Jagged Alliance: Rage! Review PC
key review info
- Game: Jagged Alliance: Rage!
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: No
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
We rarely ever see franchises living up to their reputations anymore, as more and more companies "jump the shark" in an attempt to make their titles relevant to the more younger gaming community. However, there are some game series that don't seem to stay just as popular even after 20 years.
The same gameplay you know and love
Veteran gamers know the Jagged Alliance franchise, and those of you that played the first entries are probably either looking to relive your childhood memories or trying to convince your own children to follow in your gaming footsteps.
Regardless of your motives, you'll be glad to know that the essence of the game hasn't changed at all.
You're still a commander looking to hire mercenaries to get missions done, you still have to choose from a roster of mercenaries that are as different from one another as ever, and you still have the great TBS combat style.
Oh, and let's not forget that the humor is unchanged, which will make you laugh or at least smile once every couple of minutes.
Full disclosure, I love the look and feel of the game, even if I never had the chance to play the previous titles when they were first released. You know how when a new movie in a franchise is just released, and now you re-watch all previous entries just so you can get into "the mood?", well Jagged Alliance: Rage! is the video game equivalent of that.
There's no rush here
Whenever you pick up a gaming console or turn on your gaming PC, you usually have one of two moods: you are either stressed or hyped, and need a few good hours of action-packed mindless mayhem, or you just feel like putting your mind to good use.
Jagged Alliance: Rage!, like of its predecessors belongs to the first category, as the slow-paced gameplay and witty humor are perfect for those long, dull days where you cannot decide between watching a comedy film or shooting some enemy soldiers.
Personally, I'm glad whenever I hear of a new TBS game coming out, since the older we get, the more responsibilities we have, therefore less time dedicated towards long continuous gaming sessions, and as well know by now, you can't pause an online game, but you can pause a TBS.
Decisions, decisions, decisions...
You know how whenever you install a new RPG or MMORPG you spend a good couple of minutes deciding on the name of your character, and then about an hour deciding how he will look? Well, you'll be feeling something rather similar in Jagged Alliance: Rage! when you'll have to choose which mercenaries you'll be running the missions with.
As always, each mercenary has various pros and cons, from combat enhancement stats to situational weaknesses.
This aspect gives a certain degree of replayability to the game, since the six characters can make up to 30 different combinations, and since most of the dialogue is changed based on the team composition, you may want to try them all if you want to hear all the quirky remarks.
Not a game for eye-candy lovers
If you're expecting AAA graphics from this title, then you'll be in for the disappointment. This doesn't mean that the game looks bad, quite the opposite, it looks quite good with lush environments and beautiful coloring, but the heavily caricatured art style and the perspective may give the game a very "early 2000s" look.
This allows the game to maintain the same visual feel of previous titles, while still allowing it to look great as far as 2018 standards go, without melting your PC's video card.
Because there are multiple ways you can interact with your environment or your enemies, the UI may seem a bit confusing at first, so it would be recommended that you play the tutorial and pay close attention to all the tooltips. Even if you have played similar titles, you might want to go through the tutorial since it contains story elements that shouldn't be missed.
Enemies can be shot, stabbed, blown to pieces, and all of these actions can have their variations, based on the character or their equipment, so not taking any rash actions and spending your time looking in the UI for the most efficient solutions can prove itself to be rewarding.
This means you have to know when to run for your life, when to be sneaky, when to crawl, you need to know how to go by unnoticed, how to conserve ammo and how to maintain your armor or weapons. To put it more simply, think of all the things you'd do in a multiplayer FPS game, and then do the exact opposite.
It's not just the HP bar
Whenever your HP bar drops to zero, it usually means that you are dead, but in the Jagged Alliance series, death is the least of your problems. Dehydration, claustrophobia, infections, bleeding, fatigue and other environmental or personal factors can contribute to your character's demise, so poor team management can mean that you can have your mercenaries killed without ever having encountered an enemy in the first place.
The entire game is about proper "bar" management, and the only bars you'll be glad are filling up is the HP bar, and the newest addition to the Jagged Alliance series, the Rage bar.
The Rage bar (which is also where this latest entry in the franchise gets its name from) fills up whenever you deal or take damage or whenever you achieve and enemy kill, and it allows your mercenaries to perform more powerful actions.
Some tweaking needed here and there
If I were to say that the enemy was hard to take out, you'd probably say "well, that's the point." The problem is, I'm talking about poor enemy AI, as they seem to move in very suspicious patterns at some time. More so, there seems to be a significant discrepancy between what they can see and cannot at some times, and their models move with a certain degree of lag. Given that the game is a TBS and the visual aspect of an enemy's movement does not affect me at all, I guess I could say that this isn't all that great of a deal, but it didn't bother me.
- The humor
- Nostalgia value
- Deep character management
- Bad AI
- Laggy sounds
- Cheap graphics
Although it could use some tweaking here and there and the graphics are a dead giveaway for the limited budget the company had, the game is fun nonetheless, and you'll be spending a good couple of hours finishing all the missions with your first pair of mercenaries, and maybe a few extra hours with another pair.
Hopefully, the developer will listen to their public and patch things up, so that Jagged Alliance: Rage! can reach its true potential.