Year:  2023

Director:  Boyan Ivanov, Boian Spasov

Rated:  MA

Release:  Out Now

Distributor: Dead Good Games

Running time: 50-70 hours

Worth: $11.00
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

… an engaging enough throwback on PC, but a somewhat less than stellar experience on Playstation and XBOX.

Turn-based RPGs and strategy games have come a long way on the console. What was once considered a genre exclusively for the PC “master race” has, in recent times, expanded its reach. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus, Pillars of Eternity 1 & 2, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous and of course the record-breaking megahit Baldur’s Gate 3 have all proven the relative ease with which these mouse and keyboard experiences can be transferred to the couch. Jagged Alliance 3, a resurrection of a niche but beloved series that hasn’t seen a mainline entry since 1999, is the latest game to try and make the transition. The result is an engaging enough throwback on PC, but a somewhat less than stellar experience on Playstation and XBOX.

Jagged Alliance 3 is a throwback ‘80s action yarn about a disparate group of mercenaries who are on a mission to save the kidnapped president of fictitious country, Grand Chien. To do this they must team up with the president’s daughter, and one another, to take on various missions that involve a lot of sneaking, killing, swearing and then reloading a saved game; because, despite the boneheaded premise, the action takes place in tactical turn-based style and an unforgiving one at that.

Players familiar with titles like X-COM or the aforementioned Mechanicus will have a vague idea of how the game plays out, with plenty of trial and error, missed shots and failed stealth runs keeping things very spicy indeed. Unfortunately, this is where we run up against the biggest problem on consoles. While Jagged Alliance 3 is a decent experience on PC, the console version just hasn’t had enough work done to make it sing. Even moving your characters around the map is a chore, with no free movement option available (unlike almost every other console port of a Turn-based game) and constantly clicking a cursor with a controller, as opposed to a mouse, just doesn’t feel natural or accurate. Add to this tiny text fonts (even on the largest setting), a bizarre control scheme and fiddly inputting, and the result is multiple headaches and pains in various body parts. These accumulate over time and add up to an experience that just doesn’t feel very good.

Look, if you’re a Jagged Alliance superfan who doesn’t own a PC, maybe it’s worth the time, effort and frustration to persevere with this clunky, unintuitive port. However, those of you who are new to the series, or the lucky ducks who own a solid gaming rig, should stay far away from the console version of Jagged Alliance 3, at least until developers Haemimont Games have sent their own team of mercs in to fight the real bad guy: poor optimisation.