Review – Jagged Alliance: Rage!

Remember back in my Travis Strikes Again review, when I said that I really dislike when developers come up with smaller-scale spin offs in order to simultaneously calculate fan interest and raise funds for a proper sequel to a long-forgotten franchise? Well, here we are again with yet another example, this time around with Jagged Alliance: Rage!; a low-effort spin off to the classic turn-based strategy series Jagged Alliance, once known as the Rolling Stones to XCOM‘s Beatles back in the day.

Jagged Alliance: Rage! is a collection of somewhat decent ideas tarnished by terrible execution. This is a turn-based strategy game with an emphasis on stealth and colorful characters. While the original games revolved around creating and managing an insurgence against a dictatorship, this one is nothing more than a bunch of loosely connected chapters linked by a very forgettable story in a map in which almost nothing of interest actually happens.

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Did last time look as ugly as now?

They say first impressions are usually last impressions, and if that’s the case, then Jagged: Alliance Rage! fails right from the start. This game looks ugly, purely and simply. I did ignore the bizarre art style chosen for the game’s introductory cutscenes, thinking it was just a questionable artistic decision, but once the game actually starts, oh boy what an ugly sight to behold. Jagged Alliance: Rage! looks like a typical Unity-built mobile title released more than a decade ago, back when the iTunes App Store was still easy to explore. Adding insult to injury, the game’s framerate is still choppy and inconsistent despite the low-quality polygons and textures scattered throughout the map.

The sound department is also very unremarkable. The soundtrack isn’t necessarily a huge offender, as it’s the typical soundtrack you barely pay attention to throughout the whole game, but the voice acting is what irritated me the most. It’s not only the fact that the performances are poor and uninspired, but also the fact those lines are constantly repeated throughout the whole game, as if the devs were forced to come up with a long story with half a day’s worth of studio recording.

The gameplay is just as basic as a turn-based tactics game can get. There are some neat features such as choosing between walking silently across short distances or running loudly to reach farther places. Each character has their own pros and cons, with none of them feeling more useful than the other, in true Overwatch fashion. That’s where the positives end, as the huge emphasis on stealth makes the game excessively punitive if you decide to play in any other manner, even when you pick a character carrying a huge weapon. At the same time, you can easily exploit the fact the enemies possess one of the most brain-dead AIs from this generation, especially if you decide to wield a sniper rifle. Find a vantage spot more or less half a dozen steps away from the guards and watch your character massacre them without a sweat, as they take an eternity to realize they’re being attacked if said aggressor isn’t in front of them.

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“You guys do have phones, right?”

If we didn’t have the option of playing games like Mario + Rabbids, XCOM 2, Mutant Year Zero and many others on our current-gen consoles, then Jagged Alliance: Rage! would have been a much more interesting game to tackle, despite its various shortcomings. However, we live in a world in which all of these much superior games exist and don’t even get me started on the amount of fantastic games available on PC. Rage! just doesn’t have anything appealing in its favor; it’s ugly as sin, its gameplay is simplistic at best, and its sound design is tiresome. It’s best left forgotten.

 

Graphics: 3.0

Looks as ugly as a mobile game and runs as poorly as trying to make a AAA title run on a laptop.

Gameplay: 6.0

Your typical turn-based strategy gameplay adapted into a controller. Doesn’t do anything spectacular, but it works as it should.

Sound: 4.5

A very unremarkable soundtrack and a lot of uninspired voice acting that’s constantly looped throughout the game.

Fun Factor: 4.0

Not only does this game bring absolutely nothing new or interesting to the table, but its dated visuals and below average performance make it even more underwhelming to experience.

Final Verdict: 4.5

Jagged Alliance: Rage! is available now on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Reviewed on Xbox One.

A copy of Jagged Alliance: Rage! was provided by the publisher.

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