It started in around 1994, not the browser game but the series that is Jagged Alliance. It has spawned games on the pc, handhelds and even some older consoles, but the series is still alive and a testament to that is the release of a new entry of the series this year, and the new browser online game, Jagged Alliance Online, which is being published by gamigo and developed by Cliffhanger Productions. Currently the game is in its closed beta phase and has yet to announce when open beta will start.
A start of a mercenary company
In the beginning the first selections players get to make are the name of your mercenary company, and who your starting merc will be.
What you're given is a decent selection of male and female candidates, and you are able to see the default skillset/ what role they can play in the group. Though if you aren't too picky on having the perfect build for your character, you can pick more for the look you like than the skillset you want to go for. You are also able to name your starter character whatever you want, and give him/her a nickname to which they will be referred to as normally.
After you make your first merc and company name you're greeted with your base of operations aka, your camp. The camp is the place you can recruit more mercenaries, patch up the wounded ones, buy new equipment, store what you have found on your operations, and fix what you broke while out on the job. Each of the stations can actually be upgraded after meeting certain criteria and can unlock certain perks like increasing the success rate of actions such as healing or repairing.
Easy to access missions
The game itself is a mission based game where you will go to objectives on a flat world map that you unlock as you get more reputation for your company and progress through missions in different locations. It is actually laid out nice and clear where you can and cannot go, places you have unlocked that you cannot access yet are black, and the contracts you can go to are gold. The only gripe I do have with the system however is that there isn't another color code or symbol for locations you have 100% on, so if you unlock enough and you are not sure which ones you've done or which ones you need to go to, you need to click and check each one.
Missions themselves play out like mini storylines as there is not a lot of actual backstory, but they put it there as sort of padding to give you the objective and why you're doing such a thing. For instance one is going after a deadbeat husband to who I guess the wife's father contracted your group. You end up going to search for him and end up destroying his car, when in the final mission for that min arc, you are told what you've done isn't enough, and he wants the guy dead. Unfortunately the meat for the story in these little arcs is so little that you can skip over them without feeling like you missed a thing, but I guess it is better than nothing.
A nice thing about the missions that I do like, and adds a bit of something for those who aren't too good with this genre and want to bulk up their characters before going to more challenging missions, is that all of the missions, even the tutorial ones are repeatable. You will get the same rewards, so you can do the easy ones over and over to stack up the rewards and buy better gear for your guys, or try to level up a weaker character that you hired.
For those of you in for more of a challenge, there is an added feature for missions. When you go on missions they give you some bonus objectives to try to complete which will give you added rewards, and a bit of bragging rights as well. They're things you don't have to do, but do if you want to challenge yourself a bit. They range from things like getting seven headshots in the mission to completing the missing in less than twenty turns. The more you complete the better the rating you get for the mission. If you get a low rating, it doesn't give you anything negative to your earnings, you just won't get the bonuses and bragging rights.
Is this a single player game?
Yes, it is a multiplayer game but it is something you'll ask yourself a lot during the course of playing the game. There is an online chat, and there are some modes to compete against other players, but other than that, it feels and plays like a single player game with an online vs. mode. Visibly the game is lacking certain features such as a buddy list, mail, trading, or even just some co-op missions to play with friends. This makes the game more for the lone wolf type person than those looking to complete missions with some friends. Being that this still is closed beta, hopefully that will change before the game is released, but for now it is a bit of a let-down.
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