Tagged: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • unmanneddrone 3:44 am on July 23, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action   

    For those who like the idea of Frozen Synapse in the jungle, or know what I mean when I say “7.62 – High Calibre with polish” or “Silent Storm in semi-realtime”, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is on sale for ten smackers on Steam. In short, let me summarise the ups and downs.

    The Good

    • Well-implemented tactical mechanics with the ‘plan and go’ system. Turns a real-time tactical squad game into Frozen Synapse or, to a lesser extent, Baldur’s Gate, at the press of a button. What’s more, the system also allows for plotted actions to be synced, so one character can hold their fire until another character begins the corresponding synced action.
    • Detailed and varied maps, with multiple levels and day/night cycling.
    • Hideously deep and varied customisation of items, weapons, armours, uniforms etc.
    • Post-patch allows for hardcore mode and Line of Sight/Source of Sound enemy detection.

    The Bad

    • Not nearly as deep in the character department as Jagged Alliance 2.
    • Recast voice acting is iffy.
    • Certain aspects lacking, such as sending mercenaries to settlements as military trainers and advisers.
    • Arming civilians is finicky.
    • Camera is slightly cumbersome.

    The Verdict? If you like the idea of micromanaging a small squad of guerrillas around highly detailed environments, building your own emergent narratives from incredibly high-stakes encounters and thinking on the fly when it all goes downhill, then this is certainly up your alley.

    Indulge if you’d like to adopt the bastard child of Commandos 2 and Rainbow Six.
    Steer clear if you’re looking for Dawn of War.

  • unmanneddrone 10:38 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action   

    @asatiir That’s interesting to hear with the netbook. Hope you dig it!

  • Mohammad AlHuraiz 8:43 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action   

    @unmanneddrone ran fine on the netbook (low texture quality etc, but resolution native), was able to beat the first mission. Why did I not play this game sooner?

  • Mohammad AlHuraiz 6:11 pm on July 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action,   

    @angryjedi I would love to join the squad in Minecraft if my connection isn’t too laggy.I’ve been trying to find an excuse to get back to it, this could be it if you guys decide to make a server.

    @unmanneddrone Just played a quick 20 minute play through of Jagged alliance, this is definitely my kind of jam! Graphically, it looks like something that could possibly run on my Netbook, I’m giving that a try now.

  • Mohammad AlHuraiz 7:11 am on July 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action,   

    @unmanneddrone will do, sir.

    Yesterday, I had some really exciting news that Video Games Live is coming to Dubai in December, I’ve never been to VGL before so the is all too exciting!

  • Mohammad AlHuraiz 2:13 pm on July 16, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Jagged Alliance: Back in Action,   

    @unmanneddrone I pre-purchased Jagged Alliance when it wasn’t out but I never played it. As for the steam sale, so far I was only able to nab the Alan Wake collection and pre-purchase Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition.

  • unmanneddrone 2:07 pm on July 16, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action,   

    How’re folks going with the Steam sales?

    Haven’t nabbed a thing, just been enjoying the favourites from the library. I do hope Jagged Alliance: Back In Action wins the community vote for the next round of discounts because, while lacking a lot of the charm of the older, venerated titles, BiA is mechanically fantastic. Real time with Frozen Synapse-esque pause/plan elements.

    A few folks here would enjoy it. Has been patched and polished wonderfully!

  • unmanneddrone 3:31 pm on March 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action   

    @bowlisimo I won’t have you say a bad word about those expressionless, awkward, off-the-shelf 3D mannequins in Back in Action! I also won’t say how I’m looking forward to the JA2 character portrait import mod *someone* must be working on. Incidentally, the question of why they went with the androids was posed to a dev on GAF, to which he replied:

    We wanted to show any changes on the equipment through the portrait view, e.g. glasses, helmets, night vision

    Also, we wanted to use facial animations to express the mood of the merc

    And we put much effort into the 3D portraits, but in retrospect I think we should have taken the static 2D portraits instead 🙂

    EDIT: The new official patch busted my beloved Blue Dawn mod, so no more guerilla warfare for me for the time being until the modders bring in the new version.

