Jagged Alliance – Back in Action is a squad-based, turn-based strategy by bitComposer Games. Unlike many other strategy games, this one does not involve the construction of a massive fighting force in order to obliterate your enemies. The game involves completing various contracted objectives by utilising the specific skills and attributes of a small group of player-selected, hired mercenaries. These objectives are aimed at being as potentially realistic as possible, giving the game a somewhat simulation style within its strategic core.
The game play interface is very easy to pick up by completing a tutorial which lasts little more than 20 minutes. Then you can get down to the real action. Following a realistic briefing style you are able to view all of the mercenaries who are at your disposal. Naturally in the earlier missions you cannot hire all of these due to a lack of funds, but the game begins with all of them available. Each individual mercenary has their own specific skills and attributes which you must combine and utilise in order to complete your missions. For example, some are good medics but poor fighters, some are excellent marksmen and others are highly skilled in hand-to-hand or melee combat. Once you have chosen the mercenaries who you want to use you are ready to begin the mission.
During the hands on game play, there are two methods in which you can give your mercenaries orders. One is in the natural, real-time strategy method of right clicking to move. You can also open doors, search bodies and order an attack in this way. If you need or prefer a more tactical approach to a situation at hand then you can pause the gameplay in order to designate a chain of orders to each mercenary in turn. Furthermore, you can order the mercenaries to complete these orders in time with each other, for example you can set an order to only open fire when all mercenaries are in a position to do so. Each mercenary also has their own individual inventory in game, adding realism to the game play as the only way to exchange this equipment is to do so physically. If you require more equipment in-game then you must capture an airfield or find a vendor. Capturing an airfield is however the only way to bring more mercenaries into a mission, assuming you have the funds to do so. Other than this the game is mostly down to the personal strategies of the player.
The graphics of the game are very good considering it is a strategy. You can maintain the classic aerial view during game play, but you can also zoom in closer to the action. Furthermore, you can pan and rotate the camera during game play, which allows a more in-depth view of the environments, as well as new perspectives for attack strategies. Other strategies have had more impressive graphics before this game, but the attention to detail is clear here. The sound effects of the game are somewhat less impressive though. The background noises can be described first as unusual, and after a few minutes of playing, annoying. For example, in a jungle setting, the background noises are intended to sound like wild animals. This is fine until you have been playing for about ten minutes and the same wild animals make the same noises over and over every few seconds. At this point you may find you want to give up. The other sound effects in the game, such as gunfire and explosions, seem to have been given less attention. The sounds resemble game-style gunfire and explosions more than real-life ones; however this does not affect the experience of the game all too much in this case. You find yourself spending far more time worrying about how to fire your gun and where from than what it sounds like when you do.
Overall this is a strategy game which would seemed to be targeted at players who are experienced in the genre and are happy to spend a long time playing to complete smaller tasks. There are certain issues with the game which are negative, these mainly being the difficulty of attacking a moving opponent without using the paused command system and the irritable repeating backing noises. On the other hand, the game is blessed with a different approach to many classic strategy games which is highly enjoyable and interactive. The graphics which have been produced are also rather impressive and certainly add to the experience. If you are new to the strategy world I would not suggest this as the first game you try, however to the more strategic minds out there this is a game you would probably enjoy.
Graphics – Good for this genre of game.
Sounds – Repetitive and annoying, but some are fitting.
GamePlay – Interactive, interesting and tactical.
An interesting and interactive game to play, but with some issues and not suited to everyone.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.