Xbox Series X/S Review: Jagged Alliance 3

TBS like it’s 1999!

The country of Grand Chien is thrown into chaos when the elected president goes missing and the paramilitary force known as “the Legion” seizes control. Hire mercs, meet interesting characters, and fight in tactically deep turn-based combat in this true successor to a beloved franchise.

I was unfamiliar to the Jagged Alliance series until now, but it’s no wonder since the Jagged Alliance 2 launched 24 years ago and at the time all I had was my trusty N64. Having not played any of the series before I didn’t know what to expect other than a turn-based strategy game.

Well, this is definitely that with some rather unique characters and dark humour, full of cliches and stereotypes but definitely keeping in mind with what supposedly made the series stand out back in the day. Modern day TBS games like XCOM, Baldur’s Gate 3 and even Mario + Rabbids have brought the genre back to life with its addictive gameplay so what could an older franchise like Jagged Alliance bring to the table?

One thing it brings is unpredictability. You can decide what squad members to hire and deploy them to what way works best for you, but attacks don’t show up with a percentage chance of success like most TBS games do, so you are essentially running into each fight blissfully unaware of whether you stand a chance of surviving or not. It’s a bold move but one that definitely makes you think twice about each encounter.

Strategy games usually have a tough time translating to consoles as it’s usually more adapted to the PC crowd, but recent console entries like the ones I’ve already mentioned have done well in bringing optimised controls to their console versions. Jagged Alliance 3 does this well too, though it isn’t quite as polished in comparison. I’m not saying it’s poorly optimised, it just doesn’t have the same level of quality as those games.

Like I said, the characters are mostly walking and talking cliché stereotypes…so don’t go in expecting an epic war story like Black Hawk Down or Saving Private Ryan. This is more akin to The Expendables in that regard. Despite this, it somehow works and even though every joke won’t always land, some will definitely raise a chuckle out of you.

The visuals are decent for a game of this genre, though it won’t win any awards compared to a triple A title of this generation. The framerate is mostly solid but does have the occasional blip, while the voice-acting is as cheesy as you would expect.

The Verdict

Jagged Alliance 3 is a nice throwback to the humour of the 90s with its stereotypical cliched characters and story. It’s an addictive turn-based strategy that deserves it’s place alongside the likes of XCOM. Definitely one for fans of the genre.

Score: 8.0