my new Addiction : Jagged Alliance 2

My younger brother and I will be starting co-op when he returns from a trip in Dallas. I expect to have pretty thorough notes taken and will be writing a review.


I look forward to your review. If it works well, I would be up for co-op JA

Jagged Alliance 2 is one of my favorite games. It's also a perfect example of a very difficult game that would not be as good if it were significantly easier. As strange as this sounds, to me it's very comparable to the XBox Ninja Gaiden in design: Both are games with vast tactical options that force you(this is key) to understand and use those options to progress. This makes for very satisfying gameplay. It has some balance issues, but that brand new patch looks super great.

I'm picking this up next time its on sale.

Should I play unmodded JA2, or immediately install 1.13?

I was also told to disable the Drassen counter attack.

I would install 1.13.

Just a heads up for you JA fans:

20% off a relatively high base price in circumstances where nobody has been able to release a successor for 20 odd years and you've got the original dev consulting on the project.

Still, I'm pretty excited. The last couple of trailers had Scully and quite a few other AIM Mercs from the earlier games.

I might bite the bullet and pre-order just to get the slight discount. Keeping my fingers crossed for at least a somewhat decent successor.

I've been mostly ignoring this as I assumed it would flop, but so far all of the reviews are surprisingly positive. I might still hold out until the promised mod-scene blooms, but this looks something I'll want to pick up after all.

I've played a few hours albeit fumbling with the UI and trying to understand the systems more so than kicking redshirt butt.

Definitely a bit taxing on your machine, I may have to turn settings down

AI doesn't hold back and has decent accuracy (not laser accurate as say XCOM).

Quite fun and good at a discounted price.

I've played a few hours albeit fumbling with the UI and trying to understand the systems more so than kicking redshirt butt.

Definitely a bit taxing on your machine, I may have to turn settings down

AI doesn't hold back and has decent accuracy (not laser accurate as say XCOM).

Quite fun and good at a discounted price.

I played an hour or so. It's not easy. Is there a place to buy weapons and ammo? Or just all looted from dead enemies?

So far I haven't found a weapons/ammo store. I'll check the map for an airport to capture, as that was how you got your goodies delivered in JA2.

Re difficulty, stealth kills are hugely advantageous. Mouse starts with a silenced pistol; headshots to take out lone sentries helps you reduce enemy numbers. You can achieve a similar result with a sniper rifle but I haven't got the parts to craft silencers.

I could have sworn we had a JA3 thread but I can't seem to find it; for now I'll post in this one.

I think I screwed up my first playthrough from a cash management perspective. My mercs were signed up for 7-day contracts but this is far more expensive than renewing them on 14-day contracts. I only realised this a few weeks into the campaign. I might be able to salvage it by not renewing one or two mercs to get into a cash flow positive position and fortifying the one mine I took over.

That said, I wanted to muck around with other merc builds, like melee/shotgun Steroid Gondarski (his voice acting is a hilarious Arnold Schwartznegger knockoff). His markmanship is 89 which is ridiculous, but his dexterity is sub 40s meaning he doesn't come with very many action points per turn, making turn economy poor. So I started a new playthrough, and am considering yet another playthrough to build different merc compositions I have never used before.

Also, despite playing JA for over a decade, I didn't realise Grizzly has a rivalry with Steroid. Once a particular battle ended, Steroid accused Grizzly of flexing his muscles during combat; Grizzly flat out denies this until Steroid calls him out for unbuttoning his shirts to flex his abs, at which point Grizzly starts stuttering

I'm not sure how I feel about JA3 yet. All the call backs are fantastic and it's got the wacky trpg simulator running in the background; it plays like a slightly tweaked XCOM game, with some of the perks/mechanisms that reward aggression like the fantastic WH40k Daemonhunters game from 2022. Yet some of the UI choices feel archaic and cumbersome, like the lack of a real time to pause button, which makes pulling off a well planned ambush harder than it should be.

Okay, with a few more hours in and on my third (and serious) playthrough, I think I can more seriously appraise JA3.

It's fun. It's not an up-rezzed clone of JA2. It's tough, but part of the challenge comes from not understanding in-game mechanisms. Should have lots of replayability as modders get busy and patches/DLC start coming through.

For example, an auto weapon burst is not a straight up multiplier of damage per bullet but instead an abstraction of what might happen if the burst resulted in an average of unclustered impact points, making it a slightly more average damage profile than a hit or miss result with single rounds fired. You'd think clustered impacts on bursts would be a thing given that's how modern small arms are intended to discharge but anyway it's one of those balancing mechanisms that's got the JA community up in arms.

There are also heavy biases to sniper rifle bullet/dpt economy which is a bit silly to expect the optimum strategy is for every kill to be a long range head shot. It's also a bit weird how enemies can absorb 2+ headshots once they have headgear. I'm pretty certain 7.62mm rounds to a head isn't something a human should be shrugging off, but eh, it's the developers balancing choice to create bullet sponges to artificially increase the difficulty. But this combined with the abstraction of burst fire damage only serves to railroad the tactics in the game toward a particular meta. That's not to say other tactics cannot flourish (melee intensive perk choices can be extremely effective).

Overall I think this is probably the best successor to JA2 (admittedly a low bar).

I just hope people don't boycott the game for silly things like not giving you a % CTH. I guess there are Workshop mods that do exactly that but I agree with the Dev explanation that having too much information would make it less nerve racking as people would act more on numbers rather than entrust rnjesus.

Dunno if anyone else bought this, but I ended up buying it after watching a let's play. I didn't play 1 or 2, though I remember how popular they were at the time. I'm just posting my experiences here in the hope people have tips.

I have put it on the easiest mode I can, and chose mercs who were recommended to me by the game. I've ended up with Steroid, Ice, Red and MD. Red's grenades and Ice are doing the vast majority of my kills. