Jagged Alliance Flashback (Full Control)
My first steps in the world of Jagged Alliance Flashback see me moving my character, a CIA operative, away from the burning helicopter wreck that was his ride a few seconds ago. The mission was to rescue a prisoner from an arms dealing smuggler who calls himself the Prince, but things didn’t quite go according to plan.
The rescue was successful, but the helicopter shot down leaving only my character and the rebel leader alive. As I search for my fellow survivor, two enemies show up and start taking potshots at my character. The real-time movement automatically switches to turn based as the battle kicks off. I order my soldier to crouch behind a nearby tree stump and start retaliating. I can choose between shooting enemies in the head, torso or legs and a handy indicator display my chances of success. After plenty of missed shots I finally dispatch my two enemies and receive a radio communication telling me to meet up with a man named Spice in another sector. I’m also awarded some money with which to hire additional mercenaries, which I proceed to do immediately.
My first choice is Victoria Waters, a Jamaican woman who has some skills in marksmanship and mechanical. I see some other familiar faces such as Dr. Clifford Highball, Skully and Ice peering back at me, but decide that Victoria will suffice for now. She shows up immediately after I hire her and together we set out for the next sector, which is reached by opening the map screen and selecting a destination from the grid. After a brief chat with one of the locals where I can select multiple questions from a dialogue tree it is off to the local bar on the other side of town. In my haste to get to the bar I blunder straight into two soldiers guarding the street and once again a turn based battle begins. With very little cover I order Victoria to move towards some trees while my soldier ducks behind a nearby goat. The enemies have the upper hand though and despite a valiant attempt by Victoria the outcome is defeat. As the level reloads, I try a different strategy and this I time maneuver my characters through a nearby market building in order to flank the two soldiers I encountered earlier. The plan is a success and the two enemies are soon taking a dirt nap. Two more soldiers guard the bar that I am heading for, but by using my character as a diversion I’m able to sneak Victoria around the back and she makes short work of the enemies. What I described is only two sectors, but it was enough to convince me that Full Control knows what they are doing.
Flashback takes place before the events of the original Jagged Alliance games and is set on the Caribbean Island group of San Hermanos. It is your job to take control of a group of mercenaries in order to liberate the island from the clutches of The Prince. The Jagged Alliance franchise, especially the second installment, are cult classics and recent attempts at rebooting the franchise, such as Jagged Alliance: Back in Action proved that the famous name alone is not enough to guarantee success. Fortunately, it seems that Full Control has the necessary respect and love for the license to ensure that they don’t disappoint fans.
The game is currently available in Early Access and while it is still very early days, the most recent content update showcases how hard the developers are at work. More weapons have been added and you now have ammo, which means guns must be reloaded. Grenades have also been added and this means you can now destroy some of the terrain. Be careful where you fling those grenades though, as characters can now bleed if injured. A day and night cycle, as well as weather has also been added to the mix and twenty two more sectors on the Northern part of the island are now accessible, which increases the playtime considerably.
There are still plenty of rough edges and the user interface is going to need an overhaul, but these are all things that will be addressed in future updates. While I could go on forever about all the features I like, I will save these for a full review, but suffice to say the developers are definitely on the right track.