previews\ Mar 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Jagged Alliance: Back in Action


When Jagged Alliance 2 first came out, the box claimed it was “the role-playing game of 1999.” That's a pretty serious declaration, but the title was, after all, basically X-Com with mercenaries. Unfortunately, the solid franchise went through a bit of development and copyright hell before finally landing in the hands of bitComposer Games.

Now, not only has bitComposer handed a new Jagged Alliance game over to developer Coreplay, but Kalypso Media is publishing. If Kalypso can do to Jagged Alliance what they did for Tropico, fans of this franchise will have good things to look forward to.

Jagged Alliance: Back in Action was originally announced as a remake of Jagged Alliance 2, but after some time working on the title, the developers decided to do more with it. The plot, which deals with dastardly dictator Deidranna Reitman of Arulco, remains the same; however, the graphical overhaul is miles beyond that of the original and gameplay is much more dynamic.

Gameplay modifications are probably the biggest change overall. Instead of controlling units one at a time, players can switch between real-time squad-based controls and individual tactical unit controls. Instead of forcing players to lock down and choose one control type, they can switch on the fly. The resulting gameplay fluctuates from troops bluntly charging forward to them making a slow, steady transition around the game map to ambush enemy units.

Players will need to understand their units well. There are over 60 different mercenaries with different stats and abilities. Each one looks different and each one has a specialized personality. Part of the humor in the game is seeing how the units will work together.

Besides upgrading and managing units and sending them out, players will also deal with economy management. These are mercenaries, after all, so managing money, purchasing weapons and armor, and deciding on what missions to take are intensely important to Jagged Alliance: Back in Action.

After seeing the game in motion, it’s clear that Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is a real throwback to PC gaming of old. With titles like Fallout and X-Com going in completely new directions, Jagged Alliance is more traditional. The new features keep things fresh and exciting, but this looks to be a throwback fans can enjoy.

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