In the ever-growing field of open-world games, few titles come close to the explosive thrills delivered by the Just Cause franchise. Series protagonist Rico Rodriguez and his signature grappling hook have established themselves as an iconic gaming duo, or as close as they can get to said status. Its mix of 80s action movie bombast coupled with Michael Bay-level destruction scratches that particular itch that hits you when you just wanna go around and blow stuff up.

Just Cause 4 sees Rico Rodriguez in the fictional island nation of Solis, this time up against local tyrant Oscar Espinosa and the Black Hand, the same paramilitary organization previously encountered in Just Cause 3. However, this time, it’s not just a ruthless dictator and his private army you’ll be facing. This latest installment throws extreme weather such as blizzards, lightning storms, and tornadoes into the equation. To liberate Solis from Espinosa’s grasp, Rico works in conjunction with the local resistance known as the Army of Chaos, freeing up region after region and disrupting his operations along the way.

Your main objective this time around is to take out Project Illapa, a series of superweapons with the ability to create extreme weather patterns and wreak massive amounts of destruction at the push of a button. The main mission line sees you wrecking components of the superweapon and learning a little bit more of Rico’s own family history along the way. The main plot’s nothing to write home about, but what’s there is serviceable. Again, the villains are under-utilized, even more so in here, with Oscar Espinosa barely making his presence felt.

Weak antagonists aside, there’s no shortage of enemy troops and vehicles to shoot, blow up, or both. Rico’s grappling hook and its tether function are as customizable as ever. New to Rico’s arsenal is an airlifter function which is pretty much Metal Gear Solid’s Fulton System, but with the ability to adjust the maximum altitude, trajectory, and other parameters, allowing you another avenue to mess with Black Hand troops, civilians,and livestock. The rocket boosters return, and the sticky explosives are replaced with a retractor which can be powered up to ridiculous levels of strength. The ability to launch foes and various objects over absurd distances and heights is sheer brainless fun and we love it.

Each tether function is upgradable through the use of points earned by completing various side missions. These range from helping Sargento train new Army of Chaos recruits, pulling off stunts for an eccentric film director, and exploring various archaeological sites around Solis. Hilarity ensues when you’ve unlocked a couple of upgrades allowing you to orchestrate increasingly hilarious scenes of destruction. Now, if only that kind of creativity and open-endedness carried over to the mission variety.

That would be a big glaring “no”. For all the freedom afforded by Rico’s toolset, the missions are woefully samey across the various paths. Regional strikes are now reduced to a single mission with more or less the same handful of objectives such as “hack this, protect that, blow this up”, etc. Outside of a few pretty neat set pieces in the main storyline, taking on side missions for upgrades, unlockable vehicles, and weapons begins to become a chore a couple of hours in.

As if that weren’t enough of a step back, Just Cause 4 somehow manages to look worse than its direct predecessor. Colors looked washed out and muddy, making everything look drab despite the generally tropical setting the game inhabits. There’s also an pretty distracting amount of pop in and textures that take their sweet time to load. All of this makes Just Cause 4 look like an early PS3 game if you’re running this on a standard PS4, and to think there were better-looking PS3 games than this.

Just Cause 4 is great as an open-world sandbox, if a little dated in terms of appearance and pacing. There’s a lot to play with here, but not a lot of meaningful ways to apply said toys. And unless you’re a massive fan of the seemingly indestructible Rico Rodriguez and his accent, you may want to wait for a massive price drop or rent this.

Screenshots

Just Cause 4 (PS4)
Graphics77%
Gameplay80%
Controls80%
Sound83%
Replayability75%
Story75%
The Good
  • The grappling hook, parachute, and wingsuit are as satisfying as ever.
  • The Power Yank tether mod is comedy gold
  • Juicy sounding headshots.
The Bad
  • Mission variety? What mission variety?
  • Weak villains.
  • Uglier than Just Cause 3.
78%Overall Score
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