  • unmanneddrone 2:20 pm on March 11, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, Shadow Watch, ,   

    @shingro A fair response. I wasn’t suggesting anything less than three hours of analysis is ‘light and fluffy’, though. It’s perhaps more a question of brevity, considering the squadcast itself goes out to more than just the folks here. And, let us not forget that thoughts written here are as legitimate as the discourse within a Squadcast. With the benefit of embedding links, pics yadda yadda, one fully-featured post goes a long way.

    I still reckon you’ve got the numbers of intrigued and knowledgeable parties on the topic of JRPGs and Japan in general in abundance around here, though. Try extolling the virtues of Unity of Command…talk about a tough crowd! Even if I ran in here in the same exuberant manner your fine self did with Katawa Shoujo, pronouncing the arrival of “The Stalingrad Campaign wargame FOR EVERYONE! Be ye not afraid of the Mass Grave of the Wermacht!”, I can safely and wryly assume there would be nary a bump on the cardiograph of interest.

    You’re in good company, my friend.

    Hmmm. For a game that’s been panned by a fair portion of the old Jagged Alliance guard, I am loving this Back in Action business like nobody’s…uh…like it’s going out of fashion. The tactical combat mechanics, the snappy pace of a “choose when you want to go turn-based” system is terrific. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s a very underrated piece of work. Interestingly, I think @redswir1 might find it rather satisfying, given the man’s proclivities for OG Ghost Recon/Rainbow Six and things like SWAT. Back in Action does give you the full breadth of locales to have ballistic discussions in, but I could see it working really well in a polished urban environment, ala SWAT 2 modernised.

    Or Shadow Watch. Remember that one?! If there’s a GoG title I may request, it just might be that little Red Storm doozy.

  • unmanneddrone 3:14 pm on March 8, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, ,   

    I think we’ve all got a soft spot for those characters we craft and direct, grow and foster…from the MLB player we drag off the bench and, through hard work and is there at the world series and a candidate for MVP to Shepherd, bouncing down through three iterations of games and choices made, crew befriended, alien trysts had and enemies dispatched.

    As not really much of an RPG player any more, if at all, it’s great to have that feeling in other genres. This talk of Shogun 2 – veteran units and generals…there is no greater feeling that commanding an army that has been with you since the beginning. Moreover, when there’s a rout or a general dies, or an entire regiment falls, I do admit to feeling a strange pang of sorrow. Real Warfare 2 takes it to the nth degree, because early game recruits are lilly-livered and break at the mere sight of an enemy force, requiring you to charge your commander units around them to steel their resolve and get them back into formation. Taking a group of Polish skirmishers and turning them into hardened, sure-footed warriors has no equal in satisfaction.

    Happened also in Back in Action this eve. Finally cleaned out the university, with Cynthia “Fox” Guzzman the sole survivor of my team. Ira Smythe, a local rebel leader, took a SPAS blast through a window and left Fox on her own. Fox, a combat medic from Newark, had been primarily playing a support role up until this point, but by god did she clean house.

    As soon as Fox got back to Drassen Airport, John “Bull” Peters was hired from the database and will arrive in 32 hours. Guzzman can hit the racks until then, she’s earned it.

    17 hours logged
    13% of Arulco liberated
    2 Mercenaries operational (1 enroute)
    3 Mercenaries deceased

  • unmanneddrone 3:01 pm on March 6, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, ,   

    @angryjedi Yeah, not that it was never not on my list, but it just found itself underlined scrappily with a black ballpoint. Good riddance to time units, this frees up a lot tactical options and – as only the best strategy encourages – gives rise to creativity, rather than rewarding patience. Slightly subjective, but there you have it.

    So many good titles on the horizon.

