Just Cause 3: The Wish list
by Thom Edwards
Just Cause 2 was one of the best games of 2010. It was leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor Just Cause and has been praised for being enormous fun. Hell, even the famously nit picking Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw named it his Game of the Year, describing it as “a bundle of free-roaming fun”. In April 2012, developer Square Enix registered several domain names including www.justcause4.co.uk, indicating that Just Cause 3 may already be well into development.
As I’ve been playing Far Cry 3 over the past week I couldn’t help but be reminded of a wonderful title that sucked up so many hours of my life. So, without further a do here’s a rundown of all the features needed to make Just Cause 3 a success.
Wildlife was one of the few things missing in Just Cause 2 and was perhaps the most obvious flaw in an otherwise great title. Free roaming across a huge landscape just isn’t the same when the lush environment is completely devoid of any type of fauna. The Just Cause map was so large that almost every type of animal could have been included. Not only did the lack of wildlife detract from the immersion but the developers also missed out on game play elements.
In Far Cry 3 you can hunt animals for their pelts in order to create new weapons and larger inventories for your ammo and health. Ingredients gathered from plants could also be combined to restore your health and give you temporary but powerful perks that boosted your fighting abilities. It’s surprising really that Just Cause 2 didn’t follow this route as the possibilities seem fairly obvious. Hunting animals for their pelts could have created not only bigger inventories for ammo and health but could also have been used to create different types of parachutes with different abilities.
As I said earlier Just Cause 2 contained many different landscapes and environments which could have catered to many different species of animals. It would have added tp game play if you had to watch your back for different animals depending on what environment you were in. Whilst trekking across the desert you would have to watch your step for snakes and tarantulas who’s poison was not only deadly but also useful for creating health tonics or poison to dip your ammo in. On the other, colder, side of the map wolves and bears would be on the prowl eager to eat any unwary base jumpers who might pass by.
Far Cry isn’t the only game to include animals of course. Red Dead Redemption, Assassin’s Creed 3, Metal Gear Solid 3 and many other games have received praise for the inclusion of fauna and it’s become clear over the years that gamers do enjoy a spot of hunting ever since, well, Duck Hunt.
While it’s true that Just Cause 2 had the biggest free roam map ever made it’s also true that the map suffered from a case of copy and paste. The map was lacking in landmarks, huge natural wonders or anything worth collecting and one part of the island was pretty much the same as another. Sure, there were numerous faction collectables to collect but these served no real purpose whatsoever. In short you had no incentive to explore the island.
Who can forget the great Washington Monument, visible from almost anywhere in Fallout 3? Or, the Statue of Happiness in GTA IV with it’s infamous Easter egg? What I’m saying is that the Just Cause 3 map needs to not only be distinct but crammed with Easter eggs and collectibles that will benefit the player and give them an incentive to see what’s beyond the next hill.
A great feature in Red Dead Redemption was Random Encounters. Random Encounters, as its name suggests, was random encounters with NPCs that could occur anywhere in game. There were many different scenarios from giving a civilian a ride to town to helping a man stop his friend from being hung. If Just Cause 3 were to implement this game mechanic it would vastly increase the players immersion with the game.
Interesting Side Quests
The main missions in Just Cause 2 were filled with huge explosions, lots of chaos and high octane action. The aside missions however, were lacking. That’s not to say that all the side missions were dull but too many of them felt repetitive and served little interest to the player. Many side quests were a case of go here, blow that up, kill him, escape, rinse and repeat.
The developers need to be more ambitious with the side quests in Just Cause 3. They need to make them shine as much as the main missions. It’s not enough to simply ask players to blow up a base or assassinate an enemy, we need more variety and more memorable missions.
Take for instance a mission in Far Cry 3. Your goal was simple; collect some mushrooms for a crazy doctor so he could make you a special healing tonic. When I first started this mission I imagined that there would conveniently be some enemy soldiers located by the mushrooms that I’d have to take care of first. I was wrong. During this quest there wasn’t a single enemy soldier in sight but that didn’t stop this mission from being memorable. The mushrooms I needed were in a cave so full of spores and “magic” mushrooms that my character started having severe hallucinations as he made his way back to the doctor. I won’t spoil the exact nature of the hallucination but safe to say I’ll remember that mission for a long time. If the developers of Just Cause 3 can make side missions of that calibre then it’s sure to be a winner.
