|Black Hand in JC4|
Gabriella and her guards.
|Faction in Just Cause, Just Cause 3 and Just Cause 4|
|Goal, or purpose||To protect the Espinosa-regime at Solís and to work for anyone who hires them.|
|Starting base, or HQ||Illapa (or Base Aérea Yanacagua)|
|Source of money||Oscar Espinosa and anyone else who hires them.|
This article is about the Black Hand as they appear in Just Cause 4, which is the same private military organization that appeared in JC1 and JC3. To avoid spoilers, see Black Hand in JC1 and Black Hand in JC3 for those games.
Unlike in previous games where they served as secondary antagonists, working as foreign mercenaries and assisting dictators, this time, the Black Hand have become the main faction that Rico has to take down.
Compared to their previous appearances, the Black Hand is more advanced and well-trained. The faction now has access to advanced weapons with secondary fire modes, upgraded armor and helmets and various new archetypes along with the old ones that have appeared in the previous game. They also have new weaponized vehicles, a weaponized prototype wingsuit and a stealth jet, along with their main new weather controlling technology.
The leader of the Black Hand is Commander Gabriela Morales. One of the loading screens compliments her competence and mentions that by the time the game takes place, she has been the commander of the Black Hand for 5 years.
A recruitment advertisement on Solís Hoy radio explains that they protect the sovereignty and freedom of nations and punish those who threaten it. They apparently also stand for family, discipline, strength, order and service.
History and activities
According to one of the game's loading screens, the Black Hand have a decades-long contract with the Espinosas and that they have replaced the original normal military of Solís.
The Black Hand are now owned by Oscar Espinosa, the ruler of Solís. He uses them as the military and police of Solís.
According to the Solís Hoy radio, the Black Hand are active in multiple "major theaters", like Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America, where they have helped countless people after disasters.
As told by Santiago (a former member, who now works at the radio), they did not wear masks back in his time when they were serving domestically. In fact, they had been proud to have their identities locally known, because the people knew them and knew that they were there to protect them. The masks are a recent thing, which he finds disturbing. According to his co-host Diago, one only needs to fear the Black Hand if you have broken the law.
By the end of the storyline, the Army of Chaos had captured the majority of Solís (the exact number of regions is player's choice) and as estimated by Commander Gabriela Morales, they were only able to hold the mountain with the Illapa base.
Commander Morales and the remaining units on the mountain defect to the Army of Chaos when it's obvious that they had lost and after Oscar Espinosa said he would use the Project Illapa super-weapon to kill everyone on the mountain. However, whether Gabriela will ever be seen in Army of Chaos livery will be unknown.
The Solís Hoy radio announces after the mission that some of the Black Hand have defected to the Army of Chaos, but some factions within the Black Hand are refusing to surrender, despite the news. This announcement refers to any of the regions that the player had not taken over before the last mission. The radio host urges them to lay down their arms so the people of Solís could focus on rebuilding.
Depending on the player's choice of the order of missions played, the mission Beachhead could happen either before, or after Operation Illapa. In this mission, Rico and Sargento counter a force of Spearhead Transport ships that are bringing reinforcements to the Black Hand. Sargento mentions that the Black Hand has lots of units stationed in the Other countries in the Just Cause universe and that they're all about to invade. They only really defeat the first 5 ships and a number of infantry and helicopters, before Sargento sends a message to the rest of them that the beach has been compromised and that the others should cancel the mission.
The Dare Devils of Destruction DLC is set relatively early in the game's storyline, but doesn't depict the Black Hand.
The Los Demonios DLC is also set relatively early in the game's storyline, but this time it does feature them. The Black Hand can be seen fighting the demons. The flying insect demons can take control of Black Hand soldiers (grab them and fly off with them) and use the weapons carried by the soldier. In addition to that, the larger demonic tentacles can grab vehicles with vehicle mounted weapons and use them against their enemies. Another trailer also shows that the flying insect demons can also cloak if they absorb a Black Hand ghost unit.
While they officially do not appear in the Danger Rising DLC, it is possible to see some Black Hand helicopters and/or boats fighting alongside The Agency.
The below unit names were announced in the "Just Cause 4 SPOTLIGHT: The Black Hand" video (see below in the videos section).