    Feenwager Challenge Update:

    I’ve lost Hitman. Yep, I asked too much of the man…after taking Cambria General, I pushed Ira, Fox and Hitman across to the university. Hitman was already rather wounded, and in game time, these folks have been fighting for nearly six hours. Fatigue had set in, stamina a rare commodity. When the guns didn’t jam, the bullets rarely found their mark. And Hitman was hit, man. I should have pulled out, I should have pulled out and headed back to the airport…

    Frank Hennessey, you were a good man. And, if the lore is to be believed, *this* close to retirement. That old chestnut, just one last mission. I’m sorry, Hitman. Here’s to you *raises glass*.

    16 hours logged
    9% of Arulco liberated
    2 Mercenaries operational (currently in field)
    2 Mercenaries deceased

  • unmanneddrone 2:57 pm on March 4, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, ,   

    @bowlisimo @beige You both mentioned “Sailing to Philadelphia” in your submissions, which was great. I decided to choose the road less travelled! Happy listening.

    Feenwager Challenge Update:

    A sneaking suspicion Back in Action will last a good long while. The mods the community have churned out thus far are incredible…and make it a savage, savage affair. I lost a good German mercenary this evening…Helmut ‘Grunty’ Grunther went down valiantly as we liberated Cambria General Hospital. I’m using a couple of new mods, Blue Dawn and Fireams Rebalanced, and they essentially make most enemies elite and heavily armoured, with the FR mod doubling the effective operating range of small arms as well as upping misfires and gun jams. Grunty, a fellow who had travelled with me for the fifteen hours I’d spent in BiA thus far, was cornered in a crossfire, with no angle of attack for Hitman and Ira to cover from and Fox helpless to apply first aid.

    Ironically, Grunty died right there on the floor of the hospital, with doctors cowering in their offices no more than ten metres away.

    He was avenged. It took two hours this eve to clear four rooms, but he was avenged. I will miss that man.

    EDIT: Note that also Frank “Hitman” Hennessey was also quite fond of him, so for the next few missions, his morale is going to be utterly buggered. Might keep him at Drassen Airport until his grief is over. This kind of crazy mercenary interplay is an utter shadow of Jagged Alliance 2 – which has incredible intersquad relationships – but I’m chuffed there’s a tiny case of digital glumness going on at the moment.

  • unmanneddrone 2:35 am on March 3, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action,   

    @feenwager Good stuff. We can always bung together a twitpoll or something to aid in the Feenwager reconquista. I’m going to continue with Jagged Alliance, which should last a good while. 13 or so hours in and I’ve only got 9% of Arulco liberated. God help me. Next stop, Cambria University, and from what I’ve seen via a squad on the outskirts, Deidranna’s forces are there in number.

    More than a great idea, a very sensible idea, this Feenwager Challenge.

  • unmanneddrone 4:20 am on February 20, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, Squad Scribbles, , The Reboot Quandary   

    Let us not read too deeply into the scrappy mess scribbled, scanned and slapped together! Mere whimsy and fancy. I dunno, when they’re not planned prior to pen pushed upon paper, they’re a little haphazard.

    But yes, the four characters are mere representation of interest and genre. The robot butler, the glue of reason and fraternity. However, what the damn machine was doing with Game Informer’s lowest scoring game of all time (if you count zero as a score), we shall never know. He’s gone now, for both transgressions of taste and lack thereof (apply whichever to either crime).

    But he might be back, the Squad Bot (cheers @tolkoto). Needless to say, the scribble resulted from our end of week discussion and, in classic style, took a hint of creative license.

    It is merely a bit of light-hearted tomfoolery for the Squad. We’ll see what happens next.

    To business:

    @angryjedi The strategy game. Especially the long ones. I think it’s a question of vested interest, and this really does strike at the heart of just what a burden playing the things can be – especially if, at least at first, systems do not telegraph fail-states or the path thereof to new players or players attempting something different. Probably the most wonky genre next to fighting games in terms of tutorials as well, which is all shades of crazy given the systems and mechanics, but player interpretation of the fail-state should be regarded as utterly pivotal in game design.

