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PC Game Review

Jagged Alliance: Back In Action


Format: PC
Kalypso Media
RRP: £34.99
4 260089 413788
Age Restrictions: 16+
Available 10 February 2012

History is written by the victor, so you better win against the tyranny infesting Arulco, or your band of freedom fighters and mercenaries will go down in history as terrorists. Against the military might of the dictator you have to arm, pay and generally look after your group. With the numbers against you, rushing headlong into a fight is likely to see you rushing into disaster. Diplomacy and stealth are required if you are to win the day...

Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is the new release in this combat series. With the new iteration of the game the creators have pulled a little something special out of the bag.

The previous games, sold well, but instead of sitting on their laurels, the new version has had more than a dust off. The graphics have been improved to a modern standard, allowing the player a faux god-like point of view; this is used in the main for the strategy element of the game as well as allowing you a greater visual field. When the game gets into the nitty-gritty of actual killing, you can zoom right into the action, turning the game into a first person shooter (FPS). This ability to zoom in and out can give you a real tactical advantage in a fire fight, allowing you to plan your strategy in the top down view, before committing to the FPS.

For those unfamiliar with the game there is an excellent and comprehensive tutorial to play through, even seasoned fans of the previous game in the series might do well in taking this out for a test drive to get used to the new ‘Plan and Go’ combat system.

Jagged Alliance adds in an element of people management. When you start to get your team together there is the usual range of skills which help to balance any assault force, the problem here is that whilst they may be on good terms with you, this does not mean that they will work with each other, some even flatly refuse, depending on who else is in the team. Your final team will, then, always be a bit of a compromise between wanting the optimum skill set, to juggling personnel to get as close as you can.

What holds for your people also holds for the type of equipment that you can lay your hands on and this will inform the type of strategy employed. Rather than taking on the bad guys head-on, you have to liberate the island one area at a time, this in turn gets you more cash and more cash means more and better mercenaries for your little band. You get the point, fight, win, get cash, level up then get a more difficult fight.

The AI is pretty good, although you can see the whole of the battlefield, allowing you a tactical advantage, though this is at the expense of some excitable tension where you unexpectedly find the opposition literally standing around the corner. The AI doesn’t appear to have a similar advantage, which at least evens up some of the tougher maps.

The game presents a nice balance of micro management and FPS for both fans of the series, who should enjoy the general updating of the game, without losing its intrinsic appeal and new players wanting to while away a few hours liberating the oppressed with a good deal of stealthy slaughter.


Charles Packer

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