Game – Just Cause 3 Sky Fortress
Release Date – March 8th (pass owners), March 15th
Platform – Xbox One (reviewed), PC, PS4
Developer/Publisher – Avalanche, Square Enix
Price – $11.99, or $24.99 season pass
Rico Rodriguez and his escapades continue with addition of the first DLC pack, Sky Fortress. It is available immediately upon download and does not require any specific amount of progress within the main game.
Personally, I couldn’t stand Mario as far as gameplay was concerned. He ALWAYS got in the way, died too fast and cost me way too many mission deaths. The cut scenes were a different story entirely. He was always funny and made the cinematics one of the best parts of the game. Sky Fortress, interestingly enough, doesn’t use cinematics. Instead they kept the voice overs, but opted rather for a progressive collage of photos to tell the story similar to how a comic book is set up.
The new missions pop up with an alert from your buddy Sheldon. He tells you that he found something and needs your help, so naturally you go parachuting over. It’s an armored drone from the Eden Corporation that had crash landed after taking out one of Medici’s civilian communities. Apparently not going bankrupt over a decade ago as Sheldon believed, he enlists the help of Rico to take them out. It’s at this point that we are provided the new wingsuit compliments of our friend, Dimah. The addition of this Bavarium powered jet pack / wing suit not only adds a completely new dimension to the game, but also makes it a hell of a lot easier to get that “Longest time wingsuiting” award and beat your friends. Rico’s new toy also comes fully equipped with an automatic, shoulder mounted machine gun and homing missiles. In a game that’s all about the imagination when it comes to how you want to blow shit up, having a rocket powered, machine gun shooting, homing missile firing, jetpack wingsuit invokes a Stone Cold Steve Austin like “OH HELLLLL YEAAAHHHHH!!”
A short tutorial takes you through the ins and outs of the wingsuit, which ends with the intro of the first big mission. The button maps are easy and ergonomic to use. Quite simply, RB fires homing missiles, X shoots the machine gun, RT is the Bavarium boost while LT slows you down. Since the suit is powered by Bavarium, it’s extremely volatile and lasts several seconds before requiring a cool down. There’s also an evade feature you can access to avoid enemy missiles. A “missile incoming” message will pop up indicating you’re about to be turned into an exploding sack of meat. You can avoid every single strike easily by holding Y and moving the analog stick left or right. This, more than anything, changes the entire game of Just Cause 3 and we’ll cover it a little more in a bit. Oh yeah, ever get stuck in the middle of a large body of water and have to swim to shore? No more. You can take off right from treading water as well.
Once you complete the tutorial, Sheldon sends you up into the sky, and it’s here where you see how the DLC got its name. You come face to face with a giant airship that looks pretty much exactly like the Avengers’ helicarrier. It’s ironic too, considering your new wingsuit transforms Rico into Sam Wilson, A.K.A. Falcon from Captain America. This thing is freakin’ huge. In fact, it’s so big that it contains two provinces within itself. Each one needs to be eliminated, and here’s the best part. This isn’t even the mission. It’s only what you have to liberate in order to be able to play the mission.
This airship comes equipped with anti-air guns, drone depots, mechanized drones, bavarium powered missiles and more that all need to be destroyed. There is a variety of options at your disposal here as far as how to do so, but I suggest taking out the four drone depots first. They are highly visible and located on each of the ship’s four corners. Taking them out makes it easier to not only fly through the air, but to also land on the airship and take out the ground items without being turned to swiss cheese from above. You’ll fight in the air, on the surface of the heli-carrier….umm..airship, and below decks accessible only by flying up from underneath the ship itself. When you finally take them all out, which for us took just under an hour, you’ll be able to play the first mission. There are several missions available in Sky Fortress which will take a couple hours total to play. There will also be a number of challenges unlocked, which you can choose to complete for some Wingsuit upgrades. Each challenge lets you unlock;
- increased wingsuit boost
- fire more missiles
- reduce your wingsuit cooldown
- rebel drop containing a friendly drone that will fight with you from above.
Of course, since it is Just Cause 3 after all, the missions end with the utter destruction of the Eden Corporation. Rico continues his attitude of “I love it when a plan comes together” like Hannibal from A-team and goes on his way. And THIS is where the real fun comes in. All of the Sky Fortress items can be carrried into the rest of the game. This means any province you have yet to liberate is about to become rubble like Barney. You should have enough grasp of the controls at this point to essentially be indestructible. Standard provinces (ones without a police station) can all easily be defeated by simply flying around and reigning fire from the wingsuit. Provinces with anti-air cannons are no longer an issue. If air support gets dispatched, you can either avoid missiles and fight, or fly away and return when your heat level disappears. Rinse and repeat.
Overall, I spent about four hours with the pack, two and a half of which were mission related. Since Sky Fortress contains items that are usable in the entire game as well, it functions more as an expansion than an individual group of missions. Either way, Sky Fortress is the most fun you’ll have in gaming so far this year. Even the aggressive sampling of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (yeah, we saw what you did there Avalanche) blends perfectly with Just Cause. Plus, there has never a weapon that matched a character’s personality more than Rico and this wingsuit. Sky Fortress is the final piece needed for Just Cause 3 that makes its air maneuverability completely flawless.
At a price of $11.99, Sky Fortress is worth the price for the wingsuit alone because of how it completely changes the rest of the game. The missions are just gravy. It is available now for season pass holders, and to everyone else on March 15th on all platforms. Either individually, or as part of the season pass ($24.99), Sky Fortress is the one DLC you need to buy this year.
- Audio: You know what you’re getting. Explosion, explosion, explosion etc. In fact, there couldn’t be more testosterone in Just Cause 3 if Chuck Norris himself was a guest character.
- Graphics: Unbelievable. Not simply the fact of blowing things up, but how they react physically to the rest of the environment. Last week’s patch absolutely helped as loading times have decreased, and the framerate issues have disappeared. Being able to tether a flying drone and a ground drone into an airship antenna, only to have it fall on top of a Bavarium battery and explode without a single hitch – now that’s what I’m talking about
- Gameplay: Stellar. Not often does a DLC completely change how you play a game, but that’s exactly what happened with Sky Fortress. All new weapons, missions and general approach to gameplay are all improvements offered by the pack