According to the in-game radio (Solís Hoy), they recruit people by advertising themselves as protecting the sovereignty and freedom of nations and punishing those who threaten it. They apparently also stand for family, discipline, order and service and Solís.
Similar to their counterparts in Just Cause 3, Ghosts serve as the hit and run/ambush unit for the Black Hand forces. However, unlike their counterparts in Medici, they are equipped with optical camouflage that allows them to turn nearly invisible. It is possible (but still difficult, especially from greater distances) to see the distorted area, similar to the Predator from the Predator movies. They are also very agile and will frequently duck, weave and roll out of the way of incoming attacks while returning fire with their SMG-2. Additionally, while invisible, they will attempt to flank Rico and flush him out of cover using the alternate fire from their weapon. They can be easily identified by their grey coats and light body armor and red tinted goggles.
Despite wearing light body armor, equipment and protection, ghosts have lots of health, even more so than elites and shielders, both of who are seen with visibly heavier armor. However, a ghost's health cannot rival that of machine gunners, much less Titans and Colonels.
It is very hard to see them from a distance of over 20 meters. It is even harder to see them if they are in front of a vibrant environment like a rainforest. When armed with only small-arms, an easy way to deal with Ghost units is to put your target reticle near where you think the ghost is and move the reticle around. When the grappling hook reticle locks on, try and grapple them as it will temporarily stun them, leaving them open to damage.
Snipers appear very similar to Ghosts except that their cloaks are darker and have larger hoods. As their name suggests they are designed to attack the player from long distance using their LRD-3 Sniper Rifles. Their rifles also emit a red laser which makes them easy to spot and locate. If Rico gets too close the sniper will drop stun grenades that not just stun Rico but also interestingly propel him backwards.
They are a major nuisance as they are usually positioned a considerable distance away and are capable of killing Rico in just 3 shots (they always aim (or try to aim) for the head). When fighting them it is also best to stay mobile and to use cover as they can lock on very quickly. They should be considered extremely dangerous in battle as a Dropzone Chopper carrying two of these can kill Rico in one shot if he isn't fast enough.
Colonels are high ranking officers in the Black Hand forces and are very easily identified by their stark white body armor and bright red balaclava. Befitting their role as field commanders, they are equipped with some sort of high-tech body armor that renders them almost completely immune to bullets (with the exception being larger caliber firearms, such as miniguns, which can penetrate their armor) and allows them to withstand quite a few explosive impacts (they can survive 2 grenades or 1 "standard explosion"). This armor also makes them completely immune to being grappled or tethered, much like the Titans in Just Cause 3. Although such a heavily armored suit would in real life be so heavy that it's impossible even to stand straight (assuming it's even possible for infantry body armor to be so strong), colonels move just as quickly as privates, which are deployed with minimal equipment.
Curiously though, they do not wear a helmet, which makes them vulnerable to headshots (though it should be noted that it can take several headshots to kill one).
One of the loading screen images identifies this soldier as a "colonel", but in the official showcase video for the Black Hand by Avalanche Studios on YouTube, this soldier is identified as a "super elite". For now, both names are fine.
Grenadiers can be identified by their heavy armor (like the Russian K6-3 helmet) and the PGL-6 Grenade Launcher they carry into battle. They wear a large, bulky bulletproof vest and a distinctive ballistic helmet, making them capable of surviving a fairly large amount of gunfire, and more damage than most other Black Hand soldiers can (expect for Titans, Colonels and Machine Gunners).
When in combat they will fire multiple grenades with delayed fuses around an area, sometimes even bouncing them off walls and around corners to flush Rico out of cover. Hence, if the player doesn't move a lot grenadiers can be very dangerous, but otherwise, grenadiers are just incredibly frustrating as the player must grapple around constantly to avoid grenades. Luckily, the grenades leave a bright red-orange trace as they arc across the air, and when within Rico's proximity, a helpful alert on the HUD shows where the grenade is, giving the player plenty of time to notice and avoid the grenades. If Rico manages to get close to them, they will instead switch to an SMG-2 for self-defense. Similar to the Demolition Officer in Just Cause 2 they will drop several live grenades when killed. As such, it is best to deal with them from a distance.
