Jagged Alliance: Back in Action

aka: Jagged Alliance 2: Reloaded
Moby ID: 56983
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is the official remake of Jagged Alliance 2. It features the same story and has its own style of gameplay. The game is set in Arulco, a fictive island which suffers because of the mad Deidranna Reitman, a female dictator. The player character gets hired by the former leader of the country to kill Deidranna. To achieve this aim the player can recruit a team of mercenaries and send them to Arulco to free the country. In the beginning, players can buy cheap mercenaries only to conquer different sectors in the game. By conquering these sectors, the player gains resources they can re-invest to get better mercenaries.

As in its predecessors, the playing field is divided into two areas. The first being the Arulco map, where the player may view cities, hired mercenaries, nearby enemy soldiers, and other locations. Here, the player can oversee movement of their own mercenaries to coordinate attack and defense. The second is in tactical mode, where the player may directly control mercenaries (for the most part during combat or while exploring an area) and view them from a free rotating camera.

Back in Action is the first game in the series that introduces real-time gameplay. While the previous games in tactical mode were turn-based, this game uses a system called Plan & Go where the player can pause the game and give the mercenaries orders which they should follow. These orders can also be combined and bound to other actions. The main focus of the game is set on the tactical combats.

Besides the main quest, which is killing the dictator Deidranna, there are also a lot of side-quests which can be solved to gain more money, items, or even new mercenaries. Some of these quests were available in the original game, but several new quests have also been introduced in this game. During the game the mercenaries gain experience for killing enemies or performing other tasks. When the mercenary levels up, points may be distributed to increase their stats and skills. However, there is also a level 10 cap which prevents the player from having super-soldiers.

Downloadable Content (DLC) 1. Jagged Alliance: Back in Action - Urban Specialist Kit - Minor DLC (April, 2013). - Jagged Alliance: Back in Action - Desert Specialist Kit - Minor DLC (February, 2012). - Jagged Alliance: Back in Action - Jungle Specialist Kit - Minor DLC (February, 2012). - Jagged Alliance: Back in Action - Night Specialist Kit - Minor DLC (February, 2012). - Jagged Alliance: Back in Action - Shades of Red - Expansion DLC (May, 2012). - Jagged Alliance: Back in Action - Point Blank - Expansion DLC (June, 2012).

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Credits (Windows version)

73 People (64 developers, 9 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 61% (based on 22 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 8 ratings with 1 reviews)

[v1.0] A somewhat jaggy experience...

The Good
Review Version: v1.0
Review Date: March, 2013
Review Length: Three page(s).
Game Version: v1.0.0.1
Tech Specs Used: Intel Core 2 6300 1.86 Ghz CPU, 3 GB Memory, 512 MB NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT Video Card.
Finished: No, gave up.
Last time played: March, 2013.

Well, Jagged Alliance is back. At least some of it. Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is the long awaited sequel in the Jagged Alliance after many a bumpy road. That bumpy road among others refers to Hired Guns: The Jagged Edge and many other whispers claiming to be one way or the other as a continuation of the series, many of which are hardly worth the mention. As the game description says, it's a 3D and real-time remake of Jagged Alliance 2; with the real-time element might take awhile for the player to adjust to.

If you're familiar Jagged Alliance 2, here are some of the things you'd expect:

  • Same hire mercenaries mechanism from AIM, though the quantity of mercenaries is now noticeably fewer. There are also some new perks that mercenaries have: amazon, loner, etc., in addition to the standard perks its predecessor introduced. Also, for whatever reason, mercs no longer have salaries, so there's just a signing up fee, however not all mercs can be hired easily. Most may require some reputation on your part before agreeing to join.
  • Same non-player characters that may be recruited from Arulco. Including the among others, Miguel, Ira, Mad Dog, etc. Though to acquire them, the player needs to finish quests before doing so.
  • Similar militia options. Though in this game, the training of militia is automatic. Additionally, you have to manually equip volunteers with a weapon for them to become active militia, and if you choose to do so, equip them with additional armor.

Other new features worthy of mention:

  • Locations on the map, when conquered may provide additional bonuses to the player. For example, controlling a nearby farm, will increase income of nearby surrounding location. Some of these new locations although may be enforced by militia are not attacked by enemy soldiers for whatever reason. Considering how large the map is, it's a welcome minor feature.
  • Slightly more variety in weapons, especially armor. Some armor now have specified camouflage bonuses per specified terrain/event: desert, forest, night, urban, etc.
  • The real-time combat takes awhile to get used to. Your mercenaries for the most part don't do anything unless ordered to. When ordering a mercenary, you enter a pause mode, and create a sequence of actions for that mercenary to order. When done, you exist the pause mode and real-time commences. Also, in defend mode, your mercenaries will attack anything in within range (though range isn't exactly clear...sometimes requiring manual intervention if you want to snipe an enemy located quite far away). So for the most part, all you need to do is position your merc and let combat commence by itself.

And most importantly, the bugs are at a minimal for its first release, so kudos on that one.

