A Technology Review. (Not just an end-game players review)
Q. Firstly I would just like to say that I think Just Cause 3 for the PS4 is an absolutely amazing game. It’s great fun blowing so much stuff up. It’s incredibly playable – but it does have it’s flaws.
Playability vs Load times.
These can be incredibly long and I mean seriously. Some levels can take up to 5 minutes (yes you read that right) 5 minutes to load. Even games written for the Commodore 64 30 years ago where one would insert a cassette tape and ‘Press Play on Tape’ didn’t take that long to load.
What really does bug me though is this – You wait (on this particular challenge) only 3 minutes for the challenge to load. 5 seconds later you’ve become the victim of an air strike and have been blasted to smithereens. If you immediately press ‘Retry’ off it goes and loads the whole flipping thing in again! Why? Hasn’t it just been loaded into memory? Didn’t it just stop loading 5 seconds ago? Isn’t it already in RAM there right now? Why load the whole flipping thing in again when it’s already in memory? This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
“That’s right, rather than reset the 2 bytes of RAM that were just changed in the explosion due to the jet strike – let’s just load the whole 2GB file in all over again. My how we love to load here. Load load load. No really it’s me favourite thing.”
I (just for the record) would like to say again how brilliant this game is, but waiting for the same levels to the load again and again and again and taking sooooo long renders what would otherwise be a stunning game almost unplayable.
Q. Anything else while we’re here about the game you think could be changed or improved?
A. Well actually yes. The controls for the motorbike are absolutely ridiculous – totally uncontrollable. Also at times the camera goes all over the place leaving the player totally unable to see or do a thing. Honestly it’s actually easier to ride a unicycle in real life than control their motorbike.
Another thing is getting in vehicles / planes / bikes et all. You have to be practically pixel-perfect with you hand on the door handle in order to ‘get in’ the vehicle, one pixel this way or that way and the ‘enter vehicle’ option vanishes – this really can be really irritating.
The 2D Map.
Jerky scrolling – same as The Witcher III (I’m pretty sure it’s the same engine). Stunning 3D, but displaying a 2D map? The whole thing goes to shit jerk, jerk flicker flicker. Ever heard of generating a bitmap and then mip-mapping between different scales? Incredible.
What kind of camera angle is that?
Honestly on too many occasions the positioning of the camera leaves the player unable to see a flipping thing. Inside the vehicle, outside the vehicle, behind a leaf all the while leaving the player unable to see anything at all.
Buttons not responding.
This is actually a pretty big one and it can affect gameplay in a major way. Sometimes a trigger button does not and will not respond.
Under this same sub heading I’m also going to mention that during a wing suit challenge the Rico character simply was not pulling-up. This is not bad flying or lack of experience (I have the worlds 2nd highest score for time-in-the-air with a wing suit) and not it’s not my controller I switched controllers just to double check this. After jumping out of the helicopter it’s face-plant time. The solution? Shut the game down and reload – Nothing else will do.
These can be pretty dull. They’re so straight forward as to represent practically no challenge whatsoever. Jump in helicopter, fly in straight line for 2km land, get out – done. Or Rico, can you pop down to the shop and pick up a packet of fags for us? Plot as deep as a teaspoon…
I mean just how is that fun? At least in GTA V all the sub missions have some sort of story attached to them as well as being a challenge to complete.
This isn’t GTA V you know, sure I completely understand that – however they do have a few cut-scenes and also bits of story unfold as Rico drives along in a vehicle (having pressed L3 for the PS4) to get passengers so it’s a start. The main problem is the default volume settings for voice / sfx / music etc… The default values leave the ‘conversation’ in the car almost inaudible. The storyline is flimsy enough as it is, but not being able to hear the conversation over the sound of the engine revving sounds – by default really needs looking at.
Connected – lost, connected, lost, connected, lost, connected, lost, connected, lost and the whole thing continues in one massive game interrupting loop. Combine that with ridiculously long load times and we have a terrific game of AAA status reduced to a totally unplayable pile of shit.
So. There we are, just about to score the highest score in the world for a wing-suit challenge and then suddenly – BAM! CONNECTION LOST – Retry / Enter Offline Mode. Now, one can of coarse, enter offline mode but will it stay in offline mode? Will it fuck. A few seconds later and another ‘Login Failed’ this is beyond ridiculous, it totally disrupts the flow of the game.
Imagine if you will that we’re at Wimbledon – there you are in centre court, it’s match point, in the next two seconds you’re about to become the greatest player in the world – when suddenly (PAUSE) The ball freezes in mid-air and due to some sort of glitch you’re asked to go and sit down and have a cup of tea, and that when we’re finally ready we’ll put you back in exactly that sort of frenzied state before we had to hit pause. Are you going to be ready? No. You’re basically… and I’m sure there’s a four letter word here that explains one’s situation quite well which I will not use here.
What could possibly be wrong here I hear you ask? The whole point of selecting ‘Enter Offline Mode’ is so that I can just get on with the game without having to wait over and over again for multiple “retry’s” of online mode. I just want to play the game – but no. Every time you get killed – every time, off it goes trying to go back to online mode. Yet again coupled with ridiculously long loading times it’s a complete wonder we’re actually playing the game at all. Offline mode should be Offline mode – stay there and please, please just load the flipping game!
Personal best – super I can see that score. What was the score I just got on my last run again? Err…
At the game start up you get a long list of people you’ve never heard of beat your score x hours ago. Do I know them? No. Do I know what particular challenge they’re talking about? Well it does put the name of the challenge on the screen but for me I must say it doesn’t really mean a lot and then to have ‘some random person x’ beat you and then ‘random person y beat you’ etc… is a little meaningless.
Grapple not Grappling
Sliding down a wall with your parachute open desperately trying to grapple something – anything. Grapple, grapple grapple grapple grapple – nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing – you just keep sliding down the wall and there is nothing absolutely nothing whatsoever you can do about it.
Vehicles Rolling Down the Hill.
Has nobody heard of a hand break in this game? It’s a remarkable invention designed to stop you car from rolling down the hill when you’re not in it and yet this simple device doesn’t seem to exist.
Just Cause 3 for the faults that it does have is a terrific game. Lots and lots of fun to play and one of the favourites in my collection. I doesn’t have the ‘depth’ that a GTA game has and so the character development and storyline a little weak. The sub-missions are so basic and so simple as to be almost pointless, however for all it’s failings in these areas JC3 is a great blast – literally. It’s a lot of fun to play and it’s this playability and wanton destruction of the scenery that makes it so much fun.
I normally can rate how much fun a game is to play by the amount of swearing I do (without giving up on it) total score for Just Cause 3 for the PS4? Well there’s actually an awful lot of swearing but in this case it’s not a good thing. One of if not the most playable game I’ve seen in years that has been completely destroyed by logon failures, load times, bugs and other oversites, some fatal and some mere minor inconveniences. This game with it’s flaws removed? I would probably have given it between 8.5 and 9 out of 10. Instead it’s a fart in a spacesuit.