Review by z129000
"Easily the best tactical strategy game to date"
By this day and age, Jagged Alliance 2 is beginning to feel the test of time, yet it's gameplay still remains fresh in a genre full of stale games, strategy. Jagged Alliance 2 features turn-based tactical strategy, an interesting yet light-hearted story, a dash of RPG gameplay, and plenty of weapons, locations and character to combine into one excellent gaming experience.
For it's time, Jagged Alliance 2 featured some fairly decent graphics. At the present time, Jagged Alliance is beginning to look very outdated and bland. By far the biggest graphical issue is character models, and how they are all exactly the same with only a few pallette switches. Still, backgrounds tend to be detailed, weapons are accurately drawn and character portraits are well done.
Another feature that was above average for it's time but not holding up in the test of time. Speech is done well, as is the soundtrack, but repetitive and fairly generic sound effects, such as walking, firing and ricocheting bullets, tend to get quite annoying yet still bearable.
The key feature to this game, and what has held it's head up throughout the years, is the gameplay. Starring your created main character, a mercenary on a mission to libertate a small, fictional, third-world country, and a band of several other hired guns, this game takes you through a variety of locations and fighting a variety of opponents. From common soldiers and elite Queen's guardsmen to hellcats and alien bugs, this game definitely has the variety department filled. There are hundreds of weapons, along with hundreds of NPCs to meet. The game will take you accross deserts, temperate cities and tropical rainforests. Anywhere from small towns, military installations, slums and large, lavish mansions. Cities and buildings are entirely explorable, as are items in the game. Want to buy an item but don't have the money? Shoot the clerk, but don't expect anyone to fill his place, therefore you will get your item but the store will never be able to restock. Such realism is quite fun and keeps the experience fresh. Characters walk around in real-time mode until an enemy is encountered, where Action Points are expended in a turn-based tactical battle. It takes a certain number of AP to perform any action, from swimming, climbing, walking, running, shooting, stabbing, lockpicking...the list goes on. In spite of the serious background story, violence and realism involved, the game is quite satirical and at times very humorous and light-hearted. Still, a very definite feeling of urgency is felt as you train local militia's against the nation's large dictatorial military all the while heading, with your personal mercenary elites, to the Queen's palace, liberating places and people as you go. The game handles character statistics, medical skills, marksmenship, strength, etc., through RPG-styled stat level-ups and upgrades.
Creating your own character alone makes this game worthwhile to replay. As explained before, the game features RPG-style statistic level-ups. The type of character you begin as will greatly effect the type of game you play. From a sniper to a doctor to a ninja-like stealth assassin, every ''class'' is played very much different, and you'll spend a lot of time with your main character during the first few hours of the game. Speaking of hours, this game is quite long, especially if you wish to liberate every city and complete every side-quest, which are quite abundant.
To be short, Jagged Alliance 2 is an excellent tactical strategy/RPG with a fresh and fun approach to the genre. Fans of the Fallout series will easily fall in love with this game, as will gun or strategy enthusiasts. If you don't fall into one of those catagories, go ahead and give Jagged Alliance 2 a try, it's probably quite cheap by now and will definitely give you your money's worth.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/05/03, Updated 06/05/03
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