Mods And Ends: Jagged Alliance 2

By Adam Smith on October 14th, 2011 at 6:12 pm.

this is my kind of manshooter

It’s self-indulgence time in Modland this week as I use my hastily rigged together platform, which runs on the Soapbox Derby engine, to direct you all to spend your weekends playing one of the greatest games ever made. Jagged Alliance 2 should need no introduction, nor should its most infamous and essential mod, known simply as 1.13, being in the form of a super patch of sorts. But does such a bountiful game require any additions? Can it be made even greater?

Imagine I just said ‘no’, dropped in a purchase link and buggered off for the weekend. No fear though – even if I had tickets to go and see A Very Enjoyable Thing, I wouldn’t pass up the chance to talk Jagged Alliance instead. What’s more, once I’ve spent some time writing about it, it’s inevitable that I’ll spend at least seventeen hours playing it and I still won’t have seen every gun in the game, or beaten it on ‘insane’ difficulty.

Among the many brilliant things that 1.13 adds to the game, there are hundreds of new weapons. Literally hundreds. They are often variants and different models of very similar kill-sticks, yes, but the massive variety adds a great deal to the game in terms of detail and it’s those details that I’ve come to adore. But before we get to all that devilry, a little about why Jagged Alliance 2 is one of the greatest games I’ve ever had the pleasure to play.

Complexity is a big part of it, with an incredibly detailed tactical combat system backed up by an overarching strategic game that covers hiring, training, deployment, purchasing, equipping and managing of personalities. Teams of mercs don’t just require specialists, who can either be hired or developed RPG-style, they also need to get along with one another. Clashes are frequent and can result in snide dialogue, a refusal to cooperate or, at extremes, abandonment and murder. None of this happens with a sliding friendship scale and the exchange of gifts, it happens through conversation and voiced complaints. There’s number-crunching happening and lots of it, but it’s rarely obvious to the player.

This is exemplified by firefights. Light levels, range, skill, position, stance, cover, and weapon type and degradation all have an effect on where a bullet will end up, along with a dose of the random number generator, but it all feels natural. A medic with a rusty revolver will probably miss a man lying prone behind a fence in the middle of the night. If she does manage to hit him, the type of ammo used along with the part of the body hit will determine how much damage is done, how much a wound bleeds and whether the target is knocked backwards or off his feet.

But you won’t be worrying about what the numbers mean because you bought or found that gun, you know what it’s capable of, and you’re the sadistic bastard who loaded it up with hollow point bullets. And that medic? You’ve been having your best marksman train her up for this, so you’re not quite as surprised when she takes a bead on someone and makes his head burst like an overripe watermelon. That happens too sometimes. Heads burst. It must be to do with some mathematics happening somewhere but, by golly, I don’t know anything about that, I just know that someone’s head exploded.

All of this is true in the strategy front-end as well. If mercenaries need to heal, they rest, if militia are repeatedly having their brave little minds shot out, someone should really be giving them lessons in self-preservation through the art of shooting first and never asking questions. Stop asking them if they’re friend or foe, silly militia, everyone but the mercenaries wants you dead. And even they are only your friends in the sense that they’re being paid to kill people who aren’t you. That’s what makes them mercenaries and presumably what makes the whole alliance so horribly jagged. It’s a terrible world, my little militia. That is today’s lesson.

That’s the only education they’ll ever need. Once again, in the background those lessons take the form of lines of code with modifiers for the skills of the teacher and the time spent, but as far as it all plays out, you’ll know who your best teachers are and the ever-changing situation will force your hand into action before anyone becomes perfect at anything. But progress will occur and the next time a fight breaks out, the training will pay off with victory, or at least a more evenly balanced death toll on each side.

So all that stuff that 1.13 adds does matter. Because Jagged Alliance is so good at feeding back information and intelligently showing the consequences of decisions, providing more decisions doesn’t actually make things more complex, it just increases the potential combinations. Guns with scopes and suppressors, guns with retractable stocks and laser aiming modules – they’re all in the mod, and you can cobble them together as well. The way they change your accuracy, firing speed and precision over distance makes sense straight away, so rather than adding migraine-inducing and needless configuration, they provide customisation at a personal and squad level.