    Is it up to developers to telegraph outcomes with player choice? How much can we blame ourselves as gamers for simply not having enough experience or making bad choices? Even if, for the most part, the correct choices were made (in itself a very subjective notion) and we still “lost” – either against opponents or against our better judgement – are we to conceive that as a learning experience, poor design by developers, a mix of both? Anyway, I’m still ruminating. It’s a nebulous topic, and the sheer variation on integrated systems and mechanics makes it very much a case-by-case talking point.

    More to come when the upstairs porridge starts bubbling.

    @sinfony I’d love to jump into DF, but I’m already balls-deep (how crude!) in JA:BiA and Wargame and adding a third to the mix would be hellish for the schedule. I look forward to folks’ impressions, though. Probably the most enigmatic game around.

    @impynickers Here’s one for you, good sir! I’ve been wondering about this for a while, especially with Syndicate upon us. So much so that I’ll bold the son of a gun. Wait for it…


    As the resident Syndicate fan and cyberpunk connoisseur, I’d like you to go deeper on your views regarding the Starbreeze effort. What stock do we place on mechanics versus aesthetic when it comes to reboots? Is it holistic? Is it easier or harder for fans to take if their hallowed IP is rebooted within the same genre or as a completely different experience? XCOM fans were horrified (although I half think this was incredible bandwagoneering by folks who simply latched onto the franchise without experiencing it, in an attempt to embellish their own gamer cred) at the 2K Marin reboot, but I didn’t hear their proclamation of joy at the indie Xenonauts title prior to the Firaxis unveiling. By the same token, JA:BiA falls relatively close to the old school tree and fans are utterly torn over it. Would they have found a shooter set in the same universe easier to dismiss?

    Just curious for your thoughts, and any other Squaddy on the topic.

    And as a flimsy epilogue and to salve the wounds of not getting more time with it over the weekend, a little screenshot of two of my JA:BiA mercs stalking through a swamp to flank a roadblock. Fox and Grunty getting their feet wet, with Hitman (offscreen) down the road, nuzzling the smooth wooden stock of a dirty old Soviet rifle in the bushes.

    Still quite taken with Back in Action. Just one of those games that insults the inflexible old war dogs who hold JA2 as the finest of the fine, but when stripped of all responsibility and onus to the old games and system, is a remarkably fun experience in its own right.

  • unmanneddrone 3:52 pm on February 17, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action,   

    @rampantbicycle Yes, yes! Apologies. Cut and paste effort right here, so we’ll aim to have everything sorted and submitted by the 25th or something, then I’ll have it ready to roll by the end of the month.

    Get Out The Map

    Submit two tracks via THIS FORM, supply links if you feel the need, send me MP3s IN ADDITION to your form submission with the appropriate details via email at unmanneddrone ( a t ) gmail (d o t) com IF tracks are really obscure.

    I shall take motivation to get it out the door quickly via the kind words of my Materials Design & Tech teacher in highschool, the venerable Michael “Mick” Pennisi, in “Pulling the lead outta one’s arse, wombat!”.

    The lead has been removed.

    I played a few more hours of JA:BiA tonight. Feels good. Like Frozen Synapse and Silent Storm had a tryst in the jungle. Playing it pretty casually, letting enemy troops recapture settlements and roadblocks near the airport to, uh, grind? Yes. Grind for weapons, cash and XP. Hitman got himself a SCAR, so we mail-ordered for a reflex scope and a nice entry-level pair of night-vision goggles. Waited until dark and hit a roadblock just to test out the new gear.

    It was hairy, but it worked. Got a Mac-10 for our troubles and I gave it to one of the militia guarding the airport. Sharing is caring, my friends.

  • unmanneddrone 3:01 pm on February 15, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action,   

    A few more quick impressions before bed, for those in the market for a little PMC doing right for a change, on Jagged Alliance: Back in Action. Just finished up a well-earned little play session, liberated Drassen proper after my initial Drassen airport clean-up effort. Hired a new medic, green as hell, before making the half-day trek down south to the nearest township and set about wiping the revolutionary thugs off the streets.

