Rico Rodriguez is a busy man; after all he's been taking down dictators ever since the first Just Cause in 2006. Now he's back with the fourth iteration of the explosive series from Avalanche Studios, one that we've been told in the past is "four times the scope" of its predecessors. We wingsuited up with high hopes then, to see if the series really does crescendo with this latest entry, and prepared for even more carnage.
This game takes place in the fictional country of Solis, which is in a spot of turmoil. An organisation called The Black Hand, masterminded by Oscar Espinosa, is subjugating the people of the land, but worse still is that they are developing weather control technology which has some link to Rodriguez's father. As you might have guessed, it isn't until our bearded hero's arrival that the people fight back, forming the appropriately titled Order of Chaos to push back against The Black Hand's authority (which is done by the Frontline mechanic - earning chaos points, assembling squads, and then deploying them to claim areas of the map).
In a refreshing turn of events the game actually opens with Rodriguez insisting he can take on Espinosa's heavily-defended tower base on his own, defying his ally Mira's advice and actually getting battered, proving his knuckle-headed masculinity wrong. That kind of character depth doesn't last for long though, as we're back to single-handedly taking down the regime within half an hour, as every man and their dog asks for our assistance in exploding anything with red paint on.
But hey, who plays Just Cause games for the story? A lot of the fans are here for one thing and one thing only - chaos. Avalanche Studios has always prided itself on providing bombastic action in these titles, and here it's no different, as there is the same mix of environmental hazards to destroy, from the littlest of gas tanks to gigantic satellite dishes, all of which rain debris on you and your foes.
The physics system overall is entertaining to play around with, especially when these bits of wreckage litter the area or fall onto your enemies. There's always a lot going on as you'd expect, but occasionally you get the dodgy moment, like a teammate walking into your plane gently and moving it around or a helicopter bouncing around the ground for no discernible reason.
Another important toy that we've seen in the series is the grapple gun. Not only can you grapple from place to place and attach things to other things (cows to missiles, perhaps?) but now you also deploy balloons and boosters on objects. The former pretty much does what it says on the tin, lifting things up and hanging them mid-air, and with enough of them, you can even send tanks floating off into the horizon. The boosters are also very self-explanatory, pushing things in a certain direction as if they were thrusters.
All of these can be customised with grapple loadouts via the menu, which you can then switch between on the fly using the d-pad (using a DualShock 4), making for quick and easy access. You can also change whether you need to tap L1 or whether it deploys it automatically, as well as the ferocity with which your balloons or boosters deploy.