But 1.13 does far more than simply overloading the game with things. There are more items in the form of load bearing equipment, a category including harnesses, pouches and holsters. These aren’t just cosmetic – they change the way the inventory system works but they can also be switched off if you’d rather not worry about that. That theme that runs through the 1.13 additions and alterations, allowing the player to choose the options he or she wants from the many available. If you don’t want to change the base game significantly but still want the extra guns, that’s entirely possible. But if you want the full experience, which I’d recommend, there’s enough changed to freshen the game even after years of playing.

The artificial intelligence is revamped at both the tactical and strategic levels, making things even more difficult than they were already. Jagged Alliance 2 is difficult, right? That’s not just me? I’ve been playing it since the day it was released and although I still think I’m improving, as should be the case in a masterpiece of strategic design, I’m still not very good. The changes to enemy reactions make the game harder by making things more believable though, presenting a force that reacts to your actions intelligently and cruelly. It can make the early game incredibly tricky but it forces deeper investment in your mercenaries and that investment is part of the game’s core appeal.

It matters when they get wounded because, like predators in the animal kingdom, if they’re too badly hurt, they can’t hunt anymore. And if they can’t hunt, they become a liability. The health system is brilliant and I’m constantly shocked (I’m reeling in my chair even now) that more games haven’t stolen it. Wounds bleed until they’ve received medical attention but once bandaged, they still reduce a merc’s overall health and need rest and proper treatment from a doctor to heal completely. It means getting shot in the leg actually matters, which it should if you want a player to look after his units and use interesting tactics.

I can’t sum up everything in 1.13 here but I can link you to this page, which does just that. But I will reserve a little more space to talk about technical changes. Higher resolutions are now supported, which helps the game to look rather good even in these modern times. There are also added tooltips to provide useful feedback where the visuals aren’t up to the task, such as details of enemy armour, helping you to decide if it’s worth going for that headshot or not. There’s even a multiplayer mode, supporting co-op, deathmatch and team deathmatch. Never tried it, but it’s there.

If you’ve never ever played Jagged Alliance 2 and you’ve actually read this far, you must be interested so go and buy it right now. The version over at Good Old Games is apparently the most reasonably priced and easiest to run mods on, although it’s not the Gold edition, but this link contains an apparent fix if you do have the Steam version and are having trouble.

On the other hand, if you already have the game this is the perfect time to start all over again. The campaign map is fairly small as these things go but it’s almost endlessly replayable and you could always ramp up the difficulty and see how your skills serve you. And if you are a veteran who has somehow managed to avoid 1.13, there is nothing else you can possibly do with the weekend except treat yourself to an all new set of hired guns.

That’s not all though. If you have, somehow, become weary of the original campaign, you are an odd person indeed and I’m not sure I want anything more to do with you. But since you’ve been so polite, sitting there quietly and nodding politely in all the right places, I’ve got a few more mods just for you. The best part is, they should all work on top of 1.13.

The first is Deidranna Lives, which is a fairly simple overhaul of the original campaign. It takes the form of a second sorty, another visit to the scene of the battle. I’ve never finished it but word is that the further south you travel, taking you closer to Deidranna’s old capital, the more changes become evident.

For maximum changes in a minimal timeframe, you’ll want Urban Chaos, which throws your poor mercs up against their toughest challenge yet, dumping them in a concrete jungle full of murderous gangs. As a city-dweller myself, I sympathise with their inability to cope with the stresses of life on the streets, although my own particular brand of urbane chaos protects me comfortably from the wayward mischief of my fellow citizens.

What I’m trying to say is that Urban Chaos will hit you harder than a pile of hammer-wielding bricks made of tungsten. It adds all sorts of new things, all strung through a completely new campaign, and if you’ve seen everything else that Jagged Alliance has to offer, jump right in. Just don’t come crying to me when you’re riddled with bullets because I’m not a doctor but I am extremely squeamish. If you are on 1.13, Urban Chaos should be retrieved from here rather than the earlier link.

Finally, what about Jagged Alliance, Vietnam War edition? SOG 69 has you covered. I don’t know how well because for some reason it won’t work for me right now and I’ve never tried it before. So there’s a useful insight for you. I did read some forums though and it sounds like a fairly ambitious but quite flawed rendition of jungle warfare. Maybe one of you can tell me what it’s like?

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82 Comments »

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  1. nimzy says:

    I believe this rather amusing LP uses some of the mod. Looks great.

