Jagged Alliance: Rage is a turn-based strategy RPG combat game that follows on 20 years after the Jagged Alliance 2. You find yourself leading a set of mercenaries as you attempt to bring down a drug lord and their army of followers on their own island. Yes it does sound like a typical drug film
You are thrown straight into the game with only a short cutscene between pressing start and surviving the first mission. The first decision you have to make is which 2 mercenaries to take on this adventure with you. Players returning to the series will recognise your choices as older versions of the mercenaries you left 20 years ago!
Each one of these characters comes with pros and cons so you need to select ones that fit your playstyle and work well together. Some of the pros include more inventory space, more health points or increased accuracy with certain weapon types while the cons include not being able to use certain weapons, taking fall damage when jumping down or being more prone to infection. You can only select 2 characters so pick wisely as the cons really hit you hard in certain missions.
Once you have the mercenaries of your choice you start the campaign of taking down this drug lord. After you have completed the first mission you are introduced to the island map. Here you move around the island not only picking what missions to take on next but deciding where to rest to heal your characters or check your weapons. An interesting mechanic with this map style campaign is the enemy do not rest, they are always moving and can catch you while you are resting which starts an ambush.
Visually the game looks really good, the style remains true to the original Jagged Alliance feel but is updated to current gen standard. The lighting on some of the levels is fantastic and the game maintains a retro look and feel to it. I really enjoyed the level design and they offered a range of approaches and plenty of cover if you ended up in that gun fight.
Gameplay is turn-based with each of your actions taking up a number of action points depending on what move you make rather than just getting 2 standard actions. This caught me out a few times as I would move too far with one action which would then mean I couldn’t go into overwatch. Stealth is the favoured approach to most levels, with only 2 characters to do damage with you need to pick off who you can before starting a gunfight.
Another mechanic in this game is the new Rage system. As your character builds adrenaline from kills or taking damage you will get Rage points. These allow you to activate a special ability depending on what character you have selected. At times these special abilities can really turn a fight in your favour so keeping track of your Rage points becomes key.
This game has some extra depth to it as you need to manage your mercenaries between missions. Health does not just regenerate unless you rest and use an action to recover. You need to keep your characters hydrated with clean water or they may get infections. Bleeding can occur from taking too many wounds. Overall there is a lot to keep track of between missions and adds another level of challenge to this game.
The main negative for this game though is it can sometimes feel tough to enjoy it with a controller. This game certainly fits better with a keyboard and mouse as you may find navigating the combat menu frustrating at times and on a few occasions moving your players can go wrong with an analogue stick. There is a lack of dialogue options for enemies as well that depending on how many times you may repeat a mission can start to drag.
Overall this is a good game and offers a decent amount of content. Yes, the game can be difficult at times due to the port to console, but it plays well. Get over the sometimes frustrating controls and this game has a lot to offer.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*