Just Cause 3, the explosive sandbox, got a warm reception here at the office. The open world and freedom to create unlimited amounts of chaos makes this, the third game in the series, a cornucopia of destructive fun. The addition of the Sky Fortress DLC made the game even more action-packed, as Rico got himself a jetpack, and effectively ended up being a human jet-fighter. Avalanche Studios is now getting ready with their second DLC pack (of three planned); Air, Land and Sea, and we have reached the 'land' part. In the heart of London, we were allowed to try this content, and get acquainted with the main attraction: Mechs.
You're not lacking for action when playing Just Cause 3, in fact, at times you need a breather between setting one Michael Bay inspired scenario in motion after another. The developers are not going to let up on the action with the addition of Mech Land Assualt. On the contrary, it will make things even more explosive and frantic. With the new Mechs it seems that the game can reach new heights of destruction. Besides the big robots this expansion adds a new large island: La Krima. However, there doesn't seem to be much new in terms of story. La Krima is a prison island, where some of Rico's rebel colleagues are being held, and of course, it's his job to save them: cue the mechs.
In order to get your hands on one of these to begin with, you have to destroy another mech, steal its core and use it as a weapon to neutralise another mech, which you then can steal. This new weapon, pulled from a mechanised corpse, can be used to put all kinds of vehicles out of action. The core also operates the robots' primary ability and weapon: The G.R.I.P. - or Gravitational Remote Influence Projector. This 'gun' manipulates gravity, so you can pick up all sorts of things up, and this is where the extra layer of destruction and chaos will be put on top of the game. Helicopters can be pulled from the sky and thrown in the face of a tank, after which they both explode. Buildings can be pulled apart and The Grip can also be used as a massive fist - something that the animators were very proud of, as they demonstrated how to make shoryukens and pile drivers, to fight through enemies.
The second arm is a big gun: The Valarium Splitter, which allegedly splits valarium. This is essentially a heavy machine gun. Together, they create the basic core of the chaos that the mechs can create. Entire military bases will be destroyed in minutes, and whatever the enemy throws at you merely becomes a new toy that can be thrown back. On the whole, it seems like this expansion will make the game even more of a playground of destruction than it already was. Rarely has the term 'sandbox' fitted a game so well.
It is perhaps here where this DLC could potentially fail, though. Although the chaos level rose a few degrees, we quickly found that the fun died out after just half an hour of playing. Of course, that's not enough to truly test it out, and there is likely plenty of hours of gameplay here, but as a mech everything becomes light as a feather: lamp-posts become match sticks and cars behave as if made by plastic. Everything explodes as if buildings and helicopters were all filled with highly flammable explosives. To describe it simply, the world seems to lack weight, even if it was ridiculous before it at least felt semi-plausible. On the other hand, if you're simply looking for a distraction, and another way you can sit down and smash things in between more serious gaming experiences, maybe this is for you.
Avalanche Studios also seem to have done it all intuitively and made it easily accessible. This is important because by now there are many things to remember, and many areas you must master. The robot is easy to manage, and can run in any direction across most terrain. It's easy to pick stuff up, and do with it what you will. The feature is easy to get into, but hard to master, and there is every reason to believe that many players will spend hours stacking things on top of each other, and generally letting their creativity run wild. The developers also promised that if you finish the DLC, you will get your own Mech Companion, which can help out where there is need.
Mech Land Assault promises to be another explosion-packed expansion to the already overflowing action game that is Just Cause 3. It brings some interesting mechanics to the game that will give players the opportunity to inflict new kinds of chaos on the world. However, it quickly lost its lustre when we sampled it so there's some concern as to the lasting appeal of this new slice of content. That said, Mech Land Assault will put some tools in the hands of players that have the potential to be really fun, and if you are a fan of Just Cause 3, you can look forward to even more creative destruction.
Mech Land Assault is priced at $11.99 / €11.99 / £9.49. Season Pass holders can access the content from June 3, and everybody else can grab it on June 10. Head this way for our review of the first DLC drop, Sky Fortress.