Unpretentious, unpolished and unhinged, Just Cause 4 is a mad old goat of a game, dancing on a windswept hillside to the tunes in its own head.

Like all the other Just Cause games, it delights in chaos, its eyes shining in the glare of explosions. It rampages across the meadows of its own fancy, turning itself inside out in a frenzy of disorder.

And yet, despite its sense of abandon, there’s something not quite right about this game. I’ve played about 30 hours so far, and I’m undecided if my state of mind is admiration, boredom or confusion. Just Cause 4 inspires all three, sometimes at the same time. It’s a fun game, occasionally, but it’s also a dull game. It’s tumultuous, but vapid. It’s funny, but it’s also annoying.

I play as macho action-man Rico Rodriguez, visiting the South American island of Solis, homeland of my father. The people are ruled by a bad man and his army of thugs. I must destroy the infrastructure of oppression.

I’m aided by a fantastical array of weapons and tools, but my greatest power is a wrist-tether. This allows me to zoom across the landscape, scale buildings and crash into enemies, a la Spider-Man. My tethers are also range weapons, including remote control jets, balloons and ties that pull objects together, usually with catastrophic consequences.

Just Cause 4
Avalanche / Square Enix

If you’ve played…

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