Another Video Game Not to Buy Right Away: ‘Just Cause 3′

Good news, fans of wonton destruction: Just Cause 3 is out, and by most accounts it’s filled with explosive fun. You can shoot rockets from airplanes, unload heavy weapons on anyone and everyone, and use an unlimited stock of C4 to blow up whatever your inner child wants to see blown up. The world is a canvas, and your stockpile of weapons is your paintbrush.

The main problem with the game is one that has plagued many titles over the past several years: bugs.

Many reviewers and early adopters have reported that their experience with Just Cause 3 has been severely hampered by game crashes, frame rate drops, excessive load times, and wonky enemy AI.

IGN’s Dan Stapleton reviewed the game on PC and had a blast. When he switched to Xbox One to see how it ran, he found that the loading times could take over seven times longer. When loading times are that significant, they can make or break a game.

Worse, Videogamer found that the Xbox One version of the game started acting funny during extended play sessions, culminating in sketchy enemy AI, wonky game physics, major frame rate drops, and up to 15 minute load times.

Judging by the review scores, it’s obvious that not everyone encountered issues of this magnitude. But no matter how many players experience those issues, it could be a game-breaking experience if it happens to you.

And if you think the PC version of the game has come off scot-free, think again. The reviewer for Ars Technica encountered loads of problems with the PC version of the game. Issues include frame rate dips as well as this list of issues:

  • Regular freezing for between 1–2 minutes when pausing, un-pausing, completing a mission, or especially when exiting the game
  • Frequent instances of audio desyncing from the video
  • Controls that stop working after switching out of the game and back
  • The entire ocean disappearing — twice
  • Random disconnects from Square Enix’s servers

Wired couldn’t even review the game by the time the embargo lifted because of technical issues, and user reviews on Steam report the same problems some of the reviewers have mention.

Not everyone who’s played Just Cause 3 has encountered these kinds of bugs and glitches. But enough have to give pause to anyone thinking of buying it. There are a lot of big, excellent bug-free games out now, including Halo 5: Guardians, Star Wars Battlefront, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate.

If you’re worried about bugs ruining your gaming experience, it would be smart to play something else before trying Just Cause 3. By then, hopefully, patches and updates will have squashed the major bugs, leaving you with a smooth gaming experience.

Remember, no game is totally bug-free. And open-world games like Just Cause 3 tend to launch with the most bugs because they let you do pretty much whatever you want in the game. That kind of freedom is great for players, but it’s hell for programers who have to account for all possibilities.

So don’t hate a game like Just Cause 3 for its bugs. But don’t feel like you need to buy it right away, either.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed
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