    It’s a great game, exactly the kind I’d recommend for folks who want to, as @beige put it, push little mens about. There are some UI sticking points that should be patched away at some point, as they’re done better in the older games (things like switching items between units), but as it stands, super enjoyable.

    You’ve got the ability to synch units’ fire orders, so surrounding an encampment like a pack of predators has a delicious coup de grâce when positions are reached and units are ready. Clockwork firing and you’re looking at three or four once-were-revolutionaries in a split second. Of course, doing this with green troops and you’re likely to have half the shots miss, so it’s always rather exciting. Possibly one of the finest, though a little wonky, tactical stealth games on the market.

    Just before I quit this eve, I saw an enemy group head toward Drassen to reclaim it. I didn’t have the funds to arm the local militia after my liberation effort, so I suspect the next time I log in, those bastards will have taken it back.

    Big thumbs up.

    Also, played a few more rounds of Wargame: European Escalation pre-order beta. Man, that is such a neckbeard’s messiah. @bowlisimo might find it interesting. It’s definitely not World in Conflict 2…if I could sum up Wargame in a nutshell, it’d be:

    Amateurs study tactics. Professionals study logistics.

    All about them supply lines and LOS. Hopefully will unlock the supply heavy lifters (NATO Chinook variant, maybe?) over the weekend, because it’s a tough slog getting my trucks to where they need to go without being detonated by T-80s with fine optics, onboard ATGMs and stabilisers.

    Excuse the gushing, but systems like the ones found within Wargame give me the horns.

  • unmanneddrone 4:57 am on February 12, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: , Jagged Alliance Love-In, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action   

    @rampantbicyle I’ve escaped wrath just this once!

    @beige I guess if you’re after a Jagged Alliance experience, either in the old vein or the new school, it depends on how far you want to take it. Stodgy fans are kinda up in arms about this new Back in Action version, which essentially is Jagged Alliance 2, but in 3D and with a completely different control, movement and combat system.

    If you loved XCOM, I daresay you’d love Jagged Alliance. Thematically, it’s rich and humorous, as you guide your bunch of ragtag mercenaries across the island of Arulco, levelling and equipping them. I’d say Jagged Alliance 2 is an even greater game than the old XCOM titles, but it might just be personal preference. If XCOM took an Atomic 1950s Cinema approach to the flying saucer (read: pinkos!) phenomena, then Jagged Alliance is much more Deer Hunter meets Rambo. Mechanically, it’d be closer to a Fallout system, but it’s ruthless and, while it sounds asinine to say, is very weapon-conscious – enforces almost by de rigeur, as Sir-Tech of Wizardry fame made it.

    The basic gist is to reverse a coup and flush usurper forces from the country. You can capture/free mining operations and towns on the island to build a source of income, as well as trade items and scavenge for goods. Capturing the Drassen Airport (always the first order of business) means you can hire offshore mercenaries of varying skills and firearm specialities. Also, depending on your actions, you can hire locals to join any number of squads. Much like XCOM, there is permadeath for characters. I lost a relatively fresh medic the other night, and I must say it burned. She didn’t have the best firearm skills, but had incredible stats for perception and speed like no other. Left me with two gruff old war goats, both suffering exhaustion (you need to pace your missions…it’s pretty simulation-like in that regard) and leaky wounds.

    This is one franchise where I’ll take the boring ol’ military adventure over sci-fi and laser weaponry. It’s a sumptuous experience, with a vast array of options.

    Anyway, to differentiate:

    Jagged Alliance 2 / Unfinished Business (expanded missions) / Wildfire (hardcore reworking of JA2)


    Fixed isometric viewpoint. Custom mercenary creation tools. Mercenaries cannot decline hire offer. Larger mercenary pool. No fog of war, but unseen enemies only appear once spotted by mercenaries. Game is real-time until combat initiated, then strictly turn-based.

    Jagged Alliance: Back in Action


    Rotatable camera. Some zoom. No custom creation tools. Mercenaries can decline hire offer based on team performance or operational experience. No fog of war, all enemies outside of structures can be seen via map scrolling. Combat can occur in realtime, ala Commandos, or via predetermined command inputs when paused.

