I played the ever-loving hell out of Just Cause 2, so imagine my excitement when Just Cause 3 zipped into my life. The sequel enhanced on the previous game in almost every way, but I had one qualm with its map design that I just couldn’t shake. I braced myself for Just Cause 4 to disappoint in the same way, but its recent demo at E3 2018 left me with no such concerns.
The one detriment of Just Cause 3 when compared to Just Cause 2 was the sequel’s lack of diversity in its biomes. Just Cause 2 may not have featured a plethora of biomes—limited to just desert, tundra, jungle, and urban—but each were so aggressively distinct from one another, it gave the impression of playing four completely different games. In the case of Just Cause 3, a Mediterranean biome with some mountains thrown in was generally all it had to offer, and while it was beautiful to look at, it eventually became a little dull to play. Just Cause 4 had the potential to fall into a similar trap, but not only does the upcoming sequel go back to featuring four distinct biomes, each environment poses uniquely massive threats to the player.
Just Cause 4‘s map, the series’ largest ever, is split between grasslands, jungle, tundra, and desert, with urban communities scattered throughout. Beyond their climate, each of these biomes feature an exclusive weather pattern that can drastically and abruptly turn the gameworld into chaos. The weather patterns for each respective environment are a tornado, a lightning storm, a blizzard, and a sand storm. While the developer has yet to elaborate on how the last three affect the environment or the player, the tornado was shown off in the demo I attended, and its destructive power may very possibly trump the other three combined.
The twister will barrel across the landscape, with its gusts sucking up anything from concrete bridges to passenger jets. Of course, the player can get stuck in the storm if they’re not careful, by they can also use the disaster’s insane physics to their advantage, grappling themselves or enemies to objects that are being whipped around. Weather isn’t normally thought of as an impactful game mechanic, at least not in shooters, but it is easily Just Cause 4‘s greatest evolution since the last game, aside from the map improvements.
I had very few complaints coming out of Just Cause 3, and its lack of environment diversity was by far the biggest. There is something truly refreshing about seeing a beloved series take community feedback and run with it so confidently. Now the thrill of exploring Just Cause 4‘s fictional South American nation of Solis will be that much greater.