Jagged Alliance - Back in Action is getting better
Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is being patched into relative playability. We commented earlier on how the first edition wasn’t very good. However they are working on making it a decent game some day.
The Changes to Jagged Alliance: Back in Action itself
This is directly quoted from the Jagged Alliance: Back in action patch list:
• Added hard difficulty level as option on game start. Modifies enemy strength, income and starting funds.
• Added tactical mode as option on game start.
Enemies have to be revealed via line of sight in tactical mode.
Sound sources are marked in tactical view as well as on the minimap
• Added two new achievements for tactical mode and higher difficulty.
• Added option to level recruited militia up via the location UI on the world map.
• Added options to distribute militia via location UI.
• Added sector inventory, accessible via Character Detail Screen
Always accessible in friendly sectors.
Automatically includes all containers that have been opened and all enemy drops that have been spotted by the player.
Accessible for militia recruitment and trading with NPCs.
• Added item exchange via Drag & Drop in Character Details Screen. Illegible mercs are marked red. • Within hostile sectors mercs need to be within 5m distance to be able to exchange items.
• Stamina is reduced when returning to the strategic map when squads travelled great distances in the tactical view
• Current ammo saved for each weapon, weapons are unloaded when being handed over to militia. • Militia will hand weapons back unloaded to prevent players cheating ammo via the militia equip screen.
• NPC Traders restock their inventory over time (rules can be modified via characters.txt).
• Targeting line indicates best range of weapon and chance to hit via color from green (good) to red (bad).
• Camera scrolling possible by moving the cursor to the border of the screen in fullscreen mode.
• Added Sound FX for melee attacks.
• Putting away a fire arm for non-combat actions (e.g. heal) will no longer reset the firemode of the weapon.
• Added scrollbar in mail list window.
• Added trash can icon to delete mail to mail window.
• Fixed some exploits that allowed to duplicate items via item exchange
• Fixed bugs in squad selection via list on world map
• Fixed regeneration of HP on world map, HP lost due to wounds takes longer to regenerate
• Added missing text for Raider’s hiring dialogue
• Fixed Blood not liking Magic due to a typo
• Fixed MP53 weapon type not being specified
• Fixed Deidranna’s sending of troops based on the player’s income becoming less likely
• Fixed orientation of 66mm rocket shot from LAW
• Fixed issue when player receives several items of the as quest reward and has not enough space in inventory to hold all of them
• Fixed crash in tutorial
• Fixed several mercs that move as a group changing positions after reaching their destination if one of them with active guard mode receives a new goto order
• Fixed guard mode would prevent mercs from letting other mercs pass them
• Fixed mail list not being cleared when starting a new game
• Fixed item swap to player inventory for stacked items on rightclick and by “loot all”-button
• Fixed bug in loner trait
• Fixed bug in tough trait
• Added slight offset to grenade explosions to prevent explosions inside ground to prevent grenades damage to be reduced by terrain
• Changes to terrain to prevent grenades from falling through ground on machines with low frame rates
• Fixed explosions not destroying armor correctly
Balancing Changes and Tweaks
• Added grenade launcher ammo to containers in some locations in the world
• Added grenade launcher ammo to the stock of some local traders
• Slightly decreased accuracy of snipers when prone
• Tweaked enemy attributes to adjust aim time in combat
• Tweaked enemy perception to accommodate introduction of Line of Sight
• Enemies drop the amount of ammo they have left in their weapon
• Enemy area defenders swap random positions to make the game less predictable in tactical mode (interval can be modified via templatesAIdescription.txt)
• Reduced chance of friendly fire between enemies
• State of tanks is stored outside of levels
• Destroyed tanks only respawn if the location still belongs to the enemy after 24 hours
• Location of Limited Edition DaHonko Flakes is now randomized
• NPC traders item list is sorted by item type
• Tweaks and improvements to pathfinding and navmesh calculation, mercs should not slow down in narrow passages anymore
• Tweaked damage done to vehicles by explosives making tanks harder to destroy with grenades alone
• Polish language files added
• Added missing texts for French
• Added polish translation for game launcher
So what does all this mean for Jagged Alliance: Back in Action gameplay?
Overall these are some big improvements to this newest Jagged Alliance game. You can get tactical mode from the start, which now gives you better information. You have more recruitment options and better access to your inventory. This patch to Jagged Alliance even gives you more options for your characters. NPC traders now restock and targeting has some simplified guides.
What does this mean for Jagged Alliance : Back in Action itself?
As you can see, there were also a huge number of bug fixes and game balances. Enemy attributes and perception have been altered so some of them are not so ridiculous. Overall it is good to see improvements to this new edition of Jagged Alliance. Maybe in two or three more patches we will have a playable game. However if you do want to check it out still, you can get it on Steam or at their site.
Jagged Alliance as a poster child for the way we now make games
The problem that Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is not potential or even really base quality. It is that they rushed the game out without properly testing it with old Jagged Alliance players. This is actually standard for pretty much every medium to large size company now. We actually very much like Kalypso, but they have a tendency to do this with many games. We need to move away from this and back to a time when we actually thoroughly playtested our games. As a journalist, I would rather not have to review a completely different game if it is patched into being good.