Jagged Alliance 3

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Blood and Fox in Jagged Alliance 3.

Below are hypertext links to and ongoing notes about my first playthrough of Jagged Alliance 3. I’m streaming these live on my Twitch channel.

A complete, living review of the game will almost magically materialize here once I’m further along.

Ongoing Notes

  • Militias and enemies should have random names to make you care about each individual during fights instead of them being anonymous. See NPCs in Elite for how it should be done.
  • Enemies need to look different, with random clothing. I think there is a mod for this but I cannot find it any longer.
  • Photo mode “disable/hide UI” key should hide the entire UI, including the button to disable the UI. Esc key should bring it back.
  • I love the music, including the main theme. Very 80’s action movie-like, with nuanced instrumental touches. Excellent work!
  • The sound, from user interface to picking things up to ambient to weapons are outstanding!
  • Voice acting seems somewhat less good than JA2 thus far, but I haven’t tried many mercs yet. Some are very annoying. Others grow on me. ¶ It would be nice to be able to mute an individual merc. ¶ After a merc first picks up the phone saying a message, they don’t say a second message if you take a while to respond by hiring them. I always thought that was a nice touch in JA2.
  • Strange to have mercenary Ivan featured so prominently on the cover at this time given Pukin’s horrible war. Ukraine Banksy Stamp A different merc or different cover design would be a better choice for Haemimont Games and THQ Nordic.
  • Built-in extensive modding support, from making new mercs with custom voices, weapons, stories and quests, and maps is what will probably make this a timeless classic. Very happy to see this in almost from day 1 (the map editor is coming)!
  • Speaking of mods, weapon attachments are now done through weapon mods that require parts that you salvage in the environment. Tip: Right-click on a weapon to salvage it for parts.
  • While I’m still at the start, the story seemingly gives choices with grave consequences, such as someone being hanged or not. Writing is decent, but not quite at the level of JA2.
  • In JA2 there were other complete websites to explore via the browser interface rather than “404 not found” and “server error” blank pages. Hopefully this can be added with the modding.
  • If you don’t have a sense of humor, especially regarding 1980’s action films, or are easily triggered, you may have…problems with the writing.
  • Blue health bars with dark gray for damage and light gray for bandaged wounds are hard to see. Red health bars with yellow for wounds and pink for bandaged wounds would be better.
  • Numbers showing remaining ammo out of total should be the same color as the key color of the type of ammo used (red for armor piercing, for example).
  • When enemy armor is broken an icon is prominently displayed over the body part it was protecting, which is helpful. You can have someone shoot with armor-piercing ammo to break armor, followed by another merc using “blue” ammo to inflict more damage once the armor is broken.
  • Maps currently seem smaller and engagements more compressed than JA2. Not necessarily worse, but different.
  • Placement of mercs when defending a sector is (sometimes?) limited to certain areas, rather than giving you the entire map.
  • The graphics are nice, but a little too clean, with not enough texture in the user interface in particular.
  • During in-game conversations it would be nice not to blur and pause the overall scene. It makes a difference to see movement and the world alive while the conversation is going on, and it would be best to focus on the faces of the mercs, with animated basic expressions, like in JA2.
  • Perks are interesting. They change the gameplay, giving more focus on things like debuffs of enemies and merc interrupt abilities.
  • Love the gunplay and the charming “action movie” spins, somersaults, and slides into cover.
  • It’s nice to have so many things that can be shot accidentally and broken like bottles, buckets, windows, and so on. Makes me feel like I’m in an action film.
  • Stealth kills are confusing, but not difficult once you know how they’re done. It was fairly difficult in vanilla JA2, too.
  • Games are like music or books or paintings or smells, experiences with memories attached. I played a lot of Jagged Alliance 2 at my parents’ old house after returning from university and staying with them for some time to avoid paying rent while looking for work. I never finished it at the time, and only many years later, probably due to a move to another house, finding work, etc.

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