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E3 2011: Jagged Alliance Back in Action (Impressions)

by: Chuck -
More On: E3 2011 Jagged Alliance 2: Reloaded
Game: Jagged Alliance Back in Action
Developer: Kalypso
Release Window/Date: October 18
What's polished: Solid combat, Plan and Go is a great concept

What needs polish: Will need a decent tutorial to show off Plan and Go, graphics are better but still lag a little behind current generation

Jagged Alliance Back in Action is re-make and full scale modernization of of Jagged Alliance 2. The folks at Kalypso are well aware that you can get the classic version of the game at GoG for $9.99 which is why they’re adding a ton of new goodies to make it worth the additional cost.

If you didn’t play the first game (or weren’t alive when it was first released), Jagged Alliance 2 follows a group of mercenaries as they try to take back an island from a ruthless dictator. The catch is that as mercenaries you aren’t doing this for free and you have to pick missions based not only on if they are a good fit for your group but if you’re going to get significant ROI by taking it.

The biggest improvement (outside of the new 3D engine and modern graphics) is that the game can either be played in a new RTS style mode, or the turn based system from the first game, or a hybrid of the two. The hybrid mode shifts from real time to turn based on criteria specified by the player. For example you can play in real time mode until you discover a mine or come across a bad guy. From there you can then switch into the game’s “Plan and Go” combat system. This mode is that you can key actions of your team together which brings out the real strength of the system.

For example, let’s say you want to have one guys sneak up behind a bad guy and cut his throat but then have a sniper ready to take him out if he fails. Well you setup the actions of the first guy along a timeline along the bottom and then when you have the kill action taking place you can have the sniper take the shot at exactly the same point in the timeline. If you’ve ever programmed Flash it’s very similar to the Flash timeline in execution and it’s something that gamers should be able to pick up pretty quickly. You can also do fun things like having your squad move into position and then open fire simultaneously or whatever you heart desires.

The laptop interface from the original is back but not all of the weapons from the original will be back due to licensing issues (though there will be replacements that are nearly identical). The game will get all new voice over work from the stars of the original which ensures that one of the highlights from the first game comes back from the second.

I never really got into the series initially this re-make has me thinking this was a mistake as the game does look like a lot of fun and I’m interested to see how the real time/turn based mechanic works in real game situations. Look for the game on store shelves on October 18th.