Grenadiers also speak with a robotic voice, similar to all Black Hand soldiers in Medici.
Titans are the largest and arguably toughest soldiers fielded by the Black Hand. They are covered in what seems to be power-armor and at a glance could be mistaken for a robot. This armor allow them to withstand a ridiculous amount of bullets. Their toughness even allows them to survive one or even two direct hits from a rocket launcher or tank (although in real life soldiers protected by power armor will still be easily blown apart by large-caliber explosive ordinance, armored powered exoskeletons make it possible to protect soldiers with very heavy armor without completely jeopardizing mobility (see Wikipedia linked above) ). They are equipped with an RG-PBA 9 Railgun which the Titan also uses to deploy drones. Their railgun can easily be identified by its blue laser. The railgun takes a few seconds to charge. However, it charges much slower than when Rico is using it (Titans need six to eight seconds or so to fully charge it (red shot, see below) while Rico only needs three or four). It doesn't do much damage, but puts Rico into ragdoll. On the other hand, Titans are somehow extremely accurate (almost as much as snipers) and can easily knock Rico out of the sky when he's using a parachute, despite the fact that Titans actually always fire from the hip/never aim down the sights (ADS). Occasionally, Titans also charge up an extra powerful shot, indicated by a red glow from the weapon. This shot should be avoided as it is capable of almost killing Rico in one hit. Immediately after being directly hit by a fully charged shot, Rico will have very low health and will die if he takes only a little more damage. However, Rico can easily survive several red fully charged shots in a heavily armored vehicle like a Warchief Assault Tank.
It's possible to melee a Titan unit to death (unlike small-arms fire, meleeing temporarily disorients infantry, and meleeing in rapid succession before they can recover makes it possible to eventually kill them) but don't expect this to work every time. While meleeing them up close won't let them fire their weapon, Titans also have a strong melee ability capable of hurting and disorienting Rico. If up close, they will attack Rico with their railgun should they have enough time to recover between melees.
In absence of heavy weapons (such as Vehicle mounted weapons, rocket launchers, miniguns etc), the best way to deal with Titans is to continuously be mobile whenever the Titan is charging up their shots. After taking every shots, the Titan needs a few seconds to be able to charge another shot which leaves them vulnerable to gunfire. Titans, like other Black Hand units, is still very vulnerable to continuous headshots from any weapons but they are still able to withstand a ridiculous amount of bullets to the head.
Shielders serve as crowd control and defensive specialists for the Black Hand and are easily identified by their large, bulletproof (but not explosive proof) ballistic shields and their helmet, gas mask and tactical vest (probably bulletproof) that strangely bears a slight resemblance to a life vest. In combat, they will slowly advance on a target, often in groups, while laying down fire with their SMG-2s. Their shields are also very light which allow them to move their shields to block fire from all angles. Additionally, their shields cannot be grappled or tethered, and (unrealistically) are almost completely bulletproof. The only non-explosive weapons that can penetrate their shields are Miniguns.
In pre-release promotional materials they were shown to walk in groups and occasionally seemed to be trying to use the testudo formation, but without the top shields. They were said to be used in defensive roles.
While their shields cover the vast majority of their bodies, they do not cover their faces or feet which can be exploited. A recommended tactic when dealing with such unit is to aim carefully for the holes on their shields as Shielders' heads are usually exposed through them. One can also keep them off their balance by shooting the in the legs. After taking a certain amount of damage in the legs, the unit will stumble, leaving them vulnerable to gunfire. Additionally, a shot from the SW9 Assault Rifle or SMG-2's Secondary Fire can cause them to completely drop their shields and stun them, leaving them vulnerable to all incoming fire.
RPG soldiers serve as the anti-vehicle specialists for the Black Hand and are identifiable by their heavy, dark blue clothing and dark green ski masks. In combat, they will primarily engage from a distance using their AT7 RPGs. Unlike the laser sight of the Snipers, their lasers sights are green. If Rico gets too close, they will pull out and use an SMG-2 instead.
These soldiers should be considered a high priority as their launchers can send Rico flying and are capable of doing heavy damage to vehicles, and significant damage to mechanized armor.