    If you want old school fastidiousness, JA2 Gold (includes Unfinished Business) or Wildfire is the way to go. If you want something akin to Silent Storm or Commandos, Back in Action is worth it. BiA does have a few caveats…there’s talk of patching in fog of war, because as it stands, it’s almost too brisk a game in the eyes of the fans due to immediate knowledge of enemy location. BiA features more ballistic damage and armour degradation, so there’s something to factor in. However, if you’re not willing to spend over a hundred hours, I’d go with BiA because it’s faster. Demo on Steam.

  • unmanneddrone 12:11 pm on February 11, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action, , , Modnation Racers: Road Trip, Super Stardust Delta, ,   

    @angryjedi It’s been a very interesting month with that game taking the SoS by storm. Especially on the back of, say, Dark Souls bringing 2011 to a close. From blind demon titans to…well…blind anime schoolgirls. I can’t say I needed more than a run down Emi’s path (let us leave that unintentional pun there to wither) to get my fill, but felt like it was aptly marked off in seeing what the fuss was about.

    Oh dear…I just realised that I’ve failed the Bechdel test in that scribble. @rampantbicycle, please forgive. It was a scrappy little ten minute scrawl this morning. Whenever the next comic pops up, I’ll aim for gender balance.

    With that, let’s have a good ol’ fashioned WHATCHA BEEN PLAYIN’? session:

    Tried playing some Men of War: Assault Squad with @bowlisimo today, but connection issues due to that hideous old dinosaur Gamespy prevented us from turning a pristine village into burning rubble and shattered lines. Boo. Next time, Gadget.

    Spent a few hours with Jagged Alliance: Back in Action. Just what the doctor ordered; a sleeker, faster combat and movement system within that wonderful ol’ failed state of Arulco. It’s true, there’s less micromanagement on the mercenary development side of things, with no way to custom-build an operative…but the visuals are gorgeous (in a detail-rich kind of way) and the Frozen Synapse-esque mechanics within a real-time game works wonders.

    On the Vita, it’s WipEout 2048, Modnation Racers Road Trip and Super Stardust Delta. Still working through WipEout – which is undeniably incredible, as I’m usually a fellow who doesn’t get too wowed by visuals – but Super Stardust Delta has now become the go-to “arcade” game. Smooth, beautiful and befitting the handheld terrifically. Good fun.

  • unmanneddrone 12:26 am on February 4, 2012 Permalink
    Tags: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action,   

    4chan, like most “notorious” communities I suppose, always appears to be bubble wrapped in a mythos much larger than a ground-level survey. Would it be out of place to suggest a sort of North Korea analogy? Sure, issues to begin with, but to be referred to by the Internet at large as a cesspit has a unifying effect and does strange things for internal collective personification.

    Also, Katawa Shoujo was pretty good, but I’m not going to count it as relevatory outside of where it came from. Maybe it’s the medium, but damn if it didn’t need some dialogue restraint and editing.

    That SCP foundation was another project that grew from 4chan under the ‘creepypasta’ title. Modern day Lovecraft. As much as you cannot challenge the creative boilers in the dank bowels of the place, thank God the project extracted itself from the overbearing stench of teen nihilism 4chan purveys (in my crotchety opinion).

    I encourage again folks to check it out. I tried it again last night in the dead of night and couldn’t make it more than 39 flights down. Tweeted some pithy observation that essentially said that the most effective form of dread is one incepted solely by the player. It’s telling that ultimately, your biggest adversary is your imagination in SCP-087. @bowlisimo might dig it, on account of Scratches.

    Oh yeah, Jagged Alliance: Back in Action! Stodgy old purists might hate it, but damn if it doesn’t feel like Frozen Synapse woven in Commandos 3. Still has a little of that Kalypso b-tier jank, but going by the demo, I’m all for this new iteration. There is nothing more painful, tangentially, than strategy purists. Horrible, entitled horn-rimmed cane wagglers. Anyone would think they’d had the Starwars original theatrical release treatment bestowed upon them.

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