  2. Dominic White says:

    1.13 improves the game so much it’s not even funny. The latest major update changes the way AP is counted, so that every person has 100 to spend each turn, but how much they spend on each action is determined by their personal speed and skill. There’s also a suppression system, making machineguns far more useful for their ability to keep enemies pinned while you move guys around the flanks.

    The new character skill/trait system is the best thing, though. Ever wanted your main character to be a John Woo style hero, 9mm pistols akimbo? You can do that and win.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      Fighting off 80 soldiers in Drassen with only pistols on day 2 can be annoying, though. 1.13 is awesome but it has some flaws too.

    • Dominic White says:

      That counterattack is entirely optional and you can disable it in the configuration screen, though. Likewise, if the huge number of guns is overwhelming, you literally pick a mode with a smaller number of them.

    • Megadyptes says:

      They should really switch off the counter-attack by default, I bet a ton of people load it up without knowing about that bullshit the devs disabled for a good reason and just give up on the mod.

    • coldvvvave says:

      I love Drassen counterattack. Thats why I go to Chitzena first. Then I go to Cambria. And then maybe I liberate Drassen.

    • Premium User Badge

      Snidesworth says:

      @Megadyptes
      That was my exact problem when I tried it a few years back. I got hit by the counter attack and, not having fiddled with the ini, gave up. I came back to the game this year after being told that it was an ultra-hard, optional fight, starting over with it disabling. I then went on to beat the game, enjoying it immensely every step of the way.

    • Dominic White says:

      To be fair, even the the counter-attack happens, you don’t have to win it. A new player in that position would most likely try to retreat, losing access to Drassen. This is fine, as there’s several other towns available, and it’ll make recapturing the town all the more interesting. It just adds a bit of a twist to the ‘Drassen is the first stop, always, no question’ tack most playthroughs take.

  3. Highstorm says:

    I’ve never played JA, but it immediately appealed to me from the screenshots and everything said here.

    My question is: should I be getting the gold edition or is the regular just fine?

    • Reefpirate says:

      If you ask me, the regular edition is just fine. I bought the Gold edition a while ago at retail, but never really got that interested in Wildfire much, or Unfinished Business… It’s all about the vanilla. Although after this article I’m tempted by 1.13.

  4. Flunky says:

    To be honest, I was never able to have much fun with JA2. I never could get past the early game– it always ended up with two lines of mooks (one of them mine) 20 feet apart, missing each other with pistols for 15 minutes until someone got a lucky shot in (usually them). Never seemed to have the money to hire somebody competent and only ever found a single rifle (even on tons of guns).

    That said, I’ll give this a try. The features look promising, especially the editable .ini settings. Should be able to give the less competent players like me a bit of an early boost.

    • Reefpirate says:

      I’ll admit, for years I never really got out of the early game either… But here’s a couple of tips:

      Get within effective firing range of your weapons whenever possible… Even if it means a risky bit of sprinting. Try to get behind cover after shooting, but don’t get into the “who can hit outside of effective firing range first” game.

      Also, don’t go cheap on your mercs, especially early on. MAYBE get one or two cheap mercs you can develop throughout the game, but I’d recommend getting one Ace, expensive merc with good equipment (ie. a rifle) just for the first day or two.

      Lastly: Don’t reload your game just because one of your mercs gets injured. I’ve read some FAQs that say you can go through the whole game with barely any injuries… But that’s just madness to me. There are doctor mercs in the game for a reason. Take some wounds every now and then! I’ll admit I usually reload on deaths… But not on serious injuries.

    • Flunky says:

      Hmm… thanks for the tips. I’ll admit I’m often guilty of the ‘who can hit outside of effective firing range first’ game. I also tended to go for the cheaper mercs. I suppose a good merc on a short contract initially should help ease my .38 pistol woes.

      I can happily say, however, that I’m not a quicksave/quickload addict, it’s just that once the injuries start piling on things tend to unravel for me.

      No harm in giving it another shot, especially with a large mod I wasn’t aware of! Good ol’ RPS.

    • Sassenach says:

      Get Igor Dolvich.

    • sinister agent says:

      Ambush wherever possible – you’re more likely to get an interrupt shot when the enemy runs into you round a corner.

      Fight at night where possible.

      Always bring at least one good doctor to a fight, especially early on.