Machine Gunners wear what appears to be a thick, heavily armored bulletproof vest attached with lots of pouches and pockets loaded with equipment. In fact, their armor is so thick and heavy that it can be considered a relatively weak sleeveless bomb suit. However, bomb suits are a lot stronger and heavier than typical bulletproof vests, which should make machine gunners almost immune to bullets like colonels. Since machine gunners are very much still vulnerable to bullets, they are probably not bomb suits. While they wear a heavily armored vest designed for combat, they only wear a simple, civilian-use red T-shirt beneath it. They wear an armored helmet with an attached gas mask, and a large backpack.
Their heavy body armor allows them to take many bullets in the torso: it takes three sniper hits (non-headshot) and a few seconds of continuous automatic small-arms fire (also non-headshots) to kill them. This makes machine gunners the third toughest, most armored soldiers of the Black Hand (right after Colonels and Titans). They are equipped with the Defender Machine Gun. When engaging in combat, the Machine Gunner will deploy his bulletproof shield in the direction of Rico and begin to relentlessly return fire. If Rico tries to flank or get behind the the Machine Gunner, he will pack up and redeploy his shield. The shield is also immune to being grappled and tethered.
While the shield covers most of their bodies, it does not cover their heads, so they are very vulnerable to headshots. Additionally, the shields can easily be penetrated by explosions. Note that explosions can go through shields but the shield is invincible, always remaining in perfect condition so you can blow up a machine gunner and pick up his gun, with the shield.
Additionally, Machine Gunners move rather slowly when compared to other Black Hand soldiers due to their heavy equipment, body armor and weapon. This makes them a lot more vulnerable to sniper fire compared to other Black Hand units.
Privates are, by far, the most common Black Hand soldiers encountered and can be found all over Solís. They usually patrol just about anywhere and everywhere. They also serve as the bulk of the Black Hand's vehicle drivers and pilots. They can be identified by their blue uniforms and black ski masks. In combat they wield either SW9 Assault Rifles, SMG-2s,CC10 Shotguns or 21-J Smart Rifles. Privates no longer spawn from heat in New Game+, as the elites now take over the role of patrolling Solís, although in New Game+ privates can still be observed in bases and fronts. This is strange considering the patrols should be grunts and the stronger, more capable soldiers should be in places where they fight more.
They possess no body armor so they can be killed with just a few shots, and their aim and tactics are poor (though still a lot better Army of Chaos rebels) but make up for these with sheer numbers. Perhaps over 95% of the enemies encountered are privates. There is even a noticeable number of female soldiers in their ranks.
Elites are an improved version of the private and as such are more skilled and better equipped and outfitted. In combat they use the exact same weapons as privates, only they are tougher, more accurate with their weapons, and have better tactics. With their bulletproof vest and helmet, they can withstand more punishment compared to privates, though they are not as big a threat compared to other Black Hand units. Their armor is mediocre, which allows them to survive a few seconds of continuous assault rifle fire. They can be identified by their dark blue fatigues, lightish blue-grey bulletproof vests, and the pale blue helmets they wear. They also appear to be equipped with night-vision goggles. It seems like they also use hand signals but it is likely that this is only aesthetic. However, in trailers they used hand signals to fire grenades from SW9 Assault Rifles. The elites also become the standard patrol unit in New Game+, and become much more common, even more than privates since privates no longer appear when the player is exposed heat.
Typically, one elite would win a fight against up to four or maybe even five rebels at once. These results come from experiments where an elite is spawned in before four random rebels are spawned in. The experiment was done with spawning mods.
Elites also serve as the Black Hand paratroopers. They jump out of SkyCastle Cargo Jets and shoot while parachuting down. Like their JC3 counterparts, their parachutes do not have any sort of collision models, meaning that nothing can touch/damage/break them, and the chutes can't touch/damage anything else either. The game's internal files reveal that they are actually different soldier types. A spawner mod (entity spawner) calls normal elites "elite", but calls paratrooper elites that can deploy parachutes "elite_paratrooper".
Something interesting to note is that in-universe elites seem to perform special operations as well. For example, in a cutscene in Operation Windwalker, a squad of elites snuck onto the rooftop of a building with Army of Chaos rebels protecting a Wind Cannon. With the element of surprise, the elites suddenly stormed the roof and quickly eliminated the rebels before they could properly react.
