For those who like the idea of Frozen Synapse in the jungle, or know what I mean when I say “7.62 – High Calibre with polish” or “Silent Storm in semi-realtime”, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is on sale for ten smackers on Steam. In short, let me summarise the ups and downs.

The Good

  • Well-implemented tactical mechanics with the ‘plan and go’ system. Turns a real-time tactical squad game into Frozen Synapse or, to a lesser extent, Baldur’s Gate, at the press of a button. What’s more, the system also allows for plotted actions to be synced, so one character can hold their fire until another character begins the corresponding synced action.
  • Detailed and varied maps, with multiple levels and day/night cycling.
  • Hideously deep and varied customisation of items, weapons, armours, uniforms etc.
  • Post-patch allows for hardcore mode and Line of Sight/Source of Sound enemy detection.

The Bad

  • Not nearly as deep in the character department as Jagged Alliance 2.
  • Recast voice acting is iffy.
  • Certain aspects lacking, such as sending mercenaries to settlements as military trainers and advisers.
  • Arming civilians is finicky.
  • Camera is slightly cumbersome.

The Verdict? If you like the idea of micromanaging a small squad of guerrillas around highly detailed environments, building your own emergent narratives from incredibly high-stakes encounters and thinking on the fly when it all goes downhill, then this is certainly up your alley.

Indulge if you’d like to adopt the bastard child of Commandos 2 and Rainbow Six.
Steer clear if you’re looking for Dawn of War.

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