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Prepare to rage at Jagged Alliance: Rage!

Prepare to rage at Jagged Alliance: Rage!

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 14 August 2018, 23:22:27

Tags: Cliffhanger Productions; HandyGames; Jagged Alliance: Rage!; THQ Nordic

Back in December, members of our community noticed the existence of a new "jaggedalliance.com" website. With the venerable turn-based tactics franchise under the capable new ownership of THQ Nordic, there was some hope that a new Jagged Alliance game might turn out better than the previous attempts at resurrecting the brand over the past decade. I'm not sure that's what we have here, though. Behold Jagged Alliance: Rage!, set 20 years after the first game in the series and starring the same familiar mercenaries, now older, more tired and apparently pissed off. Here's the announcement trailer, which has weird-looking graphics:

The developers this time are Cliffhanger Productions, the studio behind the unfortunate Shadowrun Chronicles online game. Jagged Alliance: Rage! doesn't seem to be online, but it does have a two player co-op mode. The real issue is that it's unclear whether you get to control more than two characters at once. It may be telling that the game is actually being published by HandyGames, a recently acquired subsidiary of THQ Nordic that previously specialized in mobile games. See what can you understand from the extensive preview at PCGamesN:

Jagged Alliance: Rage takes place a full 20 years after the original. That’s not so much to make changes in the equipment you’ll have access to – you’re still essentially a jungle rebel armed with AK47 equivalents and hunting knives – but to make it so your familiar mercenaries are now much older. Ivan, the heavyset Russian from the original game is back but now he suffers from alcoholism. He will act as your heavy weapon specialist but if he doesn’t have ready access to booze then he will start getting the shakes, throwing off his aim and making him a far less effective fighter. Other fighters suffer from panic in night fighting, others can’t handle the sight of civilian deaths, and others, like the slim Spec Ops soldier Shadow, are particularly susceptible to illness.

When you start a campaign you can only pick two mercs from the roster, so you will need to balance their strengths and weaknesses. This also means that each island campaign will have a distinctly different tactical flavour depending on which two mercenaries you take into the field.

Like its predecessors, Jagged Alliance: Rage! Is a turn-based tactical game, much like XCOM. Your fighters will arrive in one corner of a hand-crafted map populated by enemy soldiers and you will take it turns with the AI to sneak and fight your way to victory – be that eliminating all enemies, freeing hostages, or destroying objectives.

Combat in Jagged Alliance is unforgiving, with each of your mercs only possessing a few flimsy hit points. Damage can be negated by armour but it’s a much better strategy to stay hidden, taking out enemies with stealth kills for as long as possible. When you must join a full on firefight, it’s important to get behind cover, increasing the chance of enemy shots missing.

Jagged Alliance uses an action point system, which dictates everything you do. You can only move as far as you have action points to move, and that distance is significantly shortened if you’re sneaking. Abilities like whistling to lure an enemy, setting a mercenary up in overwatch, or firing your weapons all require action points, too, so you’ll have to think about whether you really want to move closer to your target for a better shot or just stay where you are and fire your weapon twice.

When firing on a target you can choose to shoot at the legs, body, or head, with much greater chance of hitting on a body shot. You can spend more action points to increase your hit chance, though, if you really need to pull off a headshot, for instance.

The first missions of Jagged Alliance’s campaign are going to be linear, you fight your way out of captivity and meet with the local rebels, but the campaign soon opens up into one where you call all the shots. The island is covered in a web of possible routes and missions – villages that need to be freed, enemy camps that can be destroyed, and also more unusual locations, like reservoirs and water treatment facilities. This is because you aren’t just fighting to clear the island of enemies but to support your revolution as you go.

Your soldiers need access to water or they will become dehydrated. You can find water bottles on the bodies of soldiers sometimes but a better bet is to take control of a reservoir. If you have Ivan on your squad you need to feed his alcohol addiction, so this might lead you to taking control of a storehouse. The island has a major pollution problem, with the enemy’s operations pumping out toxic sewage into the sea and rivers, if you drink polluted water or stay in dump sites for too long your mercenaires will become ill so you want to make sure you do what you can to treat the island’s water when the opportunity presents itself.

Time passes as you move around the island, too, meaning sometimes you will be fighting at night, sometimes at day. This can play a huge part in missions, both in the obvious – you and your enemy can see less well – and the more subtle – some of your soldiers can’t stand the dark, others thrive in it.

Jagged Alliance’s island changes in ways you can control and ways you can’t, all of it needs to be taken into account when you’re making strategic decisions in the campaign.
Other than the two character thing this doesn't sound all that bad, but of course the Jagged Alliance fanbase has heard plenty of promises over the years. They're not calling this one an RPG so we probably won't post much about it, but I'm sure our users will have plenty to say. Additional details are available on the game's Steam page.

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