Just Cause 3 E3 2015 preview: Mayhem for mayhem's sake

Avalanche Studios has one primary goal in mind for Just Cause 3 and that's to offer a huge island to play with and blow up. And Shacknews did just that when we recently went hands-on with the latest game in the series.

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Avalanche Studios knows exactly what it's looking for from its third installment of the Just Cause series. When thinking of Just Cause 3, the developer is aiming for pure and simple chaos. The goal is a sandbox that's completely destructible and Avalanche looks to be pulling that off to a tee.

Shacknews recently had the opportunity to go hands-on with Just Cause 3, witnessing the insanity first-hand. The story sees series protagonist Rico return to his childhood home, a landscape inspired by the Mediterranean. A dictator named Diravelo has been in power for over 20 years and now it's up to Rico to overthrow this despot. To do so, he'll have to use his tools of the trade from the previous Just Cause game.

Much of the formula, as well as the quirks, of Just Cause 2 have been refined to make it a smoother experience. Director Roland Lesterlin made sure to cite three pillars of the Just Cause experience, speaking of the grappling hook, parachute, and wing suit. The key to getting the most out of Just Cause 3 is combining them seamlessly. To help with that, grappling hook points have been eliminated, allowing Rico to simply grapple anything in the world. Simlarly, the parachute has undergone some tweaks to make taking to the air slightly easier. Parachute physics have been stabilized to make it a viable combat tool to allow Rico to shoot reliably from mid-air. This allows users to grapple, take to the air, glide from location to location, and traverse areas quickly with the wing suit.

Rico can take on missions to help liberate individual towns from the Diravelo Rebel Militia (or "DRM," for short), which will cause the townsfolk there to take up his cause and fight for him. Many of these missions are open-ended, allowing players to approach them form different angles. In one instance, Rico had the option to simply gun everyone down or open the gates to a prison facility and have the angry townspeople fight the enemies off for him.

But more than anything, Avalanche wants Just Cause 3 to be a massive playground. To that end, players can literally drop just about any available object into the world at any time. Using a mechanic called the Rebel Drop, rebels can drop weapons, equipment, and even vehicles through a simple pause menu selection. At one point, I was able to drop in a military class vehicle, which came in a box that burst in celebratory confetti upon bursting open. If that's not enough, Rico can cause just about anything to go boom, thanks to an infinite supply of C4 explosives. At one point, I got so carried away that I started slapping C4 onto enemy vehicles... with enemies still inside them.

So must of Just Cause 3 feels like streamlined chaos, with some of the more annoying ideas like QTEs seemingly left on the cutting room floor. The story doesn't sound like it's particularly strong, but when there's so much focus placed on destruction, destructible environments, and just having fun, a lack of story is pretty forgivable.

Just Cause 3 is set to hit PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 later this year.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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