That’s basically down to the fact that there’s so much you can do in the game world, and when my time was up I felt like I hadn’t seen enough of the game to get to grips with Just Cause 4’s new gameplay mechanics.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Xbox One developer kit I was playing on made the game look noticeably rough, and after recalling the struggles the third game had when running on the base PlayStation 4 and Xbox One back in 2015, I can see Just Cause 4 being much, much worse. At times it looked to be running in sub-HD, and the frame rate really, really struggled in moments where I’d look towards the tornado or something crazy happened on screen (which was a lot). Hopefully this is fixed up closer to launch, but right now it’s not quite a good look on the eyes.

After taking out the wind cannons my demo ended, and I was told that I’d seen one of the new extreme weather types that’ll be one of the key additions in Just Cause 4. And it’ll be a great one I think, given this kind of thing will fit in extremely well with everything the series is all about, which is, obviously, all-out mayhem and destruction.

With the new grappling abilities in tow, Rico’s next adventure is shaping up to be another action-filled one, though I’m hopeful the presentation is fixed up prior to launch. For now, however, I’d say owning a PlayStation 4 Pro or an Xbox One X might be your best bet in getting the most out of the fourth iteration in the Just Cause franchise.