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JAGGED ALLIANCE: RAGE - Expect the worst, hope for even worse

Jagged Alliance Rage - Wallpaper
Jagged Alliance Rage - Logo

  This seems like good news for all fans of Jagged Alliance and Commandos-like games: A new game of the famous series is underway at the developer "Cliffhanger Productions", thanks to THQ Nordic and its HandyGames label. Right? 😊 WRONG.🤬


  I can hear already you screaming "stop judging games which aren't even out yet!"
But... This kinda looks terrible, though. Also, a friend made me notice something...
Jagged Alliance was always about decent mercenaries fighting for a noble cause and helping other people. This trailer makes it look like we're going to play damn bloodthirsty psychos... (Which also reminds us of "Inglorious Basterds", which makes the resistance look bad and psychotic, and nazis heroic... This is wrong on so many levels...)

A LITTLE FLASHBACK

Jagged Alliance 1, 1994
Good old JA1. It got a bit old, you've got to admit it.
 In 1994, Jagged Alliance 1 came out. It was a not-so-revolutionary but still very enjoyable TBS(turn-based strategy) game, blending very well combat, strategy and resource management. You had to manage guerilla mercenaries in a merciless fight against the evil "Santino".

It was then completely outdated by its sequel, Jagged Alliance 2, in 1999. Much better graphics, timeless charismatic characters, a more "sandbox" almost RPG-like approach to strategy, extremely active modding community(still in 2018!), etc. (it did have a few problems like cover and line-of-sight, which have never been fixed by mods...)

Jagged Alliance 2 Montage
JAGGED ALLIANCE 2 - "Oh mon dieu! That was more satisfying than an orgasm!" Yes, she actually said this, this is not a mod. 😅


And then, nothing. Countless amateur game developers tried to create sequels, but each new attempt was more and more ridiculous, plagued by dumbed-down gameplay(can't close doors? Seriously?), and the remarkable absence of any soul. "Back in Action", "Flashback", "Rage"...Oops, wait, Rage isn't out yet, let's give it a chance!

Well, The Jagged Alliance series is back with this new episode, developed by Cliffhanger Productions, which did... "Jagged Alliance Online: Reloaded". Gulp. Not exactly a good sign...

DON'T HOLD YOUR BREATH

Jagged Alliance Rage - bridge - terrible cartoonish graphics
I have a TERRIBLE feeling about these cartoonish and unrealistic graphics...

  Taking place twenty years after JA2, this spin-off will test your limits, taking you on a dangerous trip to a tropical island. Ruled by a ruthless local drug lord and his army of mercenaries, you will have to use cunning strategies to eliminate your opponents. 

The two heroes you control(yes, only two!) are not only psychotic, they're also typical anti-heroes: for example, one is a former alcoholic mercenary, another one is an ex-ranger, still recovering after having leukemia. And you'll have to deal with their new ailments and deficiencies, to survive in this hostile jungle.

WELCOME BACK, SHADOW.
A great point, though: apparently, ALL of the returning mercs of "Rage" are the ones present in the original games, JA1 and JA2.

Jagged Alliance Rage - Nighttime
Caption this picture and win nothing!

The game is way more "streamlined", removes most of the micro-management, and narrows the array of actions to move, shoot, sneak, and use, which might turn the JA experience into something more fast-paced, but also more casual...
Except... Enemy A.I. is extremely slow, reminding us a bit of the great but kinda outdated Silent Storm, in which each new level was more and more sluggish...

At least, we can still freely explore maps once everybody is dead (yeah, we don't really make prisoners in Jagged Alliance...), and also, your team doesn't magically recover their health once you cleared one sector.

The game is still unfinished and has countless bugs, making it still unplayable at the moment. So, as we always say, wait and see!
 
Jagged Alliance: Rage! will be released on PC, PS4, and XBOX ONE, at a date not yet announced, but it should be in Autumn 2018.

RECOMMENDED GAME!
Shadow Tactics - Blades of the Shogun - MarketYou want a REALLY good strategy game? Try "Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun" instead! 

Taking place in feodal Japan, this REAL-time strategy game is  more similar to Commandos 2 and Desperados than Jagged Alliance 2 though, but you'll get more bang for your buck. 

Phenomenal art direction, methodical real-time stealthy gameplay, big maps with multiple paths, satisfying kills... One of the best strategy games since the past 10 years.

Jagged Alliance Rage - Hazardous waste jungle
Nice! The hazardous waste jungle!


WILLY'S BIASED OPINION - THIS GAME MAKES ME FEEL LIKE SLAPPING ELLIOT.
And it's not even out yet.

Sorry, I just don't believe it's going to be good. 
This looks like it has NOTHING to do with jagged alliance, especially if you compare it to the latest v1.13. The few gameplay videos made it clear that the game is very simple compared to JA2, making it look like almost like a turn-based version of Cannon Fodder... Ahem.

Only two mercenaries? Seriously? One more insult for strategists... They think we can't handle a 6-mercs team? And it seems that equipment is very limited...
In Jagged Alliance 2, we could lead a whole team of mercenaries that can expand and improve depending on the resources we can scavange and our strategy. Even better, we could split it into several independent groups, not just 2 basterds like in this game. 

Something tells me we're not getting even close to the original JA2 feeling with this seemingly arcade game...

By the way, I'm not sure that I ever saw good games which had "!" in the title. 

Prove me wrong in the comments.😅
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