Urban Strife sounds like Jagged Alliance 2, but it’s infested with zombies

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MicroProse, originally co-founded by Sid Meier almost 40 years ago, made a surprising return this year. It looks like it’s picked up where it left off, publishing games that feel most at home on PC, typically with a tactical or sim bent. The latest is Urban Strife, a mix of turn-based tactics, management and roleplaying during a zombie apocalypse. Check out the trailer above. 

Developed by White Pond Games, Urban Strife is set after the zombies have wiped out civilisation, but they’ve yet to finish the job and zombify every single human. That means you’ve got time to build up your shelter, make deals with a trio of factions, put together a team of gun-toting survivors and generally prepare for the return of the horde of wandering corpses. 

So many turn-based tactics games get compared to XCOM these days, but Urban Strife’s got more in common with the Sir-Tech classic Jagged Alliance 2. Like the tactical merc RPG, Urban Strife boasts a dynamic campaign where you’ll have to go out and explore, chatting up NPCs and engaging in a bit of diplomacy in an effort to unite the last specks of humanity. This time, though, the NPCs apparently have their own lives and allegiances, with their morality determined by the faction they’ve joined. 

Urban Strife’s got a trio of factions: army rebels, a cult of zombie-lovers and a biker gang—standard post-apocalyptic fare—and you’ll be able to work with them or, if diplomacy breaks down, add them to the large list of things that you have to shoot. 

As well as fighting off any factions you’ve pissed off as you try to expand, you’ll naturally encounter some of those moaning, shuffling zombies. The thing is, zombies usually s*** in turn-based games. Fighting off hordes of enemies who sluggishly move one by one is a chore, but Urban Strife’s reanimated corpses use a horde AI that means they all move in a single turn. Each is still an individual enemy, but when it comes to movement they all act as a single unit. 

Like Jagged Alliance 2, you’ll fight during the day and at night, and sticking to the shadows means you’ll be able to sneak around and use melee for silent takedowns, or set up your squad for an ambush. You’ll be sneakier at night, but using cover, stealth is still viable when the sun is out. And speaking of lighting things up, you can use fire as a weapon, which will dynamically destroy anything flammable that it encounters. 

Urban Strife is coming out next year on Steam, but MicroProse says there will be an opportunity to play before that.