      Don’t ignore low-wisdom characters. Sure, they won’t learn as fast as the others, but they will still improve over time, and some of them are good enough already to be worth using.

      A good easy trick is to have everyone lie down facing one direction, and have a fast, if possible stealthy character creep ahead and get someone’s attention. When someone sees you, run away back towards everyone else, and the enemy guard(s) will run straight into a firing squad.

      Never be afraid to abandon a fight. Creeping past a patrol and killing two of them then running is better than killing five of them but having everyone die or spend a week healing. Also, if you try your hand at stealth or just get lucky with a lone guard, you might be able to supply raid – kill one or two guards, take their guns, then flee and reorganise your weapons before going back in.

      Don’t rely on pistols – as soon as you can, upgrade to rifles, however cool pistols are. The exception is for ambidextrous characters like Meltdown, who can be pretty devastating flankers and short range shock troops. Shotguns are generally quite poor weapons as well, although you might want to give them to scouts.

      And yeah, get as close as you can – if someone’s out of range, you’re very unlikely to hit them, and it’s usually not worth it. Good positioning is everything. If you don’t have the upper hand in a fight, sticking it out will usually not work if you don’t improve your position.

  5. jonfitt says:

    I never played JA2 back in the day. Friends of mine did and they had many good things to say about it. Perhaps this is the time I put X-COM down and try JA2?

    Also, I always thought they were talking about the Rolling Stones RPG: Jagger Delights.

    • jonfitt says:

      $10 on GOG!
      Bah. I could buy The Witcher 1 for $5.

    • Wizardry says:

      But Jagged Alliance 2 is over twice as good as The Witcher. Probably more like 10x. Oh and it’s a far better game than X-COM in my point of view. Especially with v1.13.

    • Arona Daal says:

      Then buy it for 2 (two) Bucks at Getgames.

      http://www.getgamesgo.com/product/jagged-alliance-2-gold-edition

      Can say nothing about modability,as i use my Retail version.

      about the 1.13 version:

      There are lots of undocumented hotkeys ,for example to switch the whole team from NV Googles to Shades and back ( alt+v or so, cant remember,google it)

      If you fire machineguns in full auto you can “draw* the way the salvo should move ove its targets ,so you can supress a defined area instead of just one target.



      SPOILERS FOR THOSE TIRED OF COMPARING WEAPON STATS:

      The best Assault Rifles are the Israeli Bullpup and strangely enough the cheap finnish Ak Clone.Medium Damage but incredible fast firing Speed.

      And the modified M14 is a great Marksman Rifle.

      Stay away from pure sniper rifles,they fire way too slow and the AI has no clue how to adapt to them (breaks the game imho).

      Ah, and Combat scopes (7x) strangely enough make it impossible to hit anything closer than 10 squares.

    • Juan Carlo says:

      The gold edition was just on sale for 6 dollars on steam last Tuesday. Although, that probably doesn’t help you much now.

    • Dexton says:

      I need to try and find my CDs…

      also, quite probably my favourite games ever. Never did try the 1.13 patch, but I am not sure I even had internet when I first played JA2.

  6. Strontium Mike says:

    SOG 69 is great but it is a mod for JA2 Unfinished Business not JA2 or 1.13. It has a different feel to regular JA2 mods as it’s not about capturing territory or earning enough money to get better equipment but pushing forward and completing objectives. Plus it’s map design is unforgiving and requires somewhat different tactics than the normal game.

  7. Fatrat says:

    Am i the only one who preferred it pre-1.13? I’ve owned the game since 1999 and really don’t like certain things 1.13 added past what the OLLLD official Sirtech patches did. Granted all the new guns and the AP changes were nice, but a few things really broke it for me and make it too fidgety to play as fluid compared to the oldschool versions.

    Things like the way you have to turn your characters to face each point of attack and an enemy being SLIGHTLY out of line of sight means they can pretty much walk up to you. Before 1.13 this was based on your character’s experience, which was much better IMO. This meant you could take your best troops up to the frontline and not worry as much about someone sneaking up on them. I mean, a real life veteran is going to be looking over his shoulder if he hears something coming from behind, right? Just seems more realistic AND needed less micro-management. Turning your character around every 10 seconds really spoilt the immersion for me.

    This game is worth getting just for Vanilla mode. But also has some good/challenging expansions. 1 official (Unfinished Business) and a whole bunch of community ones such as Renegade Republic, Diedranna Lives, etc. Wildfire was an unofficial one also but required payment, think it was also in Russian or something too.

