ScreenCritics Shaun explores the current state of Avalanche Studio’s ‘Just Cause 3’ – exploring fans anger and the sad state of play.
Avalanche Studios had a lot of good will coming their way after the release of Just Cause 2. A fun, open-ended experience that felt like a true alternative to Grand Theft Auto. Yet the release of Just Cause 3 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC was nothing short of a complete disaster. The game arriving in a broken state that made gamers feel it had rushed out the gate. Over a year later things haven’t really improved, unless you’re in that group of gamers who opted to invest in the PlayStation 4 Pro. Nothing says “we fixed our game” quite like having to buy a new console to experience it the way gamers wanted.
For those gamers unlucky enough to have paid full price for Just Cause 3, the end product is far from the experience they would have wanted. When Just Cause 3 landed at the end of 2015, Digital Foundry did a tear-down of the game that revealed numerous issues. After the huge success of Just Cause 2 and its fan-friendly multiplayer mode, many would have suspected that Avalanche would understand what needed to be done in their next game. Yet even at launch, it was apparent that the game was a glitchy disaster – with slowdown and frame rate drops impacting gamers hard across all the consoles. What was intended to be a AAA-game release turned very sour, very quickly.
It’s a mess that Avalanche haven’t come back to fix yet, despite the game being over a year old. Numerous patches have arrived in the intervening months but these have actually made things a lot worse on the consoles; rendering entire sequences of the game unplayable and pushing the game into the kind of embarrassing situation that would sink other studios whole. For fans of the franchise – it’s just not good enough at this stage.
The above video showcases just how poor things have gotten since the latest patch hit in last June. The game turns into a Powerpoint slideshow; a situation that’s common across all the platforms when the bottom falls out of the engine. Perhaps most disturbing of all, there doesn’t appear to be one trigger for this. It’s an occurrence that can occur at any stage if the action picks up slightly. In a game that’s almost entirely built on action – it’s a laughably poor situation.
It’s not as if the company isn’t aware of the issues. Back when the game released, they pushed a blog post indicating that they knew about the widespread issues;
‘We know that some of you are encountering some technical issues – we’re looking into them all and we’re fully committed to providing you the best possible experience,’ says a newon the official site.
‘We know you’re going to want specific information on when a patch will land and what will be fixed – we would love to give you that information, and we will as soon as we have it. But right now, a little over one day since we launched, we have huge numbers of players in our enormous game world and we’re monitoring all the data coming in.
‘We need a little bit of time to recreate some of these issues and build fixes. Rest assured though – we are fully committed to making Just Cause 3 as awesome as possible. We already know loads of people are having a blast with the game but we’ll do all we can to make sure everyone is laughing and smiling as they play.’
Sadly its just another game on top of an increasingly tall pile of AAA-games that arrive broken. Back in 2015, when Batman Arkham Knight appeared in a similar state on PC’s – the game was never really fixed. Despite RockSteady’s attempts to fix the issues caused; ultimately the game was left to drift. Similar story with the PC version of Mortal Kombat X, which all but abandoned PC gamers when the developer was unwilling to put in the work required to fix that version of the game. The one advantage PC users have is the Steam store, where refunds can be given easily. For those who bought digitally through the PSN or Xbox Live stories however, the road to a refund is long and difficult.
Fans have taken to modding the game themselves, attempting to salvage something from the wreckage. If you have a PlayStation 4 Pro, you can play the game on consoles the way was it was intended. But that’s barely a comfort for fans of the franchise who eagerly rushed out to buy the game at launch. Heck, even the developers have moved on from the title, seemingly accepting the games sad state of affairs.
There’s already been whispers of Just Cause 4 and a possible multiplayer component floating in the gaming sphere – if true it’s hilariously optimistic of Avalanche. Expecting gamers to get excited over the next installment when the most current game is such a shambling mess isn’t on. It doesn’t matter how good those games end up being; the fact is that Avalanche have abused their position of trust and haven’t done enough to regain it. The people who dropped $60 on this game deserve their moneys worth – they don’t want to be hearing about the developer running off into the sunset with the next goal in mind.
For Avalanche, there’s a duty of responsibility to gamers. To fix the mess they’ve made and to make good on the promise Just Cause 3 had. It’ll be hard for gamers to invest in the series moving forward otherwise.