Written by  :  Indra is stressed (20706)
Written on  :  May 13, 2006
Rating  :  3.14 Stars3.14 Stars3.14 Stars3.14 Stars3.14 Stars

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Improvements? What Improvements?

The Good

  • Review of JA2: Wildfire for version 5-something.
  • Difficulty Level Played: Expert
  • Second review update (2007).

    I think I've played all of JA2 games, from the original to all those weird expansions. When I got my hands on Wildfire, I was expecting something different. Uh, either my memory serves me wrong or I really don't know what the difference is with JA 2 the original version.

    Regardless, the game is still addictive as hell. I've always been a die-hard fan of turned-based RPGs and combat scenes like X-Com and Fallout. Jagged Alliance is one of the best when it comes to turned based RPG combat unlike console tactical Japanese RPGs.

    There are some improvements worth mentioning, but you'd probably hardly notice it:

  • They changed the intro cut-scene a bit. For whatever reason.
  • Enemies are hugely more difficult than the original JA2. But that's about it.
  • Penalties for dead civilians have a higher effect own town support. Regardless if they attack you first. Hey, that isn't fair!
  • Apparently there are more weapon types. But only accessible if you choose the "tons of guns" settings. Somewhat odd, but this option actually means that there are more various guns available (quality-speaking, as opposed to quantity). Ironic that I only found this out several years later...

    The Bad

    Did someone mention this was an improvement of JA2 the original game? Same game, same Arulco map, same story. If there was something new worth mentioning that qualifies it to an expansion (instead of a patch) I see it.

    Probably everyone else didn't see it either, since the same dang bugs are still there (aren't they supposed to fix this already, you wonder?)

    So is it the same game? Yep.
    Same Arulco? Yep.
    Same story? Yep.
    Same bugs? Yep.

    Either I'm playing the original JA2 (which I'm sure I'm not, since the main screen has a big "WILDFIRE" written all over it) or I'm missing something? (besides the fact that the enemy AI is more difficult and 90% of doors and chests in the game are locked).

    What is irritating about this game is that it's an expansion. A stand-alone expansion to be exact. Now from where I come from, stand-alone expansions, hell...expansions are supposed to be different. Different like Europe and Africa different. Still talking about continents but different in that setting.

    So besides me whining that the gameplay didn't change, the story/plot didn't change, darn it even the dang bugs didn't change, one wonders if this game actually qualifies as an expansion. Actually come to think of it, it shouldn't. No wonder the new developers didn't get paid....

    The same bugs from JA2 still exist, but I perceive that more bugs found its way into Wildfire:
  • Game sometimes crashes when an explosion occurs (via grenade, mortar, mine, or you kicking your monitor due to irritation);
  • Save games sometimes become corrupted when saving games, for no particular reason;
  • Game fails exit properly, often forcing you to restart your computer since it prevents you from entering the desktop (windows);
  • Helicopter where Skyrider the pilot doesn't seem to want to take-off due to one reason or the other;
  • The chalice sometimes gets stuck and can't be picked up.

    Another thing I really regret in the game is turn-based combat while having militia present as allies. The thing is, I hate waiting. And waiting for the militia (and civilians) to move takes too long. Especially when out of no where your mercs get headshots from out of the blue from trigger happy militia allies. If I'm not patient enough, I just "end program" and restart/reload the game again.

    The fact that restarting the game via "end program" is faster than waiting for the opponent/allies to move is somewhat odd in my perspective. Even more irritating when your militia allies don't do much but run around in circles (that and use their walkie-talkies which doesn't seem to have any particular use it seems). Couldn't they just "fast-forward" this useless graphical nonsense?

    One last bug I'm really pissed about concerns Kingpin town: San Mona. Here is the only place that sells decent weapons. However, sometimes (if not more than often) when I come back to this joint, the whole town fires upon me! What happened? Sure I shot a few cows along the way but why are they firing on me? I wouldn't careless if everyone shoots at me, but the thing is, the dude that sells guns (Hans) doesn't like my face either. I've restarted the game one too many times to avoid this game but to no avail.

    In relation to the above, well it turns out in this stupid version of Jagged Alliance, I recently found out that this has to do with the new "mafia" feature. In Wildfire, you have a lot of armed civilians who don't take lightly on you stealing their stuff. Now the problem with this mafia force is that if you kill or attack one mafia bloke, you declare war on the entire Aruclo crime organization. Which also happens to be everyone in Kingpin town. Well, since you can't rectify the situation when all hell breaks loose, just "load game".

    The Bottom Line

    Well, its the first "expansion" game that I played that turned out not to be an expansion but a poor excuse for a patch...and not a very good one at that, considering the bugs.

    It's still a good game, but mind the bugs. Then again, Arulco IS supposed to be infected with bug-like monsters (Sci-Fi mode). Too bad the developers too it a little too literally.