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Just Cause 3 Hands-On Impressions: The Freedom to Tear It All Apart

Shacknews got a chance to play Just Cause 3 at the New York Comic Con, and it turns out, freedom has a price that's paid in bullets, explosives, and lots of grappling wire. This really is paradise.

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Rico returns in a big way with Just Cause 3, which takes place on the Mediterranean nation of Medici. This beautiful archipelago is, of course, under the despotic rule of the ruthless General Di Ravello, and it's once again up to Rico to bring his reign to an end through wanton destruction. We got to go hands-on with Just Cause 3 while at the New York Comic Con and got straight to the business of wreaking havoc in the name of freedom.

Some of the new gadgets Rico will be playing with include a wingsuit, which can be switched to at any time. Players can gain a little altitude by using the grapple to pull toward a location, then deploying the parachute. You'll be able to use the grapple with the wingsuit, but that's a lot trickier, because there's a lot less control. Oftentimes, I ended up grappling myself face first into a tree while flying with the wingsuit.

For the most part, Just Cause 3 plays similarly to the previous game, but with improved graphics, better toys, and a much, much bigger playground. Medici spans multiple islands, and each territory has up to six zones to win over.

Some of the new gadgets include the multi-grappling hook, which actually started off as Just Cause 2 mod. The developers thought it was a great idea, so they put it in the main game. Players are going to get a lot of work out of these grapples, which help them get around, interact with objects, and take out soldiers. Players can affix the two ends of a wire onto two different surfaces and pull them together. So, if you want to drag an explosive barrel to a soldier or pull a car up the side of a building, you can. The wires can also be used to pull down objects like signs to help win a town over.

Completing game challenges helps unlock new abilities for weapons, gadgets and vehicles. For example, the grapple can be equipped with stronger wire or even more grapples. Players will have a chance to have three or four wires out at a time. But the game won't require players to chase after these upgrades if they don't want to. Just Cause 3 can be beaten using the base unlocks for all the weapons and vehicles players feel like acquiring.

Like in the previous games, winning over towns and military installations using a thorough application of destruction is critical. These towns are inspired by Italian villas, complete with narrow streets and cobblestone walkways. The locals seem to be enthusiastic about being liberated, but only the rebel groups will help you in a gun fight. To win the town, I had to follow a list of objectives, which included tearing down propaganda speakers, destroying the police station (with police that look like paramilitary thugs), and tearing down a giant statue.

There were military soldiers stationed on the streets as soon as I arrived, and it didn't take long for my Heat level to rise and for things to escalate to incredibly high levels. Soldiers try to call in reinforcements, so I had to shoot them. Then the reinforcements arrived, so I had to shoot them too. Before I knew it, attack helicopters were flying in to take me out. Fortunately, Rico is a master of vehicular theft, so I saw each helicopter as special present, delivered straight to me, for use in furthering my destructive objectives. With top Heat rating, an rocket firing attack chopper came flying in, and that's when the fun really started. I commandeered it and blew up everything in sight, including the statue. Unfortunately, these helicopters appear to be rather fragile, and I was quickly shot down by guards.

That's okay, because Rico also comes equipped with a endless supply of C4, which can be attached to any surface. I mostly used them on the propaganda towers by grappling up to their control boxes, planting an explosive, then leaving before setting them off. C4 has a nice safety feature that prevents them from detonating if you're within their blast radius, but it doesn't apply to whatever you happen to blowing up. Attaching one to a car makes for a fantastic trap. Also, gas stations return after a time, so you're always free set off that spectacular fireball.

One great feature is that objectives show up on the map, so players won't have to spend hours searching the town for that one little thing they need to destroy. Once you're done wrecking everything and called in the rebels to take over the police headquarters, you have to make your way to the town square and raise a flag, which is accompanied by a fireworks show. One more place in Medici won over with violence and destruction in the name of freedom.

The chaotic adventure starts when Just Cause 3 releases on December 1st for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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