The recently-released Just Cause 4 is now available via Xbox Game Pass, so anyone with a subscription can download it free.
10th December 2018
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Smash Bros. Ultimate has punched its way to the top of the UK charts, with the best ever launch for the series and the best ever launch for any Nintendo Switch game.
In its first weekend of release, Smash Bros. Ultimate sold more physical copies than Zelda, Mario, and even the combined sales of Pokémon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee.
It's also the best UK launch for any game in the Smash series - more than 300 per cent higher than the game's Wii U version, and more than 60 per cent higher than Smash Bros. Brawl on Wii.
Few riffs encapsulate the 80s quite like A-ha's oft-imitated but never bettered Take on Me, so imagine my surprise when that very same riff cropped up in a Just Cause 4 clip on Twitter.
My favourite character in the new Just Cause is called Larry. That's what I decided to call him anyway. When I met him, Larry was - how can I say this? - recently dead. Furthemore, Larry was - how can I say this? - attached to the fender of the car I had probably used to kill him. I say probably because in the heat of the moment in a Just Cause game it can be hard to say what happens and who makes it happen. The thing is, Larry wasn't just dead, and he wasn't just attached to the fender of the car I was driving. He was also floating in the air, ragdolling in a perfect summer breeze. That's because one of his legs - I forget which one - was attached to a massive helium balloon that was holding him aloft. I didn't spot Larry for a good five minutes, I reckon, such is the pace of a typical Just Cause mission. Once I did, I found it hard to let him go. For one thing, I had grown fond of him. (You could say I was attached to him.) For another, I couldn't remember the button to snap the tethers.
Just Cause 4 review
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Can Avalanche get the Just Cause franchise back on course? The arrival of the latest series entry this week sees the developer scaling up its ambitions for the game: even more insane physics, more diverse tasks, more action-packed missions and the arrival of adverse weather conditions spread across four different biomes. Bearing in mind how much the last game struggled on consoles, has the developer bitten off more than it can chew? It's against the odds perhaps but the truth is that Just Cause 4 pulls it off - the game is far more challenging on console hardware and yet the performance delivered is a night and day improvement over its predecessor.
What we like about the series remains in effect here - the open world is vast and Rico Rodriguez can explore it as he sees fit, meting out his own particular brand of explosive justice - but far more of an effort is made to push the game's systems to even more spectacular effect. Boosters, airlifters and retractors add more utility to the grapple system and not only up the ante in terms of destruction, but also open the door to some basic puzzling. New weapons show some Insomniac-level imagination, and this time iron sights are open right from the beginning, adding some much-needed precision to the blasting. Vehicle handling? That's been a focus for Avalanche too, with much improvement over the last game.
The arrival of adverse weather conditions is a highlight too - twisters can rip through towns, cities and bases, smashing through bridges, ripping all destructible scenery and vehicles from the ground, while high-speed winds during a sandstorm up-end gameplay and enhance the destruction still further. And depending on the console you play, everything runs without a hitch - for the most part. Yes, Square-Enix did promise an emphasis on smooth performance during development, but bearing in mind just how much of a battering frame-rate could take on Just Cause 3, and just how many times gamers have been let down by poor CPU performance from the current-gen Jaguars, it's easy to be pessimistic about the sequel's chances here, especially with the physics system pushed so hard.
If you're eager to learn what's in store for Just Cause 4 after release (despite not having, you know, even managed to play the base game yet), there's some good news! Square Enix has revealed first details on the post-launch DLC coming to its open-world stunt-action extravaganza in 2019.
Just Cause 4's post-launch DLC will, says Square, consist of three separate content "packs", each with its own distinct theme. For instance, pack one (also known as Dare Devils), is a racing-focussed instalment in which Rico takes on the gangs of the Solís underground, challenging them to "heart stopping death races and rampage rallies".
Just Cause 4's second DLC pack, Demons, takes a turn for the supernatural, and sees Rico face an ancient demonic force that threatens the inhabitants of Solís. Its third and final DLC pack, Danger, apparently introduces new advanced technology, new secret weapons, and specially trained operatives - all thanks to the mysterious arrival of Rico's former employer.
Avalanche Studios has unveiled a brand-new slice of gameplay footage from its upcoming stunt-action spy extravaganza, Just Cause 4 - this one showcasing the game's devastating tornados.
According to Avalanche, these "fully physicalized" tornados are just one of four so-called Extreme Weather simulations in Just Cause 4 (the others including intense lightning storms and blizzards), and are able to "rip through the landscape, send huge pieces of debris spiralling through the air and tear aeroplanes out of the sky".
The latest gameplay video, which you can see below, demonstrates a mission specifically based around pursuing one of these tornadoes, and involves hurtling along in a brand-new vehicle - the heavily armoured Storm Chaser - in order to reach a base that lies in its path.
UPDATE: Square-Enix has just dropped some new details on Just Cause 4 during its E3 showcade.
The new game is set in the South-American country Solis, which is the series' largest playground yet. There are ancient temples and lovely beaches, but there's also a horrible paramilitary group called the Black Hand, run by a lady named Gabriella.
The main new focus is on extreme weather. Alongside the tornado seen in early trailers, there will also be crazy lightning and blizzards, all of which will present new dangers and new options.
Just Cause 4 has popped up on Steam - which is a surprise, as it hasn't yet been announced.