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Thunder and lightning storms are a type of extreme weather featured in the Just Cause game series.

Promotional image of Meteo Lab with a lightning strike making a huge explosion (likely powerful blue lightning).

Common description

Main article: Article about thunderstorms on Wikipedia.

This article is only about the in-game storms. For information on a real thunderstorm, see the Wikipedia article (link above).

Just Cause 1, 2 and 3

Most games in the series have some distant storms with thunder and/or lightning. In fact, the first trailer for Just Cause 1 even features thunder from a distant storm. The most notable examples of lightning storms until Just Cause 4 was Just Cause 2's Hantu Island's constant storm and Just Cause 3's Stingray's constant lightning strikes.

Just Cause 4

Everything changed as of Just Cause 4 where the player can experience extreme weather. Lightning, strong winds (that also result in turbulence) and low-visibility storms can greatly affect gameplay.

Lightning storms cause darkness and heavy rain, similar to night time, and lightning becomes common. Lightning will strike all sorts of targets, as this weather phenomenon does not discriminate between Ricocivilians, Army of Chaos rebels, Black Hand soldiers, vehicles, animals and more. The lightning is very powerful and can take out heavily armored targets with only one or two strikes. Although lightning strikes pose a large threat to Rico, it can help the player in combat by quickly taking out enemy units (See "Manipulating and using lightning" section). The rain and darkness can moderately reduce visibility, although not as much as sandstorms or blizzards, and creates the rain-on-screen effect (see pictures and video below).

The storm sometimes spawns in the rain forest biome, but Rico can manually activate a storm on purpose upon capturing Meteolab and Zona Dos, or if you fire a storm grenade with the DA 9.3 Lightning Gun. The DA 9.3 Lightning Gun's storm grenade can call in a storm in the grasslands biome, though. This might mean that in-universe, lightning storms can only exist in grassland areas. However, the Lightning Gun's storm grenade's lightning stops striking when a sandstorm or tornado is present. Yet on the other hand, the background of the cover art for Just Cause 4 is a tornado with lightning strikes.

Additionally, an in-game Blizzard has lightning strikes as well. The only way to see this is to go to the Illapa base.

Before striking, the target will have sparks crackling on them, indicating that lightning is about to strike. Moving fast and staying low can avoid lightning, as it lightning tends to hit targets slower and higher in altitude.

Lightning types

There are three known distinct types of lightning: white strikes, blue strikes and extra-powerful blue strikes. These are not official names as the game never describes lightning in detail, but just names to classify the lightning strikes. These three types are different in appearance, rarity, damage output, damage radius and more.

White lightning

A white lightning blast, the standard and by far the most common type of lightning, only deals enough damage to instantly kill infantry or deal somewhat minor damage to other objects, including chaos objects and vehicles. However, it is capable of killing all types of infantry in one hit, including Titans and Colonels, but not Rico. A white lightning blast is also capable of dealing heavy damage to a lightly (or not) armored vehicle such as the Warrior Offroader, Daggershark Jetboat or Vagabundo Buggy. It takes over five white lightning strikes to destroy a Warchief Assault/Prizefighter Tank. If Rico gets directly hit from it, he will almost be killed and the screen will turn black-and-white. A white lightning strike is best used against infantry (with or without body armor, it barely makes a difference) and unarmored or lightly armored vehicles. White lightning strikes are very common, they occur about once every two seconds.

Blue lightning

A blue lightning blast, much more powerful than a white one but not as powerful as the most powerful type (see next section), can kill all types of infantry including Rico instantly in one shot whatsoever, and can instantly destroy Wind Cannons or APCs. One of these strikes is already powerful enough to take out three-quarters the armor/health/hit-points of a Warchief Assault Tank or a Prizefighter Tank making it critically damaged and almost destroyed. This is indicated by the vehicle appearing to be cracked, misshapen, charred and flaming. This type of lightning can also destroy an Armadillo 9M or a Bloodhound Siege Heli in a single hit. Just two of these blue lightning bolts are powerful enough to critically damage a Conquistador Warship, making it almost destroyed. Almost all Chaos Objects, large or small, armored or not, can be destroyed by one strike of this type of lightning. The blue lightning blast makes a large explosion (about twice the size of a land vehicle's explosion upon being destroyed) of mostly blue and partly white electricity that engulfs its target and most likely instantly destroys it. A blue lightning blast is best used against heavily armored vehicles and/or targets like the two heavy tanks (The Warchief Assault Tank and the Prizefighter Tank) or armored boats (like the Stormwater Patrol Boat). If there are no heavily armored threats in the area this powerful type of lightning can still be used against less but still armored targets like light tanks including the Pointman Scout TankFalconer AA Tank or even slightly armored (when compared to tanks) vehicles such as APCs (like the Reptile AAV or Cavalry Armored Truck). This type of lightning strike is also powerful enough to destroy most types of armored stationary objects in one strike, so it can be used to destroy large, armor-plated chaos objects like Large Generators or Wind Cannons.

