Written by  :  Kurt Sample (1044)
Written on  :  Oct 15, 2001
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars

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The best turn-based squad combat strategy game around

The Good

This game got all the details right. First and foremost, JA2 only operates in turn-based mode when an enemy is spotted or one of your soldiers is attacked. Non-combat movement happens in real time. This makes the game exponentially more enjoyable to play than many similar titles. Combat--the meat and potatoes of the game--is a blast. There are plenty of items to choose from - a veritable cornucopia of guns, ammo, armor and assorted stuff. A mechanically adept character can often combine two or more apparently useless items into something useable, like a gun barrel extender or a trip-wire booby trap. The characters are all distinctive and they let loose some great sound bites, especially during combat. If you liked the character of Minsk in the Baldur's Gate games then you'll find plenty to enjoy here. All the potentially mundane management tasks (character generation, recruiting personnel, buying equipment, tracking your finances) are actually enjoyable, thanks in no small part to a wonderful pseudo-web browser interface.

The Bad

This doesn't detract from gameplay at all, but it's worth mentioning. JA2 is supposed to be set in a tropical island nation. The NPC natives of the island don't seem to realize this; they speak with a variety of Russian, South American and African accents. The voice acting is good, but the accents don't make any sense.

The Bottom Line

Don't be fooled by the ultra-cheesy box cover - this is a fantastic game. Essentially this game is a member of the turn-based squad combat genre pioneered by X-Com UFO Defense, with a healthy dose of role playing thrown in for good measure.