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Posted on Dec 18, 2006 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Brigade E5 New Jagged Union – Game Review (PC)

By Larry Levandowski

However, towns are one of the game’s weak points. In town the squad walks around meeting the locals, selling goods, hiring mercenaries and looking for work Towns seem lifeless; and the townsfolk look like stiff dummies in a department store window. The graphics, while providing a 3D moveable camera, still look very dated. The sector map edges are harsh blue and not blended into a background, giving the experience a tabletop feel. The interface for talking with non-player characters is as spartan as their answers. Lastly, there is a great deal of needless walking around.

Mission design will not win this game many converts either. These range from very easy to very hard. An example of hard comes early in the game, when the squad still only has one or two characters. The rebel’s mission is to assassinate a traitor at long range with a sniper rifle. Killing the traitor is easy, but once that shot rings out, the squad is attacked by more than twenty well armed soldiers and police. Fortunately Brigade E5 has a liberal save and restore feature, otherwise these missions would be unplayable. But for players with patience and an eye for detail, even these hard fought battles can be satisfying.


Tactical squad combat is the real heart of Brigade E5. The level of detail managed by the game at this level is amazing. Brigade E5 does for infantry combat, what Battlefront’s Combat Mission series did for tanks. Soldiers fight from one of six postures; these range from full prone, to crouched, to walking, to sprint. When firing at an enemy, the player’s troops can aim at parts of the opponents body, select rate of fire, and how long to aim. There are over a hundred different firearms depicted, all in great detail; UZI, Mac-10, M-16, M1911, SPAS-12 automatic shotgun to name a few. Each weapon is rated for rate of fire, magazine capacity, accuracy and hitting power. To put an opponent down in one shot, there is nothing like a 12 gage shotgun at close range.

Battles are fought in real time, on a 3D map with a free moving camera. A smart pause feature works in the background to keep even large battles manageable. Pauses occur for players to issue orders whenever there is an event, like a character completing orders, or a new enemy being spotted. A nice touch is that orders like reloading, or changing weapons take a realistic amount of time to complete.

Because orders in battle are realistic, team management is the key to life. The enemy doesn’t sit idle while the player’s merc is furiously pulling out that last UZI clip from their backpack. The player learns it is important to manage ammo consumption, who is firing what weapon, and making certain someone can cover the guy reloading. The turn-based system does a great job in making all of this micro-management possible.

The AI during these tactical fights is pretty good as far as standards go. The enemy will use cover, drop prone, toss grenades, pop-up, and even try to flank your squad. They are also decent shots, and Brigade E5 pulls no punches when the player’s characters are hit; bullets are as deadly in the game as they are in real life.

Overall, Brigade E5 New Jagged Union offers some great squad combat. But the game can only be recommended for players who are willing to forgive the weak role-playing campaign and plain graphics.


Armchair General Score: 65%

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