Blue lightning strikes are less common than white ones: they strike about once every three or four white lightning bolts strike.

Powerful blue lightning

"Powerful blue lightning" bolts are very rare and extremely powerful lightning strikes.

This type of lightning can be identified by the electric-blue beam being thicker and larger than other lightning bolts. Apart from this, when coming to contact with the ground, it makes a massive explosion of mostly blue (about 75%) and partly white (roughly 25%) electricity. The explosion is so big that it is comparable in size to a sphere tank's explosion, and it has so much lightning that it forms a huge "sheet" or "web" of lightning. Like a fiery explosion, the lightning's electrical explosion obscures vision of the things behind the it, while other electrical bursts only have a few sparks, crackles and tendrils of electricity that one can mostly see through. On top of that, the bolt and explosion of a powerful blue lightning strike will light up the entire area and flood everything around it with blue light. If the "bokeh of field" setting is enabled, powerful blue lightning strikes and their explosions will also create a blue bokeh effect. This type of lightning's damage output is tremendously, extremely high. See below for details.

It is proven through testing on many different armored targets that this super-powerful blue lightning bolt can completely penetrate all destructible objects'/soldier's/vehicle's armor in one strike of lightning (completely indestructible objects such as buildings, terrain, walls etc will remain unharmed, but they can be charred/cracked/burnt. See below). Be it heavy tanks, armored boats, APCs, artillery, destructible but very armored fortifications (like blast walls and ultra-strong but still destructible stationary barriers), other military facilities/black hand infrastructure or more, the blue strike of lightning would utterly obliterate them in one strike. Anything - destructible or not - hit by this type of lightning will appear charred and flaming. If objects struck by this type of lightning have any remains, those remains appear to be bent and molten, as their surface is glowing orange and take some sort of liquid form. This result can be scientifically speculated as the lightning's high heat melting and vaporizing (at least part of) the target, making it collapse or blow up.

No matter what target it is, as long as it is fully in the target area/explosion of a powerful blue lightning strike, it would be destroyed without a single remain (such as vehicle/military asset structures) nor a trace of its past existence except for flaming dust and ash. This type of lightning is so destructive that it is capable of instantly destroying even the most armored, toughest destructible objects in the game. All vehicles can be destroyed with only one of these types of lightning strikes, from a Warchief Assault Tank (along with all three tanks), Armadillo 9M and Bloodhound Siege Heli (along with all three helicopters) to a SkyCastle Cargo Jet, Conquistador Warship, and even the massive Spearhead Transport (along with everything on the transport). The largest of chaos objects, which includes even the strongly reinforced, very durable (because of its size) and very hard to destroy (also due to size) enormous radar dish worth 10,000 Chaos Points can also be destroyed in one single blast. Although obvious because they can destroy the strongest, most durable objects in the game, a powerful blue lightning bolt can instantly kill any type of Black Hand soldier, from a Machine Gunner or Riot Shielder to a Titan or Colonel, leaving no remains except their weapons and ammunition (their bodies will not be there). This makes "powerful blue lightning" strikes able to deal the most damage output out of all damaging effects: One powerful blue strike is estimated to deal the damage output of at least nine heavy tank shells (it takes nine tank shells to destroy a Spearhead Transport and six to destroy an enormous radar dish). However, a large ballistic missile is also capable of one-shot-killing everything, so it can deal just as much damage.

Powerful blue lightning strikes will also leave an "illusion" crater, meaning that it is 2-dimensional: it only appears as a smoldering hole but has the same properties and behaves as normal terrain (the ground/floor). This means that objects will appear to be hovering when on top of the "illusional" crater. The crater appears to be a charred black spot on the ground along with a deep hole filled with flames and smoldering orangeish liquid, probably molten materials melted by the lightning. Like all craters/holes/charred spots in the game, the crater will fade away eventually.

A powerful blue lightning strike is very rare. This type of lightning occurs only once every twenty or so white strikes. However, they are very noticeable. There are much more "warning sparks", and they crackle on a much larger area than other strikes' "warning sparks". When striking, besides the massive lightning explosion, a powerful blue lightning blast can be noticed by the player even if Rico isn't facing the strike. This is because a powerful blue strike lights up the surrounding area.