    Anyway, that’s my ramble about my favourite game EVAR. :)

    • sinister agent says:

      Nope. I do like what 1.13 does, but I think it makes a lot more sense to play through the vanilla game first, because it’s still excellent. The ‘patch’ makes the game a lot more complicated and a bit fiddly. It’s definitely worth playing, though.

    • Dominic White says:

      Aside from the inventory management getting a bit more complicated, I reckon the vast majority of the interface changes in 1.13 make things smoother and easier to work with.

  8. cjlr says:

    Jagged Alliance, eh? I remember walking past that in the shops like, twelve years ago. Now I have it on GoG, not that I’ve played it yet…

    A thread mentioning it, though, means I am obligated to inform you all that my uncle did voicework in JA1 and 2. Not that I remember which lines are his.

    • Azdeus says:

      You should find out, possibly contact the modmakers or something and brag, and ask him if he’d be interested in doing more, if he played any of the mercs! Would be seriously kewl.

    • elvis says:

      @Azdeus

      You should find out, possibly contact the modmakers or something and brag, and ask him if he’d be interested in doing more, if he played any of the mercs! Would be seriously kewl.
      +1

      Couldn’t agree more!

  9. Felixader says:

    I am actually one of those that never played it but are interested quite a bit. It just says that it doesn’t support Windows 7. X-(

    • Azdeus says:

      Felixader, it works on my Win7 machine. Only trouble I’ve had was that the game refused to maximize unless I shut down Firefox.

    • McBain says:

      It works perfectly on my windows 7 machine too. Most games may say they don’t support it but windows 7 backwards compatibility is pretty damn fine. If a game doesn’t work there are usually community patches or tweaks to get it running. If all else fails just boot up some sweet sweet virtual machine.

    • Felixader says:

      Thanls for your informations. I will give it a try.^.^

  10. BloatedGuppy says:

    Along with X-Com, Jagged Alliance 2 is pretty much the final word in tactical turn based games. If you’re one of the shocking and disturbing number of people in this thread who haven’t played it, you are MORALLY OBLIGATED to begin doing so immediately.

  11. Nameless1 says:

    WHY? Why did you have to do this?
    You just stole coutless hours out of my already dim social life.

    PS: btw, great article..loved it :)

  12. MythArcana says:

    The JA2 1.13 user patch is a definitive experience in which all other *strategy* games in its genre can be easily judged by (and criticized by, as well). This takes the old Sir-Tech formula and pumps up everything with a vast sea of options and items and leaves you gasping for air each turn as the AI comes for vengeance. Ahhh…games of the past…

  13. Blackseraph says:

    This game is like King of dragon pass, one of the best games outside rpg genre. Everyone who plays should seriously try this one, if they haven’t yet.

    Also this game also is such a good proof that turn based games are in many ways much better than real time games of certain genres. Never really understood why developers hate turns so much these days.

    • Wizardry says:

      Never really understood why developers hate turns so much these days.

      Because turn-based systems require much more effort to design and often expose game designers for the hacks that they are. And that’s exactly why they don’t touch turn-based systems. It maintains the illusion that generic FPSs need careful and precise game design.

  14. Vinraith says:

    I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never played JA2, despite it being exactly my type of game. I missed it completely when it originally came out (due to theming, I think, the generic military merc thing didn’t do much for me). I picked it up on GOG ages ago, and grabbed the 1.13 patch to go with, but haven’t really tried to play it in any meaningful sense. I need to correct that, and soon.

    Any advice for an old strategy gamer new to JA2 1.13?

    • coldvvvave says:

      JA2 is really easy to get into, no advise needed. Well, maybe you’d want to adjust damage modifiers and other stuff in an ini file, but then you just start a game and first level is basically a tutorial with few enemies, you give a letter to Fatima and after some talks and scenes you recruit Ira( or someone else) and go liberat a country.

    • Dood says:

      If you want to keep your sanity then please, for the love of god, turn of the Drassen Counterattack in the INI for your first 1.13 playthrough.

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Play the vanilla game at least once before you apply 1.13. 1.13 isn’t really a traditional patch or mod, while it contains some bug fixes and adds more stuff it’s more of a tool set for people who’ve been playing the game for the past twelve years. To get the most out of it you need to go into the ini and customize it to your liking, it’s not really balanced as is. If you want a more out of the box ready to play experience grab a mod for 1.13 called AIMNAS.

