Major performance problems are cause for concern.
Just Cause 3 is a game about pulling insane, death-defying stunts while destroying everything in sight with spectacular fireball explosions. The problem is, both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions fail when Rico Rodriguez’s over-the-top action-heroism needs them the most.
Above: Problems with the console versions are widespread.
For a more in-depth look at all the things Just Cause 3 does right when it’s running well, please check out my Just Cause 3 PC review. Unfortunately, the console versions simply don’t give it a chance to shine. When the spectacular fireworks and hilarious, delightfully destructive chaos kick off, the frame rate often drops well below 30 frames per second. And when the frame rate drops, it’s much harder to defy death as you’re piloting one of the many helicopters, jets, or cars, or stay in the air when you’re using the fun but touchy wingsuit. When you die, you’re subjected to loading times that can last 90 seconds or more.
I found myself afraid of another stint in that load-screen penalty box
After a few hours of that, I found myself afraid of another stint in that load-screen penalty box. I began playing conservatively, avoiding crazy stunts that require precise timing or triggering massive explosions in the heat of battle. And when you’re playing conservatively, Just Cause 3 gets boring and frustrating quickly. The task of liberating dozens of towns and capturing military bases by blowing up anything with red on it, knocking over statues, and taking over fortified police stations is pretty repetitive even when it’s at its best, and if you’re not able to exercise your creativity in this sandbox by doing crazy moves, like using your grapple to fling explosive barrels at enemies or crash helicopters into things to keep it interesting, it’s a pretty dull third-person shooter. Enemies this dumb aren’t much fun to fight in conventional ways.
Watch our Xbox One vs PlayStation 4 vs PC graphics comparison above.
Likewise, the strength of its enormous open world is undermined by start-up loading times that can brush up against four minutes. And when it crashes on you every so often, you get to repeat that. And the beautiful vistas don’t look as beautiful when they’re smeared by low-frame rate motion blur. The problems seem a bit worse on the Xbox One than the PlayStation 4, but they’re both pretty bad.