I’ll Finish Just Cause 4 Once The Balloon Grapple Stops Being Hilarious

I’ll Finish Just Cause 4 Once The Balloon Grapple Stops Being Hilarious

How am I supposed to focus on freeing Just Cause 4‘s fictional South American country of Solis from the grip of the Black Hand mercenary syndicate when the aftermath of every skirmish looks like a birthday party gone horribly wrong?

Just Cause 4 is an action adventure game with a story and everything, but the story isn’t the reason most people play. It’s about shooting, exploding, skydiving, wingsuiting and, new to the fourth instalment of the game, ballooning.

It’s valiant of the developers to give series hero Rico Rodriguez a reason to do the things he does, like discovering the secrets of his past or helping the local resistance overthrow their oppressors. As if we needed a reason, with such amazing toys to play with and pleasant scenery to explode.

ImageThis screenshot taken within seconds of the opening cinematic ending.

The series’ story missions are always better when they are used to introduce new toys for Rico to play with. For example, in one of the earliest missions in the game, freedom fighter Sargento shows Rico some strange, inflatable ordinance he stumbled across. Rico, being an expert engineer, fits the new weapon to his wrist grapple within seconds, and boom.


Much excitement has been drummed up about the weather effects in Just Cause 4, and I am sure the blizzards, sandstorms and tornadoes will be exciting when I get to them. But from the moment my new best friend Sargento granted me the power of balloons, I’ve been perfectly content causing as much floating chaos as I can.

The weapon changes the way you see normal scenery in the game. Take this busy highway here.


Normally this highway would just be something to cross to get to that enemy base, or maybe a convenient place to jack a vehicle. Armed with what the game calls the Air Lifter, it’s suddenly a festival ground with an endless supply of items to suspend gracefully in midair.


Each new object encountered becomes a new game of “I wonder how many balloons it will take to float that?” This shipping container took a bunch of balloons to get off the ground.


Mind you the Air Lifter can be configured with three different balloon sizes—small, medium and large—so if you need more lift, the option is there. It’s great for creating impromptu airships.


What about combat, you ask? The Air Lifter is not just a toy, but a weapon as well. In the right hands, it can be the ultimate non-violent solution to armed conflict.


This enemy soldier is still alive, because Rico values human life. Or it’s just funnier when they struggle and curse.


Plus, it’s much easier to kill them when they are suspended in mid-air along with an assortment of vehicles.

To be honest, I am having so much fun with this silly toy, I might never get around to a full review of Just Cause 4. That would involve pausing my balloon party planning to partake in missions. I’ve done a few, and several have already involved escorting folks while they’re being shot at. That’s no fun.

It would also mean I’d have to stop fucking around and start paying attention to serious things. Things like the bugged wildlife, with flocks of birds suspended in straight lines across the sky. Or the occasionally muddy graphics on my Xbox One copy, ruing the game’s otherwise lively and colourful palette.

ImageWhat is going on with the water back there?

No, I’d rather just revel in the chaos. It’s the series’ primary draw, after all. I’m going to just sit back, relax and enjoy hilarious Highlight Reel clips for months to come. Sorry to leave you all hanging.

ImageNot sorry.


  • Wonder if they got the idea from MGS V?

    Looks great fun, love the silliness of the Just Cause games.

  • There is no C4 in Just Cause 4. That old JC3 routine of sneaking into a base, laying charges, then going somewhere else and blowing up everything – it’s not here. You can lay a lot of things with the grappling hook – including the aforementioned balloons, and maybe if I later get a mod to reduce the timing on my jet thingies it will be almost the same thing… but the fact you do not need to clear out bases by blowing up everything red anyway (instead you have to complete lever pulling stuff and timed hoard mode stuff) implies the Just Cause 3 gameplay loop itself has been ripped out.

    No review or comment has mentioned this. Did no reviewers actually play JC3? It would be like taking Hadoukens out of Streetfighter.

    In other JC4 news – the Xbox One X version looks…. gee digital foundry will take a while with it. Resolution looks like it varies from 700p to 1440p tops, with no anti-aliasing. The HDR is all over the place too. This probably explains the huge delay in the console reviews – something has gone very wrong.

    • Are you saying that they didn’t learn from JC3 with the buggy console release? I didn’t play JC3 until after the Pro patch/Boost mode was enabled on PS4 Pro and it ran great for the most part, so I don’t have hands on experience with the launch jankiness, but I’d imagine it would really hamper the game play.

      What I’ve seen of JC4 looks awesome and loads of fun, but right now my must play games list is too friggin’ big so it’ll have to wait.

    • Wow, JC4 runs just as bad as JC3 on consoles? It’s like they learned nothing from that experience. JC3 was effectively unplayable on consoles, especially the Xbox One.

  • I got JC3 on PS4 at launch and it ran just fine except for the minutes long reload when you died. A patch a month later fixed it a little but the PS4 Boost mode improved things overall.
    It was the JC3 PC launch which was truly terrible – so this time around they seem to have reversed things.

    By the looks of it Square didn’t send out console review copies at all… The framerate is fine on the OneX, but the resolution seems to go way down – the bonnet view while driving makes the road look like a 3DS game – no anti-aliasing. Rico’s hair looks like an LED lit shiny toupee – I can’t wait for Digital Foundry’s explanation of what the hell is going on.

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