Just Cause 4's Weather and Other Changes Add Even More Destructive Potential to the Formula - Preview

Just Cause 4's Weather and Other Changes Add Even More Destructive Potential to the Formula - Preview

Richard Walker

When you’ve already got all the man-made destruction and chaos you can think of, what’s the obvious next step? No, it’s not going into space. It’s nature’s own destruction and chaos, courtesy of Just Cause 4’s new extreme weather systems.

Alright, so that doesn’t exactly sound thrilling on the surface, but this is Avalanche’s maniacal series we’re talking about. As such it’s less ‘here’s the weather’ and more ‘the weather has just destroyed half of downtown and you’re about to ride on top of a car into a tornado’. Very distinct vibes.

The core Just Cause experience remains largely unchanged, from what we were shown. It’s still an open world, it’s still starring Rico Rodriguez, and it still involves getting your hands dirty in a war off the beaten path. This time around things take place in the fictional South American nation of Solis, and sees Rodriguez battling against the Black Hand – the world’s most powerful private military organisation.

Along the way you’ll utilise your guns and gadgets – the wingsuit, parachute and grappling hook all return, though the latter has seen some updates (more on that shortly) – as well as commandeering any and all vehicles you need as and when you need them, from pootling scooters to high-powered attack jets.

So far, so similar to what’s come before. But Just Cause 4 does make tweaks and changes to the established formula, making for an experience that looks to be both familiar and innovative at the same time. The first big change is the weather we just mentioned, and it looks like it’s going to be more than just blustery window dressing.

The tornado you may have seen in trailers – and that was shown to us behind closed doors in a bit more detail – is a constant, marauding presence across the whole of Just Cause 4’s map. It’s a core element of at least one story mission, as we were shown, with both sides of the guerrilla war attempting to control or at least deflect the destructive wind vortex for their own benefit.

It’s a whirling dervish of destruction, annihilating – or at least lifting up – anything in its path not affixed to the ground. While destruction of buildings isn’t something we’ve seen, the chaos caused by the tornado whipping up cars, containers, aircraft and whatever else in its path is quite the spectacle. And with everything being physics-based, there’s definite scope for fun to be had.

It isn’t just the tornado – extreme weather is also located in each of Just Cause 4’s different biomes: the rainforest, desert, grassland, and alpine regions. So while the tornado is the marquee feature, you’ll still be contending with sandstorms and blizzards on a smaller scale.

Having said all of that, the new physics-based weather systems aren’t just there to harass the player – there are factors that can be exploited for your benefit. Simple things like wind currents being present and visible thanks to pollen drifting along on them mean you can see ahead of time where your wingsuit/parachute path will take you. It’s a small change, but could add a layer of strategy to the madness.

Probably the biggest change on the player side of things has nothing to do with the weather, though. No, that comes in the form of Just Cause 4’s customisable grappling hook. We’ve gone from single-shot hook to double-ended hook, and now a system that allows a lot more playfulness, and a lot more individuality.

Of course, we were only privy to a couple of new features – but they were more than enough to whet our appetite. One saw the addition of an explosive pulse to grappling points, meaning small detonations would occur when the dual grapples were retracted. Another deployed boosters on items from a distance, the usefulness of this shown via the example of a makeshift wrecking ball: a cargo container attached to a crane, with boosters pushing the latter around in circles. Oh, the hilarious destruction potential.

We were also shown the airlifter add-on, which allows you to attach Metal Gear Solid Fulton-like balloons to items (and people), lifting them high in the air and away from – or into – trouble. Combined with a follow function, which makes the balloon... well, follow you, or adding a few airlifters to a cargo container then clambering on top of it to make a mobile weapons platform, we were shown there’s a lot of scope for experimentation. And that’s a very Just Cause thing.

Elsewhere the changes are less drastic in Just Cause 4, more on the side of tweaks to the formula than anything else. The ongoing war you’re taking part in sees both sides taking and ceding territory – rather than just being marked by lines on a map, there’s an actual frontline of the war in-game, which players can actively take part in should they so choose (and should they so want to pick up some weapons).

Speaking of weapons, all guns now have a secondary fire – we were shown a drone being launched from one, and a shield deploying from another – while aim-down-sights has been incorporated too. Oh, and there’s a rail gun, because what game of chaos and destruction is complete without a rail gun? No game is, that’s what.

You can only gather so much from a demo of a game being played in front of you – that’s the disclaimer here. But there’s no doubt it’s looking like Just Cause 4 is taking things in an impressive direction. There are no fundamental changes, mind, and there is always the risk the fourth game in a series might end up feeling a mite stale.

Judgement shall be reserved, of course, for when we get to play it. For now, though, let’s go with... cautious optimism. Just Cause 4 is unlikely to be messed up by Avalanche, but will extreme weather be enough to blow us all away when it launches this December?

  • Makeshift wrecking balls? Attaching balloons to stuff and having a tornado blow them away? A rail gun? Well, seems I have to preorder.
  • I dread the challenges once more. What if they learned of the Bavarium Wingsuit "cheat" from the last game and gave us crazy challenges once more LOL... Just talking in a trophy hunter/collector perspective. JC2 list was pretty decent for me. I'm pretty sure they're gonna make us pick up a boat on top of a crater lake mountain. LOL
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