HEAVEN’S ON FIRE
When you’re close to death, the screen turns to black and white, an appropriate punishment for a job poorly done in such a cheerfully colourful game. In fact, it’s a fate worse than death, since Avalanche treats failure with a gentle hand; die, and you respawn a short distance away, your ammo restocked, and all previous destruction remembered. A particularly tricky base can be whittled down life by life, safe in the knowledge that a full stock of explosives is only a trip to the afterlife away. It’s a more viable tactic on PC than on consoles, where wearyingly long loading times encourage a rather more traditional fear of videogame death. PC users with an SSD, however, can be as daredevil as they like. towns and bases, they are no longer just optional distractions but essential, since they hold the keys to the upgrade system. Want more tethers? Get a threestar rating in this Pilotwings- style wingsuit challenge. Fancy a nitrous boost for your boat collection? Clear this speedboat course, and it’s yours. Whether this is preferable to the traditional XP-and-skill-point system is debatable, but in the context of a game that spends far too long giving you the same thing to do and expecting you to make it interesting for yourself, it’s a welcome, designer-crafted change of pace. Pace is the game’s biggest problem, but it isn’t its only one. While our PC playthrough yielded several technical issues, many have already been addressed in a day-one patch, and more won’t be an issue on beefier rigs. But a brief test of the console versions sees framerate frequently sacrificed for explosive spectacle, and some unbearable load times – especially when retrying challenges in the hope of a better rating and a new upgrade. But even when Just Cause 3 is being disappointing – when you’re pulling down your 20th Di Ravello statue of the afternoon, watching as yet another police station fuel tank goes up in brilliant flames – it is hard to complain too much. This, after all, is a game that goes out of its way to empower in a way few other games dare. It can have its little missteps. Sheldon, the Texan CIA agent who is quite obviously not to be trusted, puts it perfectly late on. “You need a more positive outlook on life,” he says. “You’ve got an infinite parachute, for Pete’s sake.” Fair point.