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Game Review

A number of popular franchises always try to reach for something new, something different. Others, like the Just Cause series, are happy simply revisiting the virtual ground they've already conquered. Or to put it in terms of a well-used idiom, the Just Cause gamemakers know which side their bread is buttered on.

So they give game fans exactly what they want: the "joy" of unleashing ceaseless bedlam. They deliver an open world in which players can blow things up—in a chaotic, flaming extravaganza—with a cavalcade of weapons, vehicles and impossible skill sets.

Any Port in a Storm

In the above light, Just Cause 4 is, well, Just Cause 3, only with another layer of digital butter.

This story's action is set in a fictional South American country called Solis. This lush, verdant island is home to an oppressive and arrogant dictator by the name of Oscar Espinosa. It's also home to his mysterious, high-tech secret weapon, Project Illapa. And to keep any nosey interlopers at bay, Espinosa has employed a vast and numberless army of ruthless mercenaries known as the Black Hand.

Of course, that's all just background info, really, because the Just Cause hero du jour, Rico Rodriguez, is once again on the scene. This super-duper good guy has taken down many an oppressive and arrogant South American dictator before. And he plans on zipping in and ripping this baddie and his weapon apart singlehandedly.

To do that, he equips an amazing grapple hook of sorts—one that can propel him miles in minutes, lifting him up a mountainside with ease. He also has a wing suit with which he can swoop in like a falcon. Oh, and he's got a redeployable parachute that will catch updrafts and elevate him to the highest heights.

When he encounters any small army, Rico can jump the distance of a football field in a blink and take foes down with automatic gunfire or a grappling lash. In really difficult stretches, he can grapple up to a hovering helicopter or over to a rumbling tank, throw out the vehicle's operator and take that deadly craft into the fray.

In this case though, an odd and crippling lightning storm terminates Rico's attack. It dashes him to the ground and destroys all his wonderful gadgets. In fact, Rico suspects that the freak storm is somehow connected to Illapa. So now he has to go back to square one, raise an army of locals, repair his equipment and find a way to battle a weapon that can control the very weather itself.

Ain't Shooting a Hoot?

If that action feels broad and over the top, well, that sums up Just Cause 4 to a T. The infrastructure of the game's wide-open map can be detonated and destroyed in a symphony of explosions and world-disintegrating blasts. And the story leads Rico to bigger and badder implements of war with which to unleash said demolition.

At the same time, this third-person shooter racks up scores and scores of individual kills with automatic weapons, sniper rifles, shotguns, canons, tank shells and laser-like devices. And Rico can mow down, run over and drown innocent civilians, too. He can slam his grappling hook though people, chuck them into exploding barrels or toss them off the side of a mountain if he so pleases. Limbs can be torn off, and blood splashes about with each death.

Here's the strange part of it all, though. Even with all that dismembering violence—and the inclusion of f- and s-words and various other profanities and blasphemes—the game never seems to feel as intensely realistic as many other shooters. Rather, it's almost cartoonish in its explosive, excessive destruction.

Perhaps, in a way, that makes the deadliness of Just Cause 4 even worse that those other games. Sure, the protagonist here is heroic, and his cause is painted as a just one. But can you really praise a game that strives to make bloodletting so much fun?

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

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Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range









Record Label


Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC


Square Enix


December 4, 2018

On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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