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    Just Cause 3: Aviators? Check. Sandals? Check. C4? Check. Rico’s ready for a new holiday

    Too many open-world games don’t really feel that open. For every moment of emergent madness that triggers as a direct cause of your actions in, say, Assassin’s Creed or GTA V, there are tens of mini-map scouring collectible quests and linear path story missions. You spend far too much time in these games opening your map, marking a waypoint and then marching forth to rub it off. *ahem* After almost an hour of hands-on time with Just Cause 3, it feels like the explosion-flavoured antithesis to this particular first-world whinge.

    Reeling off the list of new features, it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that Just Cause 3 is an incremental upgrade, rather than a full-blown sequel. There’s a new wingsuit which enables faster and more fluid airborne traversal of the huge sun-bleached Mediterranean setting of Medici. There’s a new ability for the infamous double-ended grappling hook which allows you to retract any ropes you’ve attached to things. And there’s infinite C4 now, a masterful touch given how much time we spent (read wasted) in JC2 scouring the map for the stuff. But grab the pad in both hands and these inspired new touches, along with the stupidly gorgeous location, become essential fun lubrication.

    That wingsuit, for example. You can now switch between it and your infinitely retracting parachute with the tap of a button. The ’chute allows returning action hero protagonist Rico to do everything that he would be able to do on the ground. He can deploy the grappling hook for time-honoured speed boosts. He even can double-deploy it to inspire chaotic destruction in mid-air, and he can do the shooty business too, reloading and lobbing ’nades and the like with ease. It’s all a bit slow, though.

    Flick to the wingsuit and suddenly Mr Rico loses all that functionality but gains some serious speed. Just navigating the world is exhilarating, thanks to the strange tummy tickling sensation you get from rocketing towards the tarmac like a missile, or blazing through tiny gaps between cliffs in a valley.
    “We watch The Billowing explosion as we hammer face-first into a Building. it was worth it.”
    Winging It
    It’s inspiring. At one point we find ourselves perched atop the still-flaming wreckage of a military outpost, its vast spires collapsing in on themselves in a destructive crescendo of current-gen splendour, and it takes maybe four seconds for us to spot a gas storage silo in the distance below us. We instantly set ourselves the mental task of landing dead centre on top of this new target, using only the wingsuit.

    Cue stomach churning last gasp steering through the air in blistering loop-the-loops en route. At one point we imagine Rico’s chest hair singeing on the asphalt as we swoop down a little too low in our bid for extra pace. We land, we plant some C4 and we swoop away again, turning the camera back to watch the billowing explosions as we gracefully hammer face first into a terracotta roof. It was worth it.

    The newly jiggered grappling hook inspires just as much hilarity. You can now fire multiple grapples out into the world, attaching things to one another with abandon. And once you’ve done your Geppetto thing, all these ropes will retract with a single button press to start over. You can fire enemies into the air… Attach multiple foes to the back of your car like a hilarious version a ‘Just Married’ wagon…

    You can even (and we tried this) grapple onto a helicopter, attach a load of C4, hook several people to it, then draw them all together into a kind of meat-strewn fireworks celebration… Just, uh, don’t expect others in the room to look at you the same way afterwards.

    He’s Got The Hook
    Just Cause 3 knows what’s fun and Avalanche is trying its damndest to ensure that these elements are brought to the fore. Weapons, vehicles and the like can be spawned almost instantly. Elements of the world inspire playful use of Rico’s skillset to master or destroy. The statues of Just Cause 2 are back, only now there are a hundred ways to bring them crashing down. Our fave? Attaching a guard plastered with C4 to the rear end. Devastating.

    And then there’s Medici. It’s a huge, vista-chocked Mediterranean holiday destination, a far cry from the dull cityscapes we’re too often fed. There are huge fields, mountain ranges and azure blue seas to drink in as you explore. Its immediate predecessor had a fairly honking story alongside it, and the mechanics were as shonky as they were innovative. This time out we’d predict (Avalanche is keeping quiet about it) that the dictatorship-overthrowing plot will once again take a back seat. But with this many excuses to neck bucketloads of action front and centre, we can’t wait to take our Meds.

    Mama Mia!
    Things to do while on holiday in Medici

    Eschew traditional surfing scenarios and feel the sting of shrapnel-infused Med air as you skim across rooftops on a flaming car attached to a helicopter.

    Take to the skies across a range of air tours one after another. Literally. Bring your own double-ended grappling hook to avoid horrible gravity-based death.

    Why not relax with an outdoor barbecue? Don’t worry if you can’t find any propane gas in the shops any object sporting a red tinge can be used as fuel.

    If all else fails, attach several of the local military forces to anything with wheels, then smear them across a mile of asphalt. what? Too psychotic?

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