What’s better than having an open world to cause chaos in? Having an open world you AND your buddy can cause chaos. Any of you who played Crackdown will attest to how much fun can be had when you and your friends are let loose too cause havoc together.
Multiplayer could also extend to missions too. Taking out the ground troops whilst your buddy provides cover fire from a helicopter would turn the action up to 11 and fun up to 15. What more do you want? Jam on it?
With a huge open world, crazy vehicles and an anything goes set of rules Just Cause 2 could have had some amazing DLC. Adding new locations, characters and quests could have added to the already huge replay value and given us some serious bang for our buck. Instead we got a few weapons and vehicles we didn’t need in the first place.
Seriously which moron thought this would be worth paying money for and which bigger moron allowed this to go ahead? An expansion pack that includes new weapons and such is fine, if not expected but paying for JUST weapons!? That’s Just Crazy (see what I did there?). Square Enix should take a cue from Oblivion and Red Dead Redemption and release some DLC that makes the game even better and keeps us coming back.
When I discovered the Lost island Easter egg I imagined some DLC that might let us explore the history of that island and discover how those WW2 soldiers got stuck there. Again, when I found the I Am Legend reference I imagined we might see some Zombie DLC but no. Instead we got a gun that fires air. Literally.
It’s fair to say that Just Cause 2 didn’t have the most memorable nor compelling story line in gaming history. However, like the latest action blockbuster movie you could easily forgive it that when you saw how much action and fun it offered to make up for it. But, if Just Cause 3 is going to hit all the right notes then a thrilling story is something it’s going to need.
For starters it needs more memorable and badass characters. Rico is larger than life and he needs other larger than life characters to interact with. Everyone in Just Cause 2 just seemed like cardboard cut outs dwarfed by Rico’s charismatic shadow. Give Rico a supporting cast to have chemistry with. As a ladies man Rico could have great dialogue with a well written heroine similar to the arrogant Prince and the more mature Farrah as seen in Prince of Persia. Perhaps a sarcastic and geeky old scientist could supply Rico with new gadgets and vehicles as he complains how Rico never bothers to actually land his aircrafts.
To balance this Just Cause 3 should feature a villain as memorable as Vaas from Far Cry 3 and as unstoppable as Raam from Gears of War. Although feeling like a badass is important in the Just Cause series, it’s also important that you don’t feel over powered, adding a villain who really gave Rico a run for his money and something the player would think twice before attacking.
Needless to say Square Enix should make a point in fleshing out supporting characters by writing them solid dialogue and getting in well known voice actors à la Assassin’s Creed and Fable.
Perhaps not the most obvious choice in this wish list but no doubt important. Stealth made the briefest of appearances in Just Cause 2 when during one of the first missions you were tasked with taking out sentries quietly by only using your melee attack. After this mission the developers seemed to totally forget the stealth element and the rest of the game proceeded with about as much stealth and subtlety as Kristen Stewart’s love life. It’s a shame really because creeping around in the jungle was fun in Metal Gear Solid 3, fun in Far Cry 3 and would have been fun in Just Cause 2. It would also have made the huge map feel more interactive and the thought of climbing through the tree’s to pounce upon your enemy before he knows what’s what would have made good fun.
Stealth also adds more options for the player. Taking over an enemy base guns blazing is fun the first few times but there’s more satisfaction in sneakily taking out each guard one by one without raising an alarm. Plus it would add a level of customisation to weapons. The Call Of Duty generation could add grenade launcher and shotgun attachments to their AK’s whilst the Metal Gear generation could opt for suppressers and scopes.
With any luck the developers will have taken these ideas into account when it comes to Just Cause 3 and will deliver a game that makes the previous games look like a snore fest. Happy skydiving.
P.S. Real men pull the ripcord at the last second!