Jagged Alliance: Rage – Review
Follow Genre: Tactical turn based RPG
Developer: Cliffhanger Productions
Publisher: HandyGames/THQ Nordic
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PS4

Jagged Alliance: Rage – Review

Site Score
7.8
Good: Keeps the player immersed
Bad: Cell shaded graphics feel wasted because of the top down view
User Score
7.8
(5 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.8/10 (5 votes cast)

Jagged Alliance: Rage is a game in the Jagged Alliance series. The series goes back all the way to the ‘DOS’ era. The first game in the series was released in 1995. So the franchise has officially matured and grown out of adolescence. Sirtech was the oldest gaming company involved in the series, having been founded as early as 1979. Jagged Alliance: Rage was developed by Cliffhanger Productions, who are also known for Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown and Aerena – Clash of Champions, among others. What all the games developed by Cliffhanger Productions have in common is that they are all tactical role playing games. So they know what they are doing.

Story

Set 20 years after the first game in the series, Jagged Alliance: Rage sets the scene on a jungle island. So what will these hardened veterans be pitted against? A vicious swarm of mosquitoes? An anthill the size of minivan? Nothing that dangerous, surely. Just a drug lord and his vast army. So you’ll have to command your crew to take down the degenerate and help the villagers on the island reclaim their rightful place in the sun, without having to worry about getting shot for no apparent reason.

There are several ‘heroes’ for you to choose from, when using the term ‘heroes’, they sound quite powerful, but to be honest, all of them have their flaws. Like being strong as a bull but losing yourself if you don’t have a drink every now and then. Being a master at stealth, but extremely vulnerable to infections and bleeding. It all makes them seem more human and even though there’s little background about the protagonists, these little ‘quirks’ tell more about them and help the player shape their vision of the character, like an extra layer of role playing added onto the already existing base.

Graphics

Jagged Alliance: Rage has the ‘Borderlands’ vibe to it, with its jungle setting and rather vibrant color palette and more importantly its cel-shaded graphics. The problem with it is that this aesthetic goes to waste a bit as you zoom out, and is also lost on the overhead view you have when in missions. Then again, the set up and the characters wouldn’t quite work being rendered in full 4K high fidelity aesthetics. As far as an artistic choice, it works. It’s nothing mind blowing, but it’s not the world’s worst transgressor, graphics wise.

Sound

When you play a tactical turn based role playing game, music is very, very important, even more so than in an ordinary action adventure game. Just to clarify, bad music or crappy voice acting in a great action adventure game won’t do it any favors, no matter how stellar the rest is, but at least there, the developer can overthrow this with over the top action to keep the mind occupied as you mow down the opposition. In tactical turn based role playing games, like Jagged Alliance: Rage, you won’t have a continuous stream of action, but moments of picking out your targets and setting up the pawns so you can strike in the most effective way possible. In these moments, the music becomes apparent. The voice acting is… capable, it’s not going to blow the players’ minds, but it’s non offensive in quality, so props to the voice actors. A good thing about the voice acting that should be noted is the accents of the playable characters. They make them more unique, so there’s that at least.

Gameplay

Jagged Alliance: Rage is a tactical turn based role playing game. Fans of games in the vein of XCOM, rejoice, for Jagged Alliance: Rage is here to fill the drought left when talking about capable games in that genre. You’ll have to make choices that will change the battlefield and fans of the XCOM games will know that choosing is losing. This means you’ll be taking your time to assess the situation and note every detail before you strike, or you’ll come to regret it.

The fun thing about the characters is that every single one is different. It’s not just generic soldier with X stats vs generic soldier with Y stats. Every character has their own strengths and weaknesses. Where players of XCOM noted that it felt painful when a character you invested so much time into died, here that’s even amplified, because the characters feel like actual human beings because of their flaws. In XCOM soldiers could be seen as generic and replaceable, which isn’t the case in Jagged Alliance: Rage.

If you successfully kill enemies, you’ll be able to loot them. Mind you, picking up every item in the game won’t be possible as inventory space is limited. So even if you do manage to come out on top of the battle, the decision making won’t end. Using certain items on certain characters will be a necessity, or not using them might be one too. Like not using dirty bandages on a character that has a high chance to catch infections. Then again, if you don’t, he might bleed out, so you’ll have to risk one thing over the other. This makes the game, even out of combat quite deep. So once you’re into it, it immerses the player and holds them there. This is a massive kudos for the developer, because they managed to do what games are designed for.

Conclusion

Jagged Alliance: Rage is a game in a series that – in human years – has the right to vote, drive a car and smoke, but that doesn’t mean that it has been released as an afterthought or a way to prey on someone’s feelings of nostalgia. It’s a rather decently crafted game that will please fans of the tactical turn based role playing games, even newcomers will enjoy it as the difficulty can be turned down making it less infuriating than the games in the XCOM series.

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Rating: 7.8/10 (5 votes cast)
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Jagged Alliance: Rage - Review, 7.8 out of 10 based on 5 ratings
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First game ever was Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped, ever since then, gaming has been something that I've gravitated to. Reading's fun but not as interactive. Always up for a bout of online multiplayer. If that multiplayer is co-op. So if you are up for a friendly co-op session, hit me up. Rahenik's the name to search on PSN.

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