This isn’t the good news we wanted to write about Just Cause 3, but it’s what we feel compelled to share: Just Cause 3’s loading times are awful, and the game’s frame rate is no better.
Street dates don’t seem to mean much to some retailers (we’ve got an interesting insight article into that coming up) and as such we’ve been able to – legally, mind – procure a copy of Avalanche Studios’ Just Cause 3 for PS4 before the game’s official release on December 1st.
After around 10 hours of play we can safely say that the loading screens, while pretty, are the annoyance we all thought died with the last-gen consoles. It’s a shame, then, that Just Cause 3 seems stuck in the past in that regard. Each time you die (and you will – lots) you’re presented with a loading screen. The time between death and reanimation is erratic at best. In our ten or so hours with the game we’ve seen the loading screen hover in front of us for around 30 seconds, which isn’t too bad, but we’ve also had to stare in disbelief for the better half of two minutes. And you thought Bloodborne’s loading screens were a drag…
And yes, before you head to the comments to say: “well duh, you need the day one patch”, we’ve tested it with and without the patch; there’s no discernible difference. For a game that is made to appeal to the ADHD crowd who thrive off bright colours and explosions, it’s odd that Avalanche wasn’t able to better optimise the game’s loading times as half the game’s player base will probably get distracted by some shiny object in their peripheral vision before Rico springs back to life.
It’s not just the load times that induce buyers remorse with this entry. The game is supposed to run at 30fps, but it rarely manages to maintain a steady refresh rate. Dips come in whenever any explosion is introduced to the proceedings and it gets even worse in the game’s outposts where you’ll often be causing the most carnage. It isn’t just the occasional couple of frames being dropped – it’s a constant battle for the game to run smoothly at all. Even driving around in one of the many vehicles causes stutter which affects car handling, but perhaps the most annoying thing is that even running around and rotating the game’s camera causes the game to go “whoa, mate, calm down – you’re doing too much.”
Again, this is all based of pre-patch and post-patch gameplay. Whether Avalanche can sort things out with another big update is something we’ll have to wait and see about.
Unfortunately we’ve not been able to lay hands on the Xbox One version of Just Cause 3, but it’s likely the same issues are prevalent on Microsoft’s console, too.
We’ll have more Just Cause 3 coverage over the weekend that includes plenty of gameplay footage, screenshots, and our full review this Saturday evening.
[Update: Review is here. It’s good, too, despite the annoyances.]
[Another update: Video of the long load times here.]