Remember when we mostly argued about whether or not video games were art? Those were the days, huh? I was never a fan of the idea, though I admit that’s largely because all the games people said were art tended to be pretty boring fare like walking simulators. Nobody would look at a really fun game like Sunset Overdrive and say it’s art. Maybe they’d peek at Red Dead Redemption 2 and make the case. Certainly they wouldn’t call Just Cause 4 art. I’d say that’s a little myopic; what’s more artistic than ballooning around in a makeshift monster truck airship?
Rico Rodriguez at it again, by which I mean he’s fighting an evil military guy in as bombastic a manner as possible. This time his generic opponents are once again the Black Hand mercenaries, who are bad guys, and he’s fighting them to save the land of Solis with the help of a rebel group called the Army of Chaos. The baddies don’t get too much characterization outside of that because you’re going to do some really awful things to them and it’s best not to think of them as people. The goodies don’t get too much characterization outside of that because you’re the guy with the grappling hook and balloons, so who cares about them?
Who cares about any of this, in fact? That’s not why you’re here. You’re here to be Rico Rodriguez! The greatest stuntman/secret agent/mercenary/gadgeteer in the history of video games. Toward that end, you’ll do what Rico does best, which is causing chaos in order to fill a chaos bar and liberate chunks of an oppressed island. You’re going to do that until the game is over, pretty much, and if you’re creative you’re probably going to have a good time doing it.
You’ll cause chaos using a variety of weapons and gadgets, including a portable turret and all manner of explosives, but the stars of the show here are the new grappling hook attachments. The hook isn’t just for getting around and hilariously terrorizing people these days, oh no; you can do a little more with it. In particular, you can stick balloons to lift things, thrusters to…thrust things and, well, continue to terrorize people to your liking. There’s numerous options for customizing what your grapple does, so play around and you’ll find that the world is your oyster. A favorite trick was to stick remote balloons on my cars that would make them follow me around; who needs parking spaces?
Solis itself as as much an enemy as the Black Hand thanks to numerous crazy weather effects. There’s the iconic tornado, blizzards, storms and more, and it wouldn’t be Just Cause if you weren’t dealing with them in as foolhardy a manner as possible. Want to wingsuit into a tornado? Well, why wouldn’t you? Go nuts. Better yet, drive a balloon-equipped sports car into it.
Okay, though, here’s the thing. See all that stuff I said above? Sounds pretty good, right? That’s the dream you’ll be living inside the world of Just Cause 4 on consoles and PC. Only the game on PC is laden with bugs. It’s desperately crying out for a patch. My favorite issue is that the graphics settings appear to be stuck on “low”, meaning the experience appears severely compromised – regardless what video hardware you may be rocking.
That’s a killer for me, honestly, and it’s led to this decision: if you’re playing on PC, you should skip Just Cause 4 until it’s gotten a little TLC, and since that’s the version I played it’s the only one I can speak to. From a gameplay standpoint there’s a lot to enjoy here, but the bugginess and graphical issues make that enjoyment pretty difficult. When the issues inevitably get patched out, kick that score up to a “Yay.” Maybe at that point we can say Just Cause 4 is art.