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The World's Worst Open World Racing Mission Ian's avatar
Seriously, this is the worst!
In accordance with my gaming OCD regarding completing all previous games in a series, I have recently been playing through Just Cause in preparation for it's sequel. Josh has often described the original Just Cause as the "best worst game" he's ever played, and so far it's certainly living up to this peculiar description. One thing it does early on is very clearly lay out what you would need to do to 100% the game in the form of a million map symbols encompassing exactly 3 different activities: Racing, package collection and taking over a place. I've been struggling with the idea of trying to 100% it ever since, as most of these activities are boring the first time you do them, let alone the 100th. One thing I did noticed though was that there were only 9 racing missions, and an achievement associated with beating each one. This seemed fully doable.

The missions themselves are check-point races, which is pretty standard far for open world games. I aced the first two races first attempt, so felt pretty positive about being able to get all this done with minimum fuss. Enter mission 7, the third race mission you'll come to, naturally. I cannot do this goddamn mission, it hates me and by association, you the reader. As there is an achievement associated with completing it we can see a reasonably accurate of picture of how many people have beaten it using Giant Bomb's achievement database. A mere 10% of users have managed to beat this race, which considering it is started next to a safe house you have to unlock to beat the game (which 30.3% of people have), it's probably not just me who has had trouble with it.

After about 10 attempts, I started to write down what caused me to fail each time. At the beginning of each attempt I load my save in the safe house nearby, run down the hill or get on the little buggy to across the road to a petrol station where the race starter guy is standing. There is a car next to the race starter guy which I used in all but one attempt. To actually start the race you have to talk to the guy, then line up in the road for 5 seconds while a countdown runs down.

A few points about racing missions in Just Cause:
  • The cars handle terribly.
  • Slightly clipping any car regardless of whose fault it was will cause you to get 1 star of police after you.
  • The Police have an omni-present magic helicopter. It shooting bullets at you will affect your handling, and cause other cars erratically as they are clipped with bullets.
  • Most collisions with other cars, trees or rocks cause you to instantly stop and lose all forward momentum.
  • If a collision doesn't stop you dead, it will instead flip you violently and physics ignoringly into the air and you'll land on your roof.
  • Exiting your car instantly fails the mission.
  • For most of the race you are racing between a cliff wall and a cliff, on a two-lane road filled with traffic. You will often have to veer onto the verge or other lane to have a hope at getting to the next check point in time.
Part of the fun was finding all the crazy weird ways in which the game would come up with that would make me fail. Here is my log of 25 attempts, there were a good 10 or so attempts before this started:

#01 My car flipped up into the air for no reason. "You have abandoned your car! You lose!" it says.
#02 A police man on a motorcycle ploughed deliberately into me. This causes helicopter to instantly spawn and shooting bullets at me.
#03 The race ended for no reason about 2 minutes in. I just suddenly noticed there was no checkpoint or timer.
#04 An upturned van completely blocked the road for no reason.
#05 The constantly present helicopter followed me shooting me, my car wore out after a few minutes.
#06 Other cars starts violently veer in front of my path for no apparent reason, which made me crash and not hit a check point.
#07 The car flipped onto roof while driving on completely flat part of the road.
#08 Through no apparent fault of my own, I picked up a 2 star police wanted ratio, and a police vehicle rammed me from the front.
#09 The police ambushed me before I'd even started the mission, and dogged me throughout the first minute eventually ramming me intro a tree.
#10 Police rammed me off a cliff on a turn.
#11 I slightly clipped a bus on my way down to start the race. Police were shooting at me while I was waiting for race to start. Decide to pack it in.
#12 Police where everywhere by the time I got down the hill, the starter guy wouldn't let me start the race.
#13 Same again. I think it's getting worse.
#14 Actually managed to trigger the race this time. While deftly avoiding gaining any wanted ratings, a police helicopter followed me firing at all civilian traffic. This caused multiple vehicles to explode in my path, and ultimately stopped me from hitting a check point in time as I was having to navigate around burning busses.
#15 A truck spawning on the inside of a corner I was going round which caused me to get hung up on a tree.
#16 Picked up 2 stars despite not hitting anything. Police rammed me into a tree.
#17 Just as the race started, a soldier spawned at the side of the road and ran under my wheels.
#18 The thing where the helicopter follows me shooting at other cars happened again. When that was unsuccessful, they just spawned a massive truck directly in my path about 10 metres ahead, causing me to hit it, pick up a wanted star, and miss a checkpoint through constant rammings.
#19 As I was waiting to start the race, a car rammed me from behind, and suddenly out of nowhere hundreds of guys instantly spawned and started shooting at me.
#20 The race wouldn't start as the starter was being peppered with bullets from a helicopter.
#21 Police still everywhere but managed to start the race. I got quite far, but eventually two trucks spawned side-ways on the road completely blocking it, and prevented me from hitting a check point.
#22 Police were having a war on the starting line, couldn't even get to first check point because they were blocking the road.
#23 Despite not being shot by a helicopter for once, the race starter guy refused to start the race. While I was bumping up against him mashing A, a helicopter swung in an started shooting him.
#24 Unresponsive race starting guy.
#25 Nope, still no good.

You know what, screw this. I no longer want to play this goddamn race. I feel like this mission is haunted. It keeps coming up with new and interesting ways to stop me from completing what would be a pretty hard checkpoint race even without all the random nonsense going on. I'm sure there must be people out there who never encountered any of this and will have completed it first time with no problem. That's just the way of janky open world games I guess. Tags: just-cause