‘Just Cause 4’ lets you use anything, even the weather, as a weapon

Just Cause 4 Key Art

The best part of the Just Cause 4 E3 2018 demo? When the Avalanche developers playing the game used a tornado to kill an airport.

The latest addition to the open-world action-adventure series makes a lot of changes and improvements to Just Cause‘s many opportunities to use in-game physics to pull down buildings, destroy vehicles, and blow stuff up. Extreme weather is the headliner, and for good reason. Avalanche has amped up the dynamic weather in Just Cause 4‘s fictional South American nation of Solis to be a bigger part of the gameplay moment-to-moment — including huge, incredibly powerful tornadoes.

In the hands-off demo shown to journalists at E3, Avalanche showed us what players can expect when the wind picks up and the sky grows dark.

Storm chaser

As in Just Cause 3, Rico is leading a revolution in the sequel, this time against the mercenary group Black Hand. After a few demonstrations of new systems at play in Just Cause 4 (more on that in a bit), Avalanche skipped straight to a story mission in Just Cause 4 in which you don’t just have to avoid a tornado but use it to do your dirty work.

Extreme weather is part of the open world; tornadoes, sandstorms, blizzards and thunderstorms can happen any time.

The mission finds protagonist Rico attempting to take out an enemy airport, but it’s too big for one man to bring down. Luckily, the area where the airport is located is known for tornado activity, and that provides a solution that Rico can exploit for his own ends.The Black Hand didn’t construct an airport in tornado alley without thinking it through, though.

The airport bristles with “wind cannons,” big devices designed to literally hold tornadoes at bay. Rico’s mission is to take them out and let nature run its course.

Rico starts by jumping in an armored storm chaser truck, one of the few vehicles heavy enough to resist being pulled into a cyclone. Racing down the street, he soon comes upon the tornado, a massive cyclone ripping apart everything in its path. The storm interacts with the world on a physical level, picking up and tossing objects according to their weight. Just Cause titles have long been physics playgrounds, and extreme weather takes it to a new level.

After catching up to the tornado, Rico hops out, using his parachute and wingsuit to zip past, avoiding the high winds, toward the airport. Landing in the compound and fighting off some troops, he fires some rockets at wind cannons to destroy the airports defenses and allow the huge tornado to sweep through.

Chao ensues. The tornado picks up enemies, vehicles, stationary guns, and even a literal jet liner or two. Occasionally, huge objects spun around the cyclone would drop out and go flying, or tumble back to the ground and explode in a huge shower of flame and smoke.

Avalanche explained that it won’t just be story missions where tornadoes show up. Extreme weather is part of the open world and events like tornadoes, sandstorms, blizzards and thunderstorms can happen any time. When they do, it’ll be up to players to manage them, avoid them, or use them to their advantage.

Little Rocket Man

Weather isn’t the only set of new physics toys to mess with. Rico’s grappling hook, the tool that defines Just Cause gameplay, is getting an overhaul. You’ll have more options to use the grappling hook to take advantage of Just Cause 4‘s physics systems and hilariously wreck stuff.

Solis is massive—it spans some 1,024 square miles and several different biomes

The grapple will have three abilities in Just Cause 4. The tether, returning from Just Cause 3, lets you tie objects together to make them smash into each other. Boosters, which are basically just little rocket engines, also return from the last game. The new option is the airlifter, a balloon you can attach to send objects and people flying into the sky.

Using the abilities in combination makes it possible to create some ridiculous situations. Avalanche attached airlifters to a big fuel tank, then tossed some boosters on, creating a giant makeshift missile. Airlifters can float objects, and you can use the grapple to gain some control over where they end up. Tethering, boosting, and airlifting will give players a ton of new options to make use of physics to blow things up in Just Cause 4.

Avalanche is touting a huge open world — Solis spans some 1,024 square miles and several different biomes — so there should be a whole lot of potential for destroying stuff in creative ways. If nothing else, Just Cause 4 showed how much fun messing with in-game physics can be as you fly around creating mayhem wherever you go.

Look for Just Cause 4 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on December 4, 2018.

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