by Marcus Mulkins
previewed on PC
Done badly, but worth doing again?
If you're fortunate, you avoided a game entitled Brigade E 5: New Jagged Union. (If you didn't, you have my condolences.) 7.62 mm is a sequel to that quirky, jerky... Oh, just attach a long string of derogatory words; I'm sure you get the idea.
Brigade E 5: New Jagged Union was a blatant attempt to tie in to the quite popular Jagged Alliance series. In 7.62 mm, one can only hope that 1C Company has cleaned up most of the bugs and poor performance issues. The last I heard, the version released in Russia already has three patches and a Weapons mod. Given that in Russia there is no disgruntled customer product return option, some game developers and publishers understand that once sold, a game stays sold. This obviously hurts Beta testing and quality control. Let us hope that 1C Company will be releasing a 'final' version this September.
The world is filled with naught but Bad Guys
7.62 mm - a title referencing a weapon's ammunition caliber - is a turn-based shooter. (What a surprise.) The player assembles a team of mercenaries with varying skills and supplies them with weapons and equipment from a veritable arsenal that encompasses 150 weapons with a wide assortment of ammunition. The mix-and-match possibilities are practically infinite.
You start with a mission briefing where you are informed that your team will be going after a Russian "businessman" that pissed off his partners by skimming a large amount of operating capital and then skipped off to an unspecified locale in Latin America. His former partners are not pleased and they would like Bad Things to happen to their "business" bad boy. That's where you come into the picture, as the Maker of Bad Things Happen. You pick your team from a selection of 30 mercenaries, then you get to play Barbie Dress Up as you load them up with weapons and equipment. (Don't forget LOTS of things that go "kaboom!")
Tempus fugit; welcome to Latin America. Corrupt government. Military for hire. Drug cartels. Rebels. _Lots_ of personnel options for Mr. Bad Boy to hire adequate bodyguards so he can sleep peacefully at night. Plus, with lots of ill-gotten cash on hand, he can afford to buy Friends in High Places. So your itty bitty mercenary strike force gets to infiltrate a sincerely dreary looking tropical landscape, battle through a battalion of bad boy's perimeter protection, and then deliver the wrath of Partners Past up close and personal. And don't forget the dramatic exit through the cordone of annoyed recently unemployed.
Should be a piece of cake, right? Riiigggghhhhttt.
Tiptoe, through the minefields...
One of the game's big sales points is a thing called "Smart Pause Mode". Supposedly this is going to provide a RTS "feel" to combat, with LOTS of breaks in the flow of combat which allows you to continually tweak your action/equipment choices. If this still operates as it did in Brigade E 5, what it will really mean is that it will reduce the speed of combat to a crawl. That is, a single combat will take one or more hours - in a game that involves hundreds of combats. But also supposedly, the graphics engine has been upgraded, so maybe the game won't drag along quite as slow. (I'm not holding my breath.)
A worthwhile feature (yes, it does have ONE) is that the storyline is open-ended. That means you are NOT constrained to a string-of-pearls plot. Which means that if you're a person of infinite patience, you'll get a decent amount of replay value as you start over and over and over again, adjusting which direction you turn at various points in order to find a satisfactory The End.
Coming to a store near you
If you actually liked Brigade E 5, look for 7.62 mm come September. More than likely, expect to part with $29.99. But I doubt very much if this is going to be the kind of game that would warrant sacrificing your lunch money for.
Then again, maybe you need to go on a diet. In which case, by all means... And perhaps we can hope that there are real improvements from the previous title that will make this more worthwhile.