Hands on with Just Cause 4

I can?t say I was a fan of the Just Cause series on the ground floor, the only memorable points about the first one was that series mainstay Rico Rodriguez looked like a rip-off of Antonio Banderas? character from El Mariachi and that there were load screens when you tried to pause the game. The second title eliminated those last two bits and gave us a an extremely fantastic open world game which got even longer legs due to an active modding community that managed to add a multiplayer component. Just Cause 3 saw future refinements as the playground got bigger and more toys were added to the sandbox. So when the first trailer for Just Cause 4 debuted at Square Enix?s showcase at this year?s E3, I was ready to enlist in helping Rico take down whichever despot he has set his eyes on.

Within the shadow of the Jacob Javits Center, Square Enix set up shop at Shop Studios and invited members of the press to get a more intimate hands on three of their current and upcoming titles. Life is Strange 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and of course Just Cause 4 were the 3 titles showcased at this year?s pop up venue. Each game?s area was decorated to match the themes of the game with Just Cause 4?s having some barrels with lifters tied to it and giving off a very ?jungle? vibes.

The first portion of our Just Cause experience involved a guided demo of a recent build of the title. It started with Rico perch on a cliff side looking over the landscape of Solis the fictional South American country which the game takes place in. Doing a slow pan we were treated to the environmental diversity of the country as we saw cities, mountain ranges, tropical forests and a desert. The desert was particularly interesting because there was a sandstorm happening there, the person controlling the demo indicated that they could go into the sandstorm, but things could get rough.

We then proceeded to airstrip where were we shown the variety of items which can be air dropped by your support staff. The variety of vehicles was vast, including standard cars, boats, planes, and even military vehicles. Ultimately settling on a jet, the demo giver flew Rico to a desert town to showcase what was new with Rico?s Grappler. Returning is the tether feature, which allowed two objects to be tied and pulled together if necessary, Boosters which made their appearance in JC3 as a thrown explosive has now be reclassified as a grapple accessory, thus making placement of them a lot more precise. Finally new to the series are the Lifters which ties attaches a balloon to the object, the best analogy I can give to describe it is the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system from Metal Gear Solid V. Each of these in the demo was assigned by themselves in the 3 grapple loadouts, but it appears you can have more than 1 accessory type to the loadout. In addition each accessory had mods which can be applied which can change the way the accessory works. These effects include autofire, delayed fire, manual control and much more. This was showcased by the demo giver by attaching lifters to explosive barrels, having the lifters follow Rico and then manually deflating the lifters to create a rain of explosive barrels, blowing up anything which was in the landing zone. To close out this portion of the guided demo, the demo giver air dropped a tank attached lifters and boosters to it forming a flying tank which he then proceeded to blow up various military assets. When it was over Rico exited the tank only to see a helicopter serendipitously fly into the now empty floating tank and exploding, providing a comedic end to that portion.

Next we were warped to a weather research center where some of the new weapons in Rico?s arsenal was showcased. A wind gun which shot gusts of wind was shown off, the primary fire would knock people off their feet while the secondary fire was able to do damage to structures. Also as a testament to how versatile the gameplay is, the demo giver also showed that the wind gun can be used a traversal tool propelling the user while they have their parachute open. After the weapon demonstration was completed we were shown a mission that took place at the weather research center. Rico was tasked to raise lighting rods to prevent lightning from damaging the facility. The weather effects were rather impressive as you could see the rain hitting the screen and whipping around as the wind picked up. Not only did you have fend off enemy forces as you raise these lighting rods, but you also had to fend off the weather as lighting could strike you if you glide too high for too long a period.

After the weather center was saved, everyone who was attending the session was invited to go hands on with the title. We were given a quick tutorial with the new grapple accessories and was told to play around. Once we had our fill playing with the grapple, we were placed in a new environment where we went storm chasing. Eventually the Tornado arrived to a military base where it stood still as it was hit by the enemy?s weather control weapons. I was tend tasked to destroy those weapons, at which I did in the most unimpressive way possible with a rail gun I happened to be equipped with. Before I finished my hands on I did managed to glide directly into the tornado where I was then whipped violently out, but yet intact.

Just Cause 4 looks to continue to build on the crazy sandbox fun that it?s predecessors provided, while cramming more and more toys into the mix. I genuinely look forward to the ways they incorporate weapon into the mix as I enjoyed the sandstorm sequences that were in their 2015 title Mad Max. Those looking to enlist in Rico?s army of chaos can do so when the game comes out December 4th, on PC, Xbox and PS4.