I was most thrilled to learn today that a online game was being made of Jagged Alliance, one of the most classic Turn Based Tactical RPG's in the history of gaming. I in fact have Jagged Alliance 2 sitting on my computer, unbeaten but nearly defeated. I heard that its even getting a remake soon due to be on steam, but with real time elements which is... alright?
I tend to really dislike Tactical RTS's, as the level design in these games is usually either terrible or the game is basically turned into a puzzle game. Tactical Turn Based however usually is a lot of fun, and Jagged Alliance 2 is no exception, since its also NINTENDO HARD. Which honestly, I feel is appropriate. It was from a time where games really didn't hold your hand too much. And yes, that is fair sincet he game is litterally letting you choose some soldiers, dropping you in a jungle and telling you to kick some ass.
And so far, from what I have seen of JAO , I want to have its children. The trailer spouts off the usual bullshit "Roaring Rampage of Revenge" excuse plot and then cur dramatic music and several clips of explosions and shooting a target which normally would be completely typical if it was not feel like a complete remake of the classic game I know and love. It feels like the game was truley remade for both the fans of the game and also to appeal to strategy gamers period. Its not being turned into Mass Effect: 1940's or "Generic Cyberpunk Shooter", but its Jagged Alliance Online. That is to say, Its Jagged Alliance 2 with new content, in 3d, and the way it was meant to be.
Can I get a amen?
Now for... my doubts. The original games gave you a extensive roster of playable mercenaries you could put in your team along with your customized avatar character, which all had extensive voice acting and more or less a believable personality. The new thing, especially for online games is to just give you four to five established characters. I normally don't argue with this, as it is usually fitting. But in a online game, I hate nothing more then fighting the same five characters all of the time, especially since they are usualy only allowed a few viable playstyles.
Thankfully, the website claims there will be over 60 "types" of mercenaries and special PvP missions. I am somewhat anxious to see how they handle it, because Jagged Alliance pretty much could codify the "Anybody can die" trope. As the jungles of Arulco as I knew them were deadly, and a string of headshots could down your friends in seconds and there were no second chances. Naturally, this would be sort of awkward in a online game but it would be a nice experiment since Jagged Alliance 2 also had limited real character advancement, most merc's started pretty powerful with pretty decent accuracy. Most of the challenge was tactical. I would not mind having the ability to possibly perma-kill my foes mercs!
We also have a generic terrible mafia wars clone being done Jagged Alliance style, that I am plugging my ears and screaming "LA LA LA LA LA" whenever I hear about it, and Back in Action coming later this year by... sigh.... Kalypso. I see Kalypso like the Angry videogame nerd see's LJN. Kalypso really likes publishing remakes of games that are overpriced and usually completely miss the idea of the game they are remaking. A good example is Tropico, which litterally is the first tropico but in 3D.
I beleive I am up for the beta, according to the message I received when I signed up. Rather then a "If you are chosen" email it sounded like a "When betas out, you play" email. Which could be cool, though I don't think Gamigo is a english company, and may of flubbed their translations.