The Bad
I tried to like this game. I really did. Though admittedly only because I'm a Jagged Alliance fanboi. There are numerous features that I've found to be addictive in previous installments, which for whatever stupid reason have been disabled or replaced in this game:

Minor Annoyances

  • Company Logo Intro Extravaganza
    Publisher, publisher, developer, sponsor, main title, cutscene,..then finally main menu. That's six times you have to press 'Esc' every time you want to play the game. Seriously, they really must want attention.
  • Item Management
    The game consists of a lot of items. In Jagged Alliance 2, item management was pretty helpful. As long as you control an area, all items are accessible from the world map if your mercs are in that area. An efficient way to attain items, as it's just a minor feature. Now, they removed that feature, and you'll have to do it the hard way by manually sending mercs in the area to the location of that item. A time-consuming and boring routine. Note: This feature has been added in the sequel Jagged Alliance: Crossfire. Not entirely sure if it was also added to later patches of this game.
  • Tiresome Militia
    Managing militia is a tediously boring job. Not only do you have manually equip militia, which in itself isn't a problem, it's the fact that you need to manually reach them on the area map to do so that makes it a tiresome routine. Even more annoying, unassigned militia aren't located near each other or near the central area. They're always located somewhere far off for some stupid reason. If would be much more efficient if everything were accessible from the world map rather than waste time running around on the local map. Also, if a militia dies during combat, all the items you gave him/her conveniently disappears. Replace by a somewhat random stash. So much for 'state of the art' equipment. Another annoying militia feature is that you cannot view battles (unlike its predecessor). For the most part, your militia tends to die easily, and re-equipping them is a sore. Which is somewhat frequent, as militia rarely wins a battle without your help.

Major Deal-Breaker Annoyances

  • Character Creation
    This almost made me hate the game. In the words of Jagged Alliance 2 character creation, whoever made this decision should be shot, strung up, and run over by a buick. The lack of no personal merc previously made available means for me, the lack of emotional attachment on my part to this game. No personal merc that gets the nice goodies first or one-merc killing machine that gets all the attention. As far as Back in Action is concerned, your role is basically an accountant managing a merc squad.
  • Character Development
    It's now a skill-distribution based. Mercs gain experience and level up. A total of 7 points may be distributed to attributes or skills per level. In previous installments, character development relied on skill repetition, gradually increasing, thus a sense of anticipation as your merc gets better and better. It was fun. Each action your merc does may be rewarded with a skill increase. Now it's just plain dull. Whoever made this decision obviously isn't a Jagged Alliance 2 fan.
  • Character Level Cap
    I stopped playing this after I found out the hard way that there's a level cap. No more leveling up after level 10. I don't know stupid games these developers have been playing, but a level cap has never been a good thing in role-playing games. So screw this.
  • Combat, Stupid AI, and Pathfinding
    Non-player characters have this tendency to run into combat, instead of away from combat, getting themselves shot at, or blocking your movement, or blocking your line of fire. Silent kills for the most part do not mean much, as any shot fired at an enemy only alerts a small fraction of the enemy. Attempting a silent kill via melee is almost impossible, so might as well not attempt it anyway. Movement isn't penalized during combat, so opponents carrying melee weapons are more to be feared than snipers. Aiming takes awhile, so no free surprise attacks if an enemy suddenly shows up in your line of fire. Most of the time, you don't even know if your merc is actually firing his/her weapon, as there is no indication when the merc will fire his/her weapon. Note: Feature indicating that a merc is aiming has been added to the sequel Jagged Alliance: Crossfire. Effective formation are non-existent, for the most part, you'll need to move your merc one at a time. When moving, your mercs can't engage the enemy either, forcing you to pause and cancel their movement so they can attack. Additionally, placement gets buggy as if a merc bumps into another merc or NPC, they sometimes get stuck, in other times, they face the wrong direction when ordered, forcing you to constantly check on them. Dude who did the path-finding algorithms really should have paid more attention to this. It has yet to be fixed. Path-finding errors in this day and age in gaming is embarrassing.
  • Repairing Items
    Armor can no longer be repaired, which means you'll have to keep buying new armor, while piling up damaged armor. Also repairing weapons takes up charges now, instead of the previously more accurate and efficient percentage points.

And that's only some that I remember.

The Bottom Line
Well, officially it's Jagged Alliance. From a fanboi perspective however, it isn't. They've taken away too many good features that made previous installments addictive, leaving this shell of its former glory just for the sake of making it in a real-time 3D environment. From a more romantic interpretation, the game lacks the soul of a Jagged Alliance game. As far as I'm concerned, this game fails to live up to its predecessor.

Also note that this review is for version 1.00.1. Perhaps there have been some features in this review that since have been enabled. Which unfortunately means for the avid gamer, one has to wait awhile for the patching process to meet an acceptable level before you can enjoy this game. It's up to patch v1.3.00 or something since this review, so heads up. In fact, you're probably better off playing Jagged Alliance: Crossfire and avoid this one entirely, since clearly they were paying more attention in adding company logo intros that making a remake.

Overall it's a still a sad attempt to revive this once lovely series. Though keep in mind, this game may be more of a letdown to fans than to new gamers unfamiliar with the series.

Windows · by Indra was here (20768) · 2013

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Game added by Michael Hoss.

Linux, Macintosh added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: Plok.

Game added July 26, 2012. Last modified January 26, 2024.