Manipulating and using lightning

While a typical lightning strike to Rico is almost fatal, the player can use lightning to their advantage as well. As said before, a lightning strike deals massive damage output and powerful strikes can destroy just about any destructible target. The player can make lightning strike their targets, especially if there are too many or if they are too durable/armored to be effeciently taken out with many RPG hits/tank shells. The player can cause lightning to strike enemies with the following ways:

  • Warning sparks. Anything with electricity crackling above it means they will get hit by lightning, or at least lightning will try to hit them. There is no need to waste your time with targets with warning sparks on them as they will likely be destroyed by lightning. Also, don't stand next to targets with warning sparks. Even if the lightning wasn't targetting him, its explosion will almost kill Rico as well.
  • Altitude. Lightning tends to strike targets at higher altitudes. If there is a specific target, bring it to a high altitude and soon warning sparks will appear on it, causing lightning to strike it. For example, a player can use multiple air lifters or boosters (seeing as the physics don't make much sense) to lift an armored target such as a Warchief Assault Tank into the sky. Lightning will soon strike and destroy it.
  • Placing warning-sparked objects next to/inside/on top of a target. If there is a target with warning sparks on them, tether them to your intended target, and the lightning will cause collateral damage, destroying or heavily damaging that target as well. For example, if the player's target is a massive satellite dish, look for something with warning sparks on it. Tether them onto the satellite dish before lightning strikes. When lightning does strike, the explosion will blow up the dish as well. This strategy can be applied to just about any scenario.
  • Likely more. Feel free to add to this list.

Locations

  • Constantly at Zona Dos before (and during) Operation Thunderbarge.
    • After Operation Thunderbarge, a lightning storm can be activated by a console at Zona Dos. This storm is the largest of all of its type and covers the regions around the said base.
      • For some reason, the lightning storm activated by Rico covers the regions around Zona Dos while the one that is always present before and during Operation Thunderbarge only covers the base of Zona Dos.
  • Another storm can also be activated by a console at Meteolab, after Operation Thunderbarge. This storm is smaller and only covers the base.
  • Harnessed by the DA 9.3 Lightning Gun's secondary fire. This particular storm is weaker and is pretty small as it covers an approximately 300 square meter area.

Missions involving a lightning storm

Trivia

  • Hantu Island in Just Cause 2 is always surrounded by a storm until a side-mission is completed.
  • Until a mission, the Stingray has a lightning storm that kills Rico if he approaches too close.
  • The Illapa base has a blizzard with lightning strikes.
  • See Weather in JC4 - Common article for all weather types.
  • Although this is one of the central themes concerning severe weather in Just Cause 4, it can only be seen four times. This might disappoint some players into thinking lightning would've been more prevalent. On the other hand, the devs might have considered this and included a a console in the Zona Dos and Meteolab bases that manually generates a lightning storm.
  • So far, there are two weapons in the Just Cause Game Series that use lightning: the eDEN Spark from JC3 and the DA 9.3 Lightning Gun.
  • The storm that the secondary fire of the DA 9.3 Lightning Gun summons does not have rain or "warning sparks".
  • For some reason, Black Hand assets, vehicles and soldiers don't have any sort of lightning protection/evasion device. This is strange as lightning generated by them often kills/destroys them.
  • "Powerful blue lightning" is extremely powerful as it can destroy every destructible object in the game in one hit. This can be scientifically speculated as a real life type of lightning strike called a superbolt: unusually powerful lightning bolts carrying about 100 times the energy as normal lightning bolts (normal is 1 GJ, superbolts are 100 GJ). A metric ton (one thousand kilograms) of TNT releases about 4 GJ of energy.
  • Despite usually called a thunderstorm, the proper name for this kind of weather is actually "lightning storm." It is also sometimes called an "electrical storm" or "thundershower". See more at the Wikipedia article.
  • For some reason, the arcs and electrical explosions of lightning bolts have a different color in the released game than they did in promotional content and pre-release gameplay videos (see the Gallery). The lightning in the beta game are of a lighter color, while they are darker in the released version. This can be considered as Cut game content from Just Cause 4.

Gallery


Videos

The player in Zona Dos' lightning storm. Notice how the lightning can not instantly destroy vehicles in one hit, but does make all vehicles (including the armored ones) critically damaged (flaming):


A YouTuber analysing JC4's lightning storm weather system:

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