Elites also seem to be JC4's "signature" soldier. In cutscenes and promotional videos, the only soldiers that appear are almost all elites.
Vanguard units are possibly not commonly seen in Solís. They are speculated to be elites, a cut type of soldier that wasn't included in the game, or the old name of elites. See the Trivia section for more information about them. According to a loading screen: "Black Hand Vanguards are equipped with body armor and advanced weaponry, adding an extra threat to most Black Hand fireteams."
Other known members and former members include:
- One random encounter features a "Black Hand spy" whose car broke and stopped at the side of a road. Sargento wants him/her to be picked up and then killed in a seemingly motor vehicle crash. This encounter is called "Accidental Casualty".
- Another random encounter which involves Black Hand spies is called "Sniper Assassination". You are tasked to pick up a sniper rifle, on a building roof, and then kill 3 civilians who are actually spies. It's not necessary to use the sniper, any weapon can be used, as long as you stick to the rooftops.
- Santiago, one of the hosts at Solís Hoy radio, is a former member of the Black Hand. He served in Solís.
- Cadiz and Escobedo are members of an unknown rank, who have been featured in multiple live action game trailers. See at the official Just Cause YouTube page.
- They were first featured in a hospital scene along with a number of additional unnamed Black Hand members. Gabriela arrives and demands to know what happened to her base. The men try to explain that it was 1 man who arrived and blew everything up. Gabriela doesn't believe them.
- While wearing Christmas themed items, they're calling a neighbor and asking for new vehicles as gifts, because their cars and trucks were apparently destroyed in a lightning storm, sandstorm and tornado. The neighbor does not agree.
- The men are at a church and praying. One is praying for a dead (or injured) comrade while the other is praying for Rico.
- They're sitting in a house and one of them has dressed up like Rico. He even has a wingsuit on his jacket. He seems to be a fan of Rico. The other guy questions his choices.
- They're at a hospital again and one is reading a newspaper while the other is running around and making wind noises with his mouth. Upon being questioned, he explains that he's trying to "become the enemy" in order to understand him.
- They're at a cafeteria, wearing elf hats and discussing how Rico attacked their base. They mention that they were very scared, but also scared for Rico, because he could have burned to death. In the end they loudly say "Black Hand forever" to the others in the room, but quietly say that the organization "sucks".
Their vehicles are usually painted in dark gray with red highlights. See supply drop.
Because there is no explicit heat system in Just Cause 4, relative terms have to be used.
- Warrior Offroader - Standard patrol vehicle that appears at a low to medium level of heat.
- Vagabundo Buggy - Another patrol vehicle that appears at a low to medium level of heat.
- Próspero Hauler - Off-road capable heavy truck seen at bases and on roads carrying a generator. While it can appear in heat, it does not seem to be very common.
- Cavalry Armored Truck - Armored truck that appears during a medium to high level of heat.
- Reptile AAV - Amphibious infantry fighting vehicle. Appears during a medium to high level of heat.
- Longbow Cannon Truck - Artillery truck. Appears during a medium to high level of heat.
- Prospero Hunter Bike - Seen during a low level of heat.
- Prizefighter Tank - Infantry fighting vehicle / "tank". Seen during a medium to high level of heat.
- Pointman Scout Tank - Light tank that is rarely seen in both bases, but can appear in all levels of heat.
- Warchief Assault Tank - Main battle tank that appears during a high level of heat.
- Falconer AA Tank - Anti-aircraft tank that can be found in all levels of heat. Can also be found patrolling the street and in some military bases.
- Firebrand Scout Chopper - Light attack helicopter that appears during a medium level of heat. Can also be found patrolling the sky.
- Spectre Attack Helicopter - Medium attack helicopter that appears during a medium to high level of heat. Can also be found patrolling the sky.
- Bloodhound Siege Heli - Heavily attack helicopter that appears during a high level of heat. Can also be found patrolling the sky.
- Próspero Sky Crane - Transport helicopter with a usable magnet-crane. Can also uncommonly be found roaming throughout Solís, usually carrying a Sphere Tank. Doesn't appear in heat.
