This is an upgrade system by any other name, inspired by some of the wilder mods brought to life by the community for Just Cause 2. It's a nice nod, and explains some of the more ridiculous entries in the system - I'm a big fan personally of the jet propelled explosives, which activates a small jet engine for a few seconds before an explosion. You haven't seen anything until you've seen a dumpster laden with explosives fly down the road into an enemy roadblock.
This power fantasy, the core of the game, is fantastic. If this is all you want then you're going to have a great time.
The thing is, that's all there is.
The story is weak. Rodriguez has returned to Medici, his homeland, and there's yet another goddamn dictator to take care of.
I wonder sometimes if Rico is tired of taking out dictators, but this is quickly brushed away because he kills several hundred people in the first few minutes with nothing more than a few wisecracks. He doesn't seem tired. He seems enthusiastic.
He's the only one that's enthusiastic. The story is dull, uninspired. Every time I got dragged towards the yellow bull on the map that indicates my next mission, I'd grimace. This isn't my playground. I don't feel so powerful.
The main purpose of the missions seems to be to take you to new locations. That's a fine goal: the island is a stunner. You have to suspend your disbelief as you travel from rolling Mediterranean fields to a desert to snowy peaks in a few minutes of flight, but considering you're playing as a combat-messiah, you can probably suspend plenty of disbelief at this point.
Eventually I started to run out of things that needed exploding, and that's when I started to notice a few of the problems - many of the towns feel the same, or demand you to occasionally punctuate the explosions with pushing some buttons in a short amount of time.
Your reward for pushing all of the buttons in the requisite time is to get to blow up some more things, but occasionally the controls crap out entirely and send you careening off in a different direction, which isn't such an issue when you're acting as an agent of pure chaos, but when you're trying to land on 8 different rooftops in 25 seconds it becomes annoying quickly. I also keep mixing up the grapple hook and the grenade button, but I can't really blame the game for my clumsy fingers, gripping the triggers like atrophied pork scratchings.
Just Cause 3, then, is a game that's at its best when it doesn't ask you to think too hard about it. The deeper you get, the more the flaws become apparent. Thing is, it's often charming enough to get away with it. The sheer potential for carnage is seductive, and while both this and the game's many events eventually dry up, I happily spent 20 hours on the merry go round ride before I was done.
Is 20 hours of sheer carnage worth the price of admission? It's not going to be anyone's game of the year and it'll quickly be forgotten as many of its better ideas are aped more successfully by next year's crop of games, but for now it's probably the most fun open world in 2015, even if it's about as deep as a paddling pool.