Jagged Alliance Online
Jagged Alliance Online Overview
Jagged Alliance Online brings the traditional mercenary turn-based action experience straight to your browser with this new iteration. Set in the early 90’s, Jagged Alliance Online puts you in the skin of a mercenary company commander doing various set of storyline oriented missions. Boasting solid graphics, tactical gameplay and a lot of character progression options, this is one browser game that manages to achieve a certain level of polish that makes it look more like a full feature game than something you play on your browser. Naturally, not all is sunshine and daisies; there are a lot of bugs to be found, and some intense loading times. But if you’ve been craving for some turn-based strategy action and you don’t want to dig out your old CDs, this might just be what you’re looking for.
Jagged Alliance Online Screenshots
Jagged Alliance Online Featured Video
Jagged Alliance Online Review
Jagged Alliance Online, brought to you my Gamigo, is developers Cliffhanger Productions’ first release, and it looks swell! You might have heard of the series before, as it dates all the way back to 1994, and has seen its share of iterations and console ports. It had its share of successes, until Jagged Alliance 3 fell into development hell in 2005, and rights were sold to bitComposer games. Thus came Jagged Alliance Online. If you’re worried about the essential elements, it’s all there; mercenary recruiting, tactical turn-based action, and even your own headquarters to play around with. That said, this is a competitive market, and there are plenty of fish in the sea, so how does Jagged Alliance Online fare against the competition? Read on!
Back In Action… Again!
As you may expect from it being a browser game, this is pretty accessible – just register, and there you go! When you start up the game, you’re brought to choose a portrait, name, and class. Classes work according to skills, of which there are two types. Physical includes such things as endurance, strength, reflexes, dexterity, etc, while Weapon skills include… Well, you get it! You can actually wield any weapon, what the class mainly changes is the amount of skill you start out with, and your starting gear. The classes are what you’d expect to find; scout, soldier, heavy, marksman, and commando, with each having their own way of going about the fight. Commandos, for an example, like to sneak in, then duke it out close range with SMGs and pistols, while soldiers will prefer a tank and spank approach. Once you’ve made your choice, you do your first tutorial mission. The first thought that may cross your mind if you played Back in Action, is that this looks graphically -very- similar, which is a good thing considering JAO is on a browser! That said, it looks really good, and playing full screen (tested on a 1680×1050) does not deter the quality at all, though it may cause lesser machines to struggle at times. JAO is buggy however, and come prepared for that; it crashed no less than twice during the reviewing.
Mah Name Is Mad Dawg’
If you’re not used to it, the gameplay pace might seem slow. This is turn-based strategy at its purest, and shares a lot of similarities with classics such as Fallout. Essentially, you have a number of action points to spend each turn that you may spend on moving, reloading, shooting, and once you’re done, enemies may use theirs. The success of actions like shooting is based on your skills, and the success rate is displayed before you attempt an action. There are ways to boost these of course, like aiming and crouching to better your chances at a hit, or even catching the enemy from the side. The difficulty itself is very reasonable, and unless you like your games entirely unforgiving, you shouldn’t have a problem here. Overall, the gameplay mechanics are interesting, but there’s only so much you can do here. As in, there’s not a truckload of tactical variety, and certain mechanics like cover and sneaking are very vague and/or badly explained. One thing you’re bound to encounter at this point is the loading time; the game needs to load literally after –every- action you make, and you’ll frequently find yourself waiting while the game registers a kill-shot or an explosion, which can severely hamper the immersion. Turn-based gameplay is situated entirely in missions, each of which rewards the player with money, reputation and items (with bonuses depending on performance/luck). It’s worth noting that you won’t be alone in these – the rewards from these missions can be used to form an entire team of mercs, each with their own different capabilities and specificities. And if team building is what you enjoy, well, good news; there are literally dozens of mercenaries you can recruit.
Vodka & Passports
In-between missions, you’re at the world map where you have access to your upgradeable headquarters, consisting of a shop, a workshop, an infirmary, a mercenary recruiting station and storage. From the world map, you can also access individual missions, PvP matches and the cash store. It’s actually a very neat interface, as you can upgrade most parts of your HQ, and it grows more modern as you go. Your merc squad levels through reputation, which lets you access better missions and costlier mercenaries, along with a slew of new armor and weapons. Finally, your mercs also level, encouraging you to stick with the same mercs as you go. The weapon and armor selection isn’t too bad, but it could definitely be better, and some looks are recycled throughout the game. As far as this was reviewed, there are also little to no cooperative missions, though there are quite a few PvP modes. Some annoying bits include missions absolutely REQUIRE items that, it seems, can only be bought with gold from the cash store, though you do start out with some. If you’ve already used up your gold, well, tough luck! Did I mention that the gold prices are absolutely crazy? If you’re serious about JAO, be prepared to dish out some serious money to be able to play this game consistently, not to mention competitively.
Final Verdict: Good
Jagged Alliance Online is a fun and accessible game, with an acceptable learning curve, an addictive progression system and a whole lot of style. Its tactical gameplay will appeal to turn-based strategy and Jagged Alliance fans alike, though the latter might mourn the striking resemblance to Back to Action. While its few bugs and lacks sometimes break the immersion, it’s nothing crippling, and it manages to bring the customer a full, solid experience that will keep them coming back for more. Give this one a try!
Jagged Alliance Online Links
Jagged Alliance Online System Requirements
OS: Windows XP, OS X 10.5 Leopard
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo
RAM: 2 Gb DDR2
HDD: 500 Mb
Graphics Card: GMA X3100
Browser: Internet Explorer 8+, Firefox, Opera, Safari