- Dropzone Chopper - Transport helicopter that can be found all over Solís. Appears from a medium to high level of heat.
- PA Microfighter - Small armed jet that can be found patrolling the sky. Can appear at any level of heat. Appears much more commonly if Rico is using an air vechicle.
- Stealth Microfighter (DLC) - Never seen in use.
- Fellhawk Jet Fighter - Jet fighter that appears at a high level of heat. Appear much more commonly if Rico is using an air vehicle. Can be seen flying over frontlines and patrolling the airspace of Black Hand occupied military airbases.
- Thunderhead Bomber Jet - Bomber jet that could also double as a jet fighter that appears at a high level of heat. Can be seen flying over frontlines.
- SkyCastle Cargo Jet - Does not appear in heat, but does appear in some missions.
- Daggershark Jetboat - Lightly armed patrol boat at a low level of heat. Can be found patrolling the open ocean. Appears much more commonly if Rico is in combat in the middle of a large body of water.
- Stormwater Patrol Boat - Medium patrol boat at a medium to high level of heat. Rarely found patrolling the open ocean. Appears much more commonly if Rico is in combat in the middle of a large body of water.
- Conquistador Warship - Large ship that appears at a high level of heat. Appears much more commonly if Rico is in combat in the middle of a large body of water.
- Spearhead Transport - Does not appear in heat, but does carry vehicles sometimes.
- Prospero Shade - Weaponized sports car. It's occasionally used during heat and it can sometimes be found being transported on Black Hand trains. It's a part of the "adversary assault vehicle pack" DLC.
- Gabriela Morales is the commander of the Black Hand within Solís, though it is unknown who was in charge of the Black Hand while they had units deployed in San Esperito and Medici.
- There is a possibility that Gabriela was overseeing, or at least taking interest in, the work of the Black Hand units at Insula Lacrima, as at the end of Storming the Hive, two Black Hand soldiers are speaking to their commander who is heard speaking in a robotic, but feminine voice. However, it is unknown if this is Gabriela or not.
- In a loading screen, it states that by the events of Just Cause 4, Gabriela had been commanding the Black Hand for 5 years. (So Gabriela had been commanding the Black Hand during the events of Just Cause 3, but not the events of Just Cause.)
- She graduated from the Academia Qacha military training base.
- In the mission The Heist Begins (Downloadable content for Just Cause 3), as soon as Black Hand ships come into sight, Annika blames Sheldon for providing the team with "bad" intel on the Black Hand forces. Sheldon is also surprised because he believed the ships were supposed to be on their way to South America. Solís is a South American country, so this was possibly foreshadowing for Just Cause 4.
- The Black Hand came into possession of some ex-eDEN Corporation technology, but they are not seen using any of it in Solís. They still could be the most advanced faction in the Just Cause Universe, with ex-eDEN Corporation technology and several weather manipulation devices.
- Apparently, after being defeated in the Solino Civil War, remaining Black Hand units formed a faction called Darkwater, in Just Cause: Mobile.
- At the end of the game, its very hard to find any soldiers other than the standard "grunts" (privates), although you can still find snipers without heat (albeit rarely). With heat you have a low chance of encountering a roadblock with a RPG operator and a machine gunner.
- So, once you fully finish everything, these are the only 4 soldier types able to be found amidst the Black Hand.
- However in New Game+, Elites take over the role as the main respondent in heat and also serve as patrols throughout Solis, so you can only see Privates at basses and fronts, and after game completion privates still can be found as little tiny groups at small outposts with permanent Black Hand presence. So once you finish everything in New Game + you are only able to find elites, privates, RPG operators, snipers and machine gunners.
- Originally, during game development, there were "elites" and "vanguards", which were very similar to each other. The Vanguards were meant to be equipped with exotic weapons. The Vanguard units became cut game content from Just Cause 4. We know about them from some pre-release promotional materials and from one of the loading screens that mentions them.
- A mod found here changes the appearance of Black Hand soldiers and the paint jobs of Black Hand vehicles into military camouflage.
- Unlike the militaries from previous games, the Black Hand is rarely seen in cities outside of missions, only at their bases and patrolling the roads.