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Fly like an eagle, then fall like Icarus

When Just Cause 3 came out at the end of last year, it delivered all the insane, bombastic action the series is known for and then some. New tools for Rico Rodriguez coupled with another island nation to obliterate meant I ended up sinking close to 40 hours into this game over winter break and not regretting a single second of it. So, when the Sky Fortress DLC expansion—the first of three coming to the game—had finally been added, I was thrilled to have an excuse to take control of the maestro of mayhem once again and blow up a little bit more of Medici. Just how little that bit would be came as something of a shock, though.

The Sky Fortress DLC starts off like some of Rico’s other missions over the course of the game, with him getting a call from his shady friend and government handler, Tom Sheldon. Countless Medicians have been slaughtered by robotic drones that belong to the eDEN Corporation—a tech start-up that fell out of favor with many world governments decades ago—and the drones are now mining the explosive mineral Bavarium from various parts of the island. Rico will have to track the drones to their airbase located off the coast, stop eDEN from killing any more civilians, and force them to cease their mining operation.

In order for Rico to defeat an enemy that defies gravity, he’ll have to do the same. So, Tom provides him with a new Bavarium-powered wingsuit. The suit is actually more akin to a jetpack, giving Rico upwards boost that recharges when he levels out for a brief time courtesy of the actual wing part of the suit, and also straps a rocket launcher and machine gun to Rico’s back, making him more fighter jet than wingsuiter really at that point.

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Just Cause has never been known for a great story. Like french fries serving as vessels for various sauces, the loose narrative around Just Cause games is just an excuse to blow up as much stuff as possible. The Sky Fortress DLC is no different, centered on demolishing drones and the titular airship that eDEN Corporation is based out of. As epic as that may sound, unfortunately, it all falls surprisingly flat, especially in the shadow of the main game.

All told, I beat the entirety of Sky Fortress, optional side missions included, in about 90 minutes. That means if you focused solely on the narrative content, you’d probably be looking at an experience that clocks in at an hour long, if you’re lucky. Three main missions, four outposts to liberate, four Bavarium wingsuit oriented challenges, and then roll the credits again. Avalanche Studios couldn’t even be bothered to give us full cutscenes. Instead, we get what amounts to a few pieces of concept art stills of the main characters with voiceover dubbed over it.

One small saving grace for Sky Fortress at least is that you can carry over your new wingsuit and a couple of new guns over to the main game if you haven’t beaten it yet. And if you’re just getting started in Just Cause 3, the DLC missions unlock about one-third of the way through the primary campaign, meaning you’ll be even better equipped to overthrow General Di Ravello and his army. Just like the lack of content devoted to your new toys, however, there’s an unfortunate catch that comes with all of this.

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For as fun as it is to fly almost limitlessly around a hugely destructible open-world with a rocket launcher strapped to your back, the Bavarium wingsuit also makes your old tools almost null and void. Why bother with a parachute when you can air brake and come to a soft landing? Why worry about how many rockets Rico can carry when you have an unlimited supply when flying? And why even bother with a grappling hook when you can literally soar from point A to point B both vertically and horizontally now?

The Bavarium wingsuit takes away any sort of challenge for the game. There’s even a barrel roll maneuver when flying, which breaks all missile locks on you. This means it’ll be near impossible for you to ever take damage as long as you keep moving. It is basically like turning on god mode and removes the little skill it once required to get around and destroy stuff in the game. Just Cause has never been a punishing game, but a little bit of challenge can go a long way to having a good time, and this new wingsuit snuffs that out pretty swiftly.

Just Cause 3’s Sky Fortress DLC sounds amazing when you look at what it entails. But from the second it begins, it comes off more as a hastily thrown together weapon pack than a fully fleshed-out expansion. It is held loosely together by minimal content, and mitigates what already exists in the main game. There’s nothing inherently broken about what Sky Fortress does, but it adds so little to the overall experience of Just Cause 3 that you’d be just as well off if you had never played it at all.

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Developer: Avalanche Studios • Publisher: Square Enix • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 03.15.16
5.0
Any excuse to return to the world of Just Cause 3 is welcome, but by the time you just start getting warmed up and comfortable with the new weapons, gear, and enemies, this new chapter is already over and you’re left asking where the rest of it is.
The Good The Bavarium wingsuit is the natural evolution for causing chaos in Just Cause.
The Bad New gear largely nullifies need for grappling hook, parachute, and conventional weapons. Largely removes all difficulty from the game.
The Ugly You can 100% the entire experience in less than two hours.
Just Cause 3: Sky Fortress is available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for Xbox One. Review code was provided by Square Enix for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 5.0 being average.
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