    • Nick says:

      Actually you can play it with just the bugfixes.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Dood

      I’m aware of the 1.13 INI editor, but can’t seem to find the right toggle in it to do what you’re describing.

      @Nick

      Similarly, where’s the “switch” for that? It sounds like it’d probably the best thing to do for a first playthrough.

      Thanks everyone!

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Start the ini editor and look for Strategic Event Settings and change Trigger_Massive_Enemy_Counterattack_At_Drassen to False. Unless they’ve changed things in the most recent release then the only way to play with just bug fixes would be to go through the ini file and turn all the new features off one by one.

    • Nick says:

      I *think* you open the ini editior and the select the vanilla config from the dropdown menu at the top, but I’m not sure as I never bothered trying it. You could check The Bear’s Pit forum, that has everything relating to the mod on it.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Vanilla is definitely worth at least a try. I bought and played through JA2 Gold (last official patch) at least half a dozen times and can’t remember encountering a serious bug. It’s not Bloodlines.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Nick

      Yup, that worked. Thanks!

    • sinister agent says:

      I strongly agree with the people recommending the vanilla game before trying 1.13. It’s a great game out of the box.

      Generally, the best advice I can offer is to fight at the closest range possible early on, using ambushes and concentrated fire as much as possible until you can get some non-terrible guns.

    • Wizardry says:

      The good thing about playing vanilla first is that you effectively get to play through the game for the first time twice. You’ll also appreciate the v1.13 changes a whole lot more.

    • Vinraith says:

      Yup, I’m sold on running the “bugfix only” version for my first playthrough, I’ll play “full” 1.13 later on. I appreciate all the advice, thanks again!

  15. Jorum says:

    Firstly – those who haven’t played JA2 go away and do so now. Otherwise you’re like the only person at a party who hasn’t seen that film.

    Secondly, holy crap there’s a 1.13! Why did no one tell me. See this is why the mainstream media is so useless. Sure BBC tells me about global economic collapse but priorities guys.

    Thirdly. What the main changes from 1.12? Major or little tweaks?

    • Strontium Mike says:

      Bug fixes, 100 action point system instead of 25 ap. Mostly this just increases the cost of everything by four but allows for more variance between similar weapons.

      New imp creation with more customization, create up to six imps. New mercs to hire plus hire more mercs overall. Tons and tons of new weapons and attachments, a new inventory system, which limits how much you can carry depending on what load bearing equipment you have. More attachment slots, a new way of determining chance to hit, new animations such as throwing grenades crouched or using the rocket launcher prone. A new suppression system, facilities with bonuses and penalties, mobile militia patrols, reinforcements from other sectors.

      And a lot of control over how you want to set the game up.

    • Nick says:

      The best thing about the AP change is that it makes pistols and other weapons viable in different situations, as you can ready and aim them faster for example, or reload them quicker.

  16. Ernesto says:

    This is quiet a coincidence! I just reinstalled JA2 with 1.13 patch. It’s definitely in the top 5 of greatest games of all times!

    I started with a JA2 demo sometime in the 90’s. I kind of forgot about the game since I didn’t understand turn based games at the time. However, I returned to JA2 after playing Silent Storm for a while. I just love the details! Love and hate between mercs, weapons and types of ammo en masse. Details over details! Amazing!

    I just reconquered Drassen and I’m short on ammo and manpower and money, but I’m determined to push on until Meduna is mine!

  17. timespike says:

    I’ve beaten the game “fair and square” but I have had a lot of fun since giving myself a HUGE budget in the .ini file and sending in what amounts to a NATO joint black ops team (Six custom mercs) to clean up the country. There’s a visceral thrill of going into everything after the Drassen airport armed with FN-SCAR-H variants, super-tough body armor and level 4 night vision optics. *KRAK* “What NOW, you tyrant’s toadie?” *KRAK* *KRAK* *KRAK* “DIE!!!!”

    …Good times. :)

  18. Lord Byte says:

    I love Jagged Alliance 2 but the 1.13 wasn’t really my cup of tea. Too much overloading with all manner of crap and the rush on Drasden was ridiculous (you get like 4 or 5 waves of 20+ enemies in a couple of hours). It can be switched off lucklily…
    Also the amount of enemies you have to kill is just ridiculous, I’ve depopulated entire NATIONS in 1.13, she must be trucking them in from all over the world. All that soured me a bit on 1.13 (you really have to use every sneaky nasty trick in the book to win, and really abuse the gaps in the AI, while JA2 vanilla was hard without being obviously over the top.
    I liked vanilla better, and yes it’s still one of my favourite games of all times, even though I haven’t finished it once :) I always get to the last few towns… and then lose interest, as I don’t want to pick it up where I left off, I restart…

    • sinister agent says:

      I do that with JA2 and so many other games. It’s particularly off-putting to think about having to re-organise all the equipment I’ve gathered again.

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    blind_boy_grunt says:

    this game has the same problem as fallout2 for me. I loved them, but i kinda sucked at them and i played the beginning part of both games so often i still can’t stand the idea of starting them again. Perhaps i went in with the wrong mindset of always trying to get the best outcome(terrible reload whore).

    • Premium User Badge

      blind_boy_grunt says:

      oh no did i turn into a spambot again?
      testing, sorry.

  20. Slyboots says:

    Im still somewhat confused, How do the Steam version (Or GoGames) differ from the GoG version..

    I know the GoGames and Steam is the “Gold” Version, but how exactly is that different, I already own JA2 and the Wildfire expansion on GoG so I dont want to waste money if I can help it buying the game again :P

    • Lord Byte says:

      The only difference between the “gold” version and the gog (or older disc version) is that the gold version includes the last official 1.12 patch. You can easily patch that in yourself. It’s because of distribution rights that they can’t sell the gold version over gog.com

  21. Simas says:

    So glad to see this popped up on RPS as I was stuck on 1.13 (stuck in a good way) now for a couple of days. There is just so many “genius” to this game!

    Actually, I was thinking on starting a new play-through with Iron Mode on as I am just too tempted to use save/reload too often. I wonder if this even possible?

    • coldvvvave says:

      I never tried iron man mode. But it sounds completely insane, game is pretty hard and kind of unfair( sometimes) even with lots save-load. Well, gotta try it out.

  22. Azdeus says:

    On the topic of Turn-based Tactical warfare; Did anyone play Wages of War: The buisness of Battle? I think it was a precursor to Jagged Alliance 2, but came out after Jagged Alliance?

    I remember quite detailed things about the combat system and a mission to recover stolen stinger missiles, but you know how memory is.

  23. Premium User Badge

    deadfolk says:

    I have all the JA games in my ‘to play’ queue. It’s a really long queue.

    Should I skip the first one and go straight to 2? I never hear anybody singing the praises of JA1,

    • sinister agent says:

      My longer reply to this was eaten by the spam-o-tron, so in short:

      Yes. JA1 is indeed good, but the second is better in every way, and only peripherally related plotwise. The only thing you’ll miss by skipping the first is a few in-jokes and callbacks.

  24. RadioactiveMan says:

    I love, Love LOVE Jagged Alliance but the combat system has some serious flaws that have prevented me from ever finishing the game.

    In my opinion, the combat system is at its finest early in the game, before either side has top-of-the-line weapons. Once the enemy is fully kitted out with assault rifles and rocket launchers the combat breaks down into a who-sees-who first affair. The damage from a single hit from most weapons is massive, which is fine in principle except that the enemy has waves of disposable troops, while the player does not. The weaknesses of the initiative system and the sightline system are most evident at this point. Battles often come down to initiative- whoever has higher initiative shoots first, and the wound is usually massive enough to tip the scales for the rest of the fight. Some enemies in the game, particularly the black-shirts have ridiculously high initiative and will almost always get the first shot, even when they are sprinting around corners. This is super frustrating, because there is simply no good way to handle these guys close quarters.

    At a certain point in the game, daytime attacks become quite challenging (aka, impossible without serious wounds and/or death). Because of this my strategy always seems to devolve into all my mercs crouched together in the dark with night vision and extended ears, trying to lure the enemies into our sight range one by one. This is usually accompanied by a fair bit of save-loading, and totally ruins the enjoyment of the game for me.

    All that being said, I do love the setting, I love the grumpy, talkative mercs, and I love the combat mechanics when they are working properly. There is so much cool stuff with knives, thrown weapons, and different kinds of guns that gets tossed aside in the later half of the game.

  25. Ateius says:

    I got this cheap off … GoG, maybe? One of the many digital distribution sites. About a year ago. “Tactical squad-based game? Sign me up!”

    So I go through the lengthy intro and set up my main character (“I’ll be a sniper/marksman!”) and buy a bunch of mercs to help me.

    I get into the first fight and wow, that’s a really dense and incredibly unintuitive interface. Lacking tooltips.

    So I get GameManual.pdf open in another window and muddle my way through. I get particularly excited near the end, because one of the enemies? He’s got a proper rifle! I can see it in his hands and everything! Perfect for my sniper.

    Only, I finish the fight … and there’s no loot. All their guns, including that lovely rifle, vanish into the ether. A highly realistic turn-based tactical squad game where I can’t take the enemy weapons, if for example they’re better than mine, or I’m out of ammo.

    Annoyed, I pressed forward, immediately got into another fight, where THREE enemies had long-range rifles and my mans still had only peashooter pistols. Knowing that even if I overcame this massive firepower disadvantage through quick thinking and clever tactics my reward would be absolutely nothing, I uninstalled the game.

    I guess this is a roundabout way of asking “does this 1.13 megafix let you pick up enemy weapons?” Because if so I might need to have another go at it.

    • sinister agent says:

      It does.

      It’s illogical, but the lack of enemies dropping gun is balanced within the vanilla game – it’s to force you to use better tactics (as opposed to better strategy, of which stealing enemy guns would in reality be part), otherwise you’d soon be able to wipe out everyone with little difficulty through sheer volume of fire.

      I can understand why it’d put you off though. In either case, the 1.13 thing has an option to enable collection of all enemy guns (by default I think it’s a percentage chance or something – you can get a rifle early on, for example). It also allows you to alter the inventory of the gun shop so you could buy high-end gear from the off (by default it unlocks better guns as you progress, and is only available when you’ve taken Drassen).

    • Ateius says:

      Oh, excellent. Thanks, I’ll have to get said patch and give the game another go.

    • Tuco says:

      Your idiocy is baffling.

    • psyk says:

      @Tuco

      Indeed

      “I get into the first fight and wow, that’s a really dense and incredibly unintuitive interface. Lacking tooltips.”

      LMAO

  26. chromeshelter says:

    my fav game ever. for real. i put this in before such great games as q3 or deus ex… i know, completely different genres, but to me those are the greatest games ever made… but the best is till JA2 with the 1.13 patch ofc :)

  27. deanimate says:

    Man I need to play this game! I absolutely love Fallout and Fallout 2 and can’t believe I’ve never played this rare gem. Will get on the case and try the vanilla first.

    It’s also making me think of the ridiculously awesome Commandos 2. Jesus that series needs another one making. C1 and C3 were ok but C2 nailed it. A bit too easy yes, but overall bloody marvellous stuff :D

  28. Oreo says:

    Well, I am going to be that guy:

    I bought this on Steam earlier this week because it was always highly recommended and at a big discount on… Tuesday?

    Anyhow… How do you get 1.13 to play nicely with Steam? I can’t seem to install the patch, and would love to try it.

  29. Elos says:

    Tons of Guns
    Very slow item progression
    Enemies drop all items
    Ironman
    No IMP’s

    The best settings. I just lost like 24 hours from my weekend to this, thanks RPS!

  30. Elos says:

    Tons of Guns
    Very slow item progression
    Enemies drop all items
    Ironman
    No IMP’s

    The best settings. Ironman totally changes the way you play and makes the game a lot more fun. You have to be all tactical and shit, it’s great!

  31. ShaunCG says:

    Superb game, JA2. I don’t really have the patience or time for it any more, but I’m glad I beat it back in the day – with the aliens, of course!

    Shame I tried the add-on pack with a fresh set of mercs straight afterwards and found it so frustrating that I pounded a keyboard into dust…

  32. JesseHac4463 says:

    giay xuat khau
    We’re dedicated to keeping alive the interest in one of the best turn-based strategy games ever created, the Jagged Alliance series.

    Over the years Bear’s Pit has become the homebase of numerous team of modders, from small one-man-armies to huge projects like the world acclaimed JA2 Urban Chaos. These teams of talented and dedicated people have produced an awesome collection of mods and expansions to the original game.