Jagged Alliance: Rage! Preview

Following the recent announcement of Jagged Alliance: Rage! Rock, Paper, Shotgun offers their preview of an early version of the game. Some complaints about the noticeable lack of polish aside, the preview is fairly positive, likening Rage! to Firaxis’ take on the XCOM formula and its highly streamlined but still enjoyable experience. Here are a few sample paragraphs:

Rage is recognisably Jagged Alliance, which is to say you exact turn-based control of a squad of grumbling but blood-steeped mercs sent to deal with warlords and drug-runners in an exotic locale, but with two major changes. The first is a certain degree of streamlining. There is a ruder way of saying the same thing, which I expect is being employed with grim regularity in Jagged Alliance communities right now.

In any case, Rage is clearly striving to be XCOM to the 90s JAs’ X-COM – focusing on the core loops of combat and strategy, discarding some of the nuances of micro-management in favour of a tight focus on moment-to-moment decisions. Me? I’ve always taken the view that XCOM doesn’t replace X-COM: I dig both. I feel the same way here, in that we’ve still got JA2 and all its marvellous mods – this is exploring something different. Narrowing the field of possibility to move/shoot/sneak/use might amputate complexity, but it increases intensity.

The flipside to that is that JAR clearly has only a fraction of XCOM’s budget. I can for now stomach some of this early code’s occasional glitches – disappearing weapons, lousy enemy AI, broken missions, deeply debatable to-hit odds (I missed three 95% shots in a row at one point) – as potential consequences of this being an unfinished version of a game not due for release for several months. (Autumn is the word, which I imagine could run to as late as November). An undeniable sense of, well, cheapness is another matter. Tiresome panto voice-acting, the same handful of enemy barks on loop, a slightly iffy UI, some glaring quality of life ommissions… well, I guess similar charges could be lain at JA2’s feet, but this is 2018.

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Val Hull
Val Hull

Resident role-playing RPG game expert. Knows where trolls and paladins come from. You must fight for your right to gather your party before venturing forth.

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