Originally released in the 1990s, Jagged Alliance was a turn-based tactics game in which you assembled a dream team of mercenaries from a catalog, much like you were browsing Amazon for assassins. They weren’t all on the same page, and while they’d all help you take back the island of Metavira sector by sector, they weren’t all on the same page when it came to their personalities. Competitiveness flared, some demanded raises, quit if their friends were fired, or ignored orders if they weren’t allowed to finish off an enemy in a timely manner. It was just as important to manage their unpredictable personalities as it was to budget your action points.
Following the release of Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire in 2004, the series went dormant for a number of years. More recent sequels Jagged Alliance Online, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, Jagged Alliance Flashback, and Jagged Alliance: Rage! have all received negative reviews, despite the fact that they are perfectly positioned for an XCOM-style resurrection.
As of now, the series is in the hands of Haemimont Games, the Bulgarian studio that brought you Tropico 3, 4, and 5, as well as Surviving Mars and Victor Vran, among other titles. He claims to be “finally create a true successor to the beloved series” with his upcoming project. Do we have the right to be optimistic?
Specifically, according to the press release, “Jagged Alliance 3 will combine tactically deep, turn-based combat with the exploration of a large game world, along with strategic elements such as gaining control over territories, training local forces, and establishing multiple squads drawn from beloved mercenaries – all of which will be familiar to series fans. So far, everything appears to be in order, including the mention of “looting and customizing your arsenal of weaponry” which was a big part of the appeal of the original games. It will also feature cooperative multiplayer.
A number of familiar faces appear in the trailer, including mercenaries Vicki Waters, Ivan Dolvich, and “bomb guy” Fidel Dahan, who are once again involved in a fictional country’s devastation. “Grand Chien” is the setting this time, and it’s “a land thrown into chaos after a brutal paramilitary force known as ‘the Legion’ took control.”
Firaxis XCOM’s slick modernity and Jagged Alliance’s attention to detail appear to have been combined in the gameplay, which involves characters spending action points and targeting specific body parts. It appears that Fidel has a “signature ability” that allows him to throw two grenades at the same time, which is pretty in-character, and the roster of mercs includes more seasoned veterans such as Tex, Igor, Wolf, Hitman, Red, Steroid, MD, and Buns, among others.
I’m still unsure as to which aspects of the previous games will be included in this new installment. Do you think you’ll be able to go prone? Are you able to create your own Molotov cocktails? Is it possible to open doors with grenades if you don’t want to bother with picking the lock? They are not all required, but they would be nice to have. I want to believe that the series can be fantastic once more, but I’ve been burned in the past.
Although a release date for Jagged Alliance 3 has not yet been announced, you can get Jagged Alliance 1: Gold Edition for free on Steam until September 23.
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