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GTA vs Just Cause: 5 major differences between the two open-world games

(image credits: Throneful, youtube)
(image credits: Throneful, youtube)
Rahul Bhushan
Modified 06 Sep 2020, 15:36 IST

The GTA franchise paved the way for the modern open-world genre, and is an extremely influential game series. The series was extremely influential in establishing the open-world outside of RPG games like the Elder Scrolls franchise.

The Just Cause franchise was born as a result of the popularity of the genre and has been extremely successful. The games have a unique identity of their own that is severely distinct from that of the GTA franchise.

The two series of games might appear similar on paper: open-world games with driveable vehicles and an inclination to blowing things up. However, the GTA and the Just Cause franchise are two very different games that offer vastly different experiences.

Here is a brief rundown of the difference between the GTA franchise and the Just Cause franchise.

Five major differences between Just Cause and GTA

1) Approach to the open-world and gameplay

While both the GTA franchise and Just Cause share an open-world structure, their approach to gameplay and the open-world itself differs vastly. While GTA attempts to immerse the player in a life-like map with some degree of realism, Just Cause throws it out of the window.


The GTA franchise's approach to gameplay is relatively basic with decent combat, and a more considerable emphasis on the map and characters. The Just Cause series likes to dabble more with gameplay complexity. However, that is not to say the map does not get enough attention.

The Just Cause series has birthed some of the best open-world maps that are extremely rewarding to explore. Its approach to gameplay is to offer a variety of combat mechanics that the player can experiment with.

2) Tone

In terms of tone, the games couldn't be any more different. GTA is a somewhat cynical satire of modern media, pop culture and is in stark contrast with that of Just Cause.

While the Grand Theft Auto franchise likes to have somewhat of a light-hearted tone, its satire is extremely cynical and heavily critical of modern society. However, Just Cause is light-hearted without the cynicism of the Grand Theft Auto series. It is decidedly cheesy, in an attempt to hearken back to the best action movies from the 80s.

3) Reliance on plot on cinematic qualities

The GTA franchise is heavily reliant on its plot to drive the point home, and it forms the very core of the games. While players can still wander off into the open-world causing endless havoc, at the end, it is not the point of the games.

The Grand Theft Auto series attempts to tell captivating stories primarily, and it can be argued that the gameplay is almost secondary to the plot. The Just Cause franchise is the complete flip side of that.

Just Cause has gameplay front, and centre and the plot is as good as non-existent. That is not to say the games are without a plot. There is a story, but it takes a backseat to the explosive gameplay.

4) Target audience and accessibility

The GTA games are relatively simple: the controls are pretty standard with a decent enough combat loop that doesn't have too much of a learning curve. On the other hand, Just Cause likes to keep players on their toes, and the grappling hook changes things up significantly.

The gameplay in Just Cause isn't restricted to just shooting guns and chucking grenades. Mobility is a massive part of the game, and the player can use the Grappling Hook to perform various moves.

Cars and other vehicles are present, but they just don't compare to using a grappling hook along with the wingsuit and parachute.

5) Realism

The GTA franchise, despite all its over-the-top story moments, attempts to maintain a level of realism and keep the game grounded. Despite the characters engaging in wall-to-wall craziness, there is an element of groundedness to the game that is undeniable.

Just Cause makes no pretence of any realism, as its objective is to let players wreak havoc in the best of ways. It doesn't concern itself with authenticity, opting for a power fantasy route that allows players to create massive spectacles of fire, explosions, and bullets.

Published 06 Sep 2020, 15:36 IST
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