Just Cause vs GTA Series Comparison: Which is Right For You?

just cause vs gta series

The Main Differences Between Just Cause and GTA

  • Just Cause uses maps that have little to no realism, whereas GTA relies on immersive maps that are based on real locations.
  • Just Cause relies less on the story, whereas GTA is more story-driven despite being an open world.
  • Just Cause focuses on more complex gameplay, whereas GTA relies on simple and easy-to-learn controls.
  • Just Cause doesn’t focus on realism and instead focuses on letting players wreak havoc in crazy ways, whereas GTA relies on realism despite its insane havoc.
  • Just Cause is a light-hearted, cheesy action game, whereas GTA is a cynical satire of modern society.

Just Cause Summary

Just Cause is an action-adventure video game series that was developed by Avalanche Studios and published by Eidos Interactive until 2010 and Square Enix currently. Currently, there are four installments of Just Cause. The first installment of Just Cause was released in 2006 and the last installment Just Cause 4 was released in 2018.

The main gameplay of each game follows Rico Rodriguez, a secret agent who is from a fictional country called Medici. Players are able to walk, swim and jump in the games, as well as control vehicles and perform stunts. Rico also has a hook and a parachute that players can use to get around. A wingsuit was introduced in Just Cause 3 that allows players to travel via wing flight.

Each installment uses a map of a fictional island that is situated in the real world. Despite being part of the real world these maps often throw realism out the window and focus on crazy havoc.

Just Cause was released in 2006 as a third-person shooter and driving game, rather similar to Grand Theft Auto. The storyline follows Rico as he is dropped onto a Caribbean Tropical Island called San Esperito. His goal is to overthrow the island’s Military dictatorship.

As the first game in the series, Just Cause started the trend of allowing players to explore and wreak havoc while only playing the storyline when they wish to. Despite this the game comes with 21 story-based missions and over 300 side missions, allowing for a large amount of gameplay and content. The map size is also very large, allowing for a lot of exploration and plenty of space to wreak havoc.

Just Cause 2 is the sequel to Just Cause released in 2010. Similar to the original storyline Rico Rodriguez finds himself on the island of Panuu to overthrow the dictator.

Just Cause 2 introduces the much-loved grappling hook that would be a feature in the following games. In addition to the controls from the first game, now players can tether objects together and slingshot themselves into the air.

In addition to adding the grappling hook, developers also overhauled the mission system, artificial intelligence, and other core gameplay mechanics. This allowed the game to really find its audience and stride. The overhauled game mechanics and systems would follow the game into its two sequels.

Just Cause 3 is the third installment in the Just Cause franchise and was released in 2015. It is set six years after Just Cause 2 and follows Rico as he returns to his own island Medici. Similar to its previous installments Medici finds itself under the control of a dictator.

While the game didn’t have any major overhauls, the ability to explore caverns and scale buildings was more effective and realistic.

Additionally, Just Cause 3 introduces the wingsuit into the game, which is much loved by fans. Just Cause 3 also emphasized creativity and destruction while fully allowing the storyline to exist in the background.

just cause game series

Just Cause 4 is the fourth and so far final installment to the Just Cause series. This installment differs slightly from its predecessors in terms of storyline. Rico now finds himself on the South American island of Solis, tasked with taking down the world’s largest private military.

He must do this while battling extreme weather effects present on the island. The new weather engine now allows for blizzards, sandstorms, tornadoes, and other extreme storms to take place. The grappling hook also received an upgrade and can now attach to hot air balloons and rocket boosters.

Overall the game went even further into encouraging havoc and misadventure while letting the storyline take place. The gameplay, open-world, controls, and graphics were praised and well-loved by fans but the storyline itself fell flat.

GTA Summary

GTA is an action-adventure game first released in 1997 by David Jones, Mike Daily, and Rockstar Games. The gameplay is focused on an open world where players complete missions and enjoy cinematic cutscenes to advance the story plot and available play space. The main gameplay is focused on driving around, shooting people, and generally committing unfavorable crimes during missions.

The cities featured in GTA are fictional but based on various large cities in the United States from the time periods 1960 to 2010. For example, Vice city is set in 1986 Miami and San Andreas and Liberty City which makes a few appearances in the game is based on New York City.

grand theft auto series

The game has spawned 7 main titles, four expansion packs, and four handheld games. Overall GTA is one of the highest-selling games, behind Mario, Pokemon, and Tetris.

GTA 1&2 are the first two games released for GTA in 1997 and 1999 respectively. These games spawned the first idea of GTA but it wouldn’t be until GTA III is released that the game really comes into its own.

The main difference between these two titles and later titles is that these are top-down 2D while the others introduce a 3D environment.

The main gameplay was born with the first game. An open-world environment where the players control the criminal. The series faced backlash for its adult content and themes from the very beginning.

Gta III is the third and main installment of the GTA series, it was released in 2001 originally. The game features Liberty City for the first time and features Claude, a silent protagonist on a mission for revenge and a world full of crime, drugs, gangs, and corruption.

The 3D environment now lets you play in the third person and allows you to roam the open world of Liberty City. The game lets you navigate the map on foot and by vehicles either stolen or acquired in other ways.

GTA: Vice City is the fourth installment of the GTA series and was released in 2002 roughly a year after its predecessor. The game is set in fictional Vice City which is modeled after Miami.

The game follows a mobster Tommy Vercetti after he is released from serving a 15-year prison sentence for murder and sent to Vice City on a drug run. This is the first game to feature a speaking character and this allowed the creators to dive even deeper into the story of Tommy and present a strong storyline to the game.

GTA: San Andreas is the fifth installment of GTA and was released in 2004. This installment is set in the fictional state of San Andreas that is molded after California and Nevada.

The overall game features a variety of cities, towns, and other landmarks. It also draws influence from gang-related events and the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 90s. The story follows CJ, a gangster who returns to his hometown after his mothers’ death. He is quickly drawn into his old gang and life of crime.

This installment introduces the ability to swim, as well as, jump and the ability to change clothes, get tattoos and haircuts to personalize the main character.

GTA IV is the sixth main installment into the GTA series and was released in 2008. This installment features heavy graphical upgrades to the environment and a new smoother feel to the game.

The game is set in Liberty City and follows Niko Bellic as he comes to the United State for the first time from eastern Europe and tries to create a better life for himself, despite the loan sharks and mob bosses. Similar to the previous release the story of Niko takes center stage and the missions are woven into the story.

Additionally, the mission system is reworked to give the players choices and decisions to make that affect gameplay.

GTA V is the most recent release in the GTA series and has been out since 2013. The game takes players back to San Andreas this time based mostly on Southern California.

The game introduces three protagonists that can be switched between. Their stories quickly become interwoven as you play through the storyline.

The first protagonist is a retired bank robber Michael De Stana, Franklin Clinton a gangster is the second protagonist, and lastly, we have Trevor Phillips who is a drug dealer and arms smuggler.

Each character has their own backstory and motivation but comes together to commit heights and work themselves towards a better life. GTA V also features an online component that continues to be updated and enjoyed by many fans.

Just Cause vs GTA

So what exactly is the difference between these two beloved games. Both feature gunplay, weapons, vehicles, and other means of traveling the map, and both are open worlds. Despite these similarities, these two games have a lot of differences.

The first is their take on the open world and gameplay. GTA focuses heavily on realism and even sends teams out to potential location sites to scout and do research before creating that location in-game.

Additionally GTA’s gameplay also focuses on realism and even current events. Just cause is the complete opposite of this. Instead of basing maps on realism, they strive to create large, interactive maps that reward players for creativity and havoc. In many ways Just Cause lets players do their worst when it comes to creating havoc and large explosions.

Just Cause vs GTA

GTA relies heavily on their storyline to get players from point A to point B. They even make locations and expand the map as players complete story-driven missions and plot points.

Players have a lot of freedom to roam and get up to mischief but at the end of the day, the story is the main point behind the game. This is a good thing as GTA has some of the most interesting video game stories out there.

I still remember Niko getting off the boat for the first time. Just Cause doesn’t necessarily rely on storylines. They have a plot and there is a story but it’s just not the strong point of the game. Instead, the game focuses on gameplay and all you can do within the game.

Everything from weather, explosions, gunplay, vehicle combat is encouraged and enjoyed. If you want something that focuses on what you can do, not what you should do then this the game for you.

Another key difference between these two games is the tone and how they present themselves. For all intents and purposes, GTA is a satire of the modern world, pop culture, and media. GTA thrives on this model and presents a very cynical tone to its audience.

Just Cause on the other hand is a lot more cheesy, 80s pop action movie vibe going on. It’s light-hearted and fun for the most part and not at all logical.

The last key difference between these two games is how mobility is presented. Parkour and scaling buildings are pretty much out of the question in GTA and most movement is left to running, crouching, swimming, and of course vehicle play. Combat is mostly limited to guns, grenades, and bigger more powerful guns.

While Just Cause might not have the parkour of say Assassins Creed they do introduce items that become essential to mobility and gameplay. The grappling hook is widely loved and allows you to do various stunts and moves using it. Additionally, players can travel the map using a wingsuit or parachute.


Question: What Consoles are Just Cause 4 and GTA V available for?

Answer: Just Cause 4 is available for PC, PS4, and Xbox One
GTA V is available for PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS5, Xbox Series X/S

Question: How similar are Just Cause and GTA?

Answer: Honestly, they aren’t that similar at all. If you like GTA then you will find the lack of storyline rather boring and the pointless mayhem repetitive. However, if you enjoy those aspects of Just Cause and you will find the mechanics of GTA lackluster and the storyline drawn out.

Question: Will there be new installments in the two series?

Answer: Currently very little is known about the sequels for either of these games or if there will even be sequels. It seems both studios are taking their time with the new gaming landscape and its changes. GTA Online is reliably being updated and has new content regularly so Rockstar is working with something within the franchise even if it isn’t a new installment.

Final Thoughts

Overall each game has its own unique aspects and flaws. I personally have played more GTA than I have Just Cause but I find each game fun in its own way. GTA presents a lot of unique storylines and interesting takes on our current world.

For someone that wants a storyline dipped in satirical realism and sprinkled with cynicism then GTA is perfect for you. If you also enjoy multiplayer aspects of your favorite games then I would definitely lean towards GTA.

If you want to wreak havoc, blow things up, and generally just have some light-hearted action fun then I would play Just Cause. At the end of the day, it’s more or less why not both.

If you must choose between the two GTA will provide a rich storyline and fun gameplay mechanics, as well as, some hilarious moments that you’ll be laughing about for days.

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