Title: Just Cause 4

Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Price: $59.99

Publisher: Square Enix

Developer: Avalanche Studios

ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

The Grade: B -

JC4 Haiku Review

The skies are all yours

  Anything red? Blow it up

Hey, man! Where’s the beef?

What is it? An open world action-adventure game. Players once again take on the role of Rico Rodriguez as he battles the evil Black Hand in the fictional South American country of Solis. Those familiar with the series will recognize Rico’s trademark grapple, wing suit and parachute. New additions include a greater diversity of environments, new grapple abilities and weaponized weather.

Highs: Flying the unfriendly skies with Rico is a breathtaking experience. If you’ve played previous “Just Cause” titles, that thrill continues here. Using a combination of the grapple, parachute and wing suit, players can soar through the air like Superman. It’s a thrill that never gets old.

Adding to the fun are new tools players can goof around with. Gamers can use three different grappling hook mods that make for useful weapons and playful toys. The booster, which attaches a rocket to any object or person, can have enemies literally spinning in circles. The retractor provides a strong tether that can fling items, open doors or bring two things together that don’t want to be joined, like an enemy and an explosive barrel.

My favorite grapple mod is the new air lifter, which attaches a balloon to enemies, vehicles or anything else you want. You can attach as many balloons as you need to something and customize the balloons how you choose. There are small, medium and large sized balloons and they can be modified to a variety of specifications. You can determine how high they’ll float, set how they move and even configure what they’ll do once destroyed. There’s a dizzying amount of configurations.

The only thing limiting how you use your tools in this game is your own imagination. This goes not just for the air lifter or the retractor or booster mods (which also have a ton of customization) but for the world of “Just Cause 4” at-large. There’s more than one way to do pretty much anything in this title, which is why it’s such a fun, destructive playground.

Lows: While I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Solis, there were a number of issues I had with “Just Cause 4” that nibbled away at some of the fun. I played the game on Xbox One X, which takes most games to another level visually. That’s certainly not the case here as cutscenes, character models and environments appear rough and unfinished. Throw in a confusing, poorly designed map and the visual presentation is severely disappointing.

My biggest issue with “Just Cause 4” is its lack of content. The extreme weather, which was used heavily when promoting the game, isn’t something Rico has to deal with nearly enough. And each region, which in previous JC games was loaded with areas to take over, is lacking activity. There are significantly more optional side activities (car stunts, wing suit stunts, etc.) than purposeful missions.

The Grade: There are few games that can capture the feeling of being a human kite like “Just Cause 4.” Rico’s abilities are a joy to experience and the tongue-in-cheek playfulness continues in this latest iteration. My time in Solis was an absolute blast but significant problems put a damper on an otherwise strong experience. 

Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.

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