Up, Up And Away In Just Cause 3’s Sky Fortress DLC

When you’ve got an all singing, all dancing action hero like Rico Rodriguez heading up your game, the question isn’t so much what he can do, but what he can’t do. Just Cause 3 already took some of the fan favourite features and amped them up, so that you’re gliding around the beautiful Mediterranean island of Medici, unleashing all sorts of hell on the military regime in charge, but while he has his wingsuit, Rico can’t exactly fly.

One of my minor complaints of the time I spent with Just Cause 3 was that I never really felt like I should be putting Rico into a vehicle in order to get around. Rico needs to be free, in my mind, to feel the wind in his hair and the sun on his back… as he grapples an exploding barrel into a group of soldiers. There was just enough friction in having to fight gravity, and the slightly torturous way with which you drag yourself up cliff sides, just to get another 30 seconds of gleeful, graceful descent in the wingsuit.

The first DLC pack fixes that minor gripe for me with ease. Dubbed Sky Fortress, and the first of the three part Air, Land & Sea season pass, it adds, well, a sky fortress to the game, but it also gives Rico the tools to get there under his own power. The latest in a string of crazy inventions, he now has access to a Bavarium Wingsuit, at all times.

It is, quite simply, a joy to fly around with. The Bavarium power source gives you a good length boost before it needs to recharge, but whether you use it all in one go or eke it out and restrict yourself to smaller bursts, it provides you with the pure thrust to hurtle around in the air above Medici.

There is a learning curve, however, especially in regard to turning and flying with precision. To turn quickly, you need to learn to massage the air brake – Rico pulls right back to a near upright position to slow himself down and then boost through a tighter curve, but as I struggled to learn, I often found myself switching to the parachute, turning and then holding the button to switch back.

Evading incoming missiles and fire is relatively simple, with a warning popping up, asking you to pull a quick barrel roll to throw the missiles off. Even if you do get hit, you can arrest your free fall and switch back to powered flight in an instant, heading off in whichever direction the camera is facing – in other words, don’t look to the ground or into any towering buildings and walls.

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There’s a similar learning curve with the weapons. The chest-mounted missile launchers will lock onto targets in front of you, but the machine gun on his back is only good for firing straight ahead. Though the immediate thought is that Rico’s now like Iron Man, he’s much more like a human sized fighter jet in that regard. He’s buffeted by the wind, which throws your aim off, and his high speed makes aiming at things a tricky game of chicken.

As with anything in Just Cause 3, you’ll be able to upgrade the wingsuit in a number of ways through new challenges in the world, which should be good for an hour or so of play. However, while the new wingsuit is more than usable through the main game, Sky Fortress has a new antagonist and a new story arc to follow, as the Eden Corporation send their flying carrier and its fleets of drones to strip Medici of its highly valuable resources. Your rewards as you go will include a Bavarium machine gun and a drone that autonomously goes off and makes mischief nearby.

That carrier is huge, as well, with two large areas to liberate, which include both the sparse and clean upper decks and the hub of activity that is underneath, as well as the myriad of floating platforms around it. It’s not particularly easy to get anything meaningful done without the experience and upgrades that a few hours play will get you.

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All told, it’s quite a significant addition in both content and to the way the game plays, and Avalanche are aiming for similarly sized changes with Mech Land Assault and Sea Heist. Though Sea Heist is still very much under wraps and still in early prototyping, Mech Land Assault is further along, with a four legged mech – each leg acts as suspension for a discrete wheel underneath – that should be roughly as powerful as a tank. The twist, however, is that it will have a gravity gun.

With Sky Fortress heading to a March release, the Mech Land Assault is aiming for two months after that, and Sea Heist a further two months later. It’s really that immediate future of soaring through the skies without even the slightest hint of needing to touch the ground which has me most interested, though.

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1 Comment

  1. I hope they’ll patch a coop mode in, i doubt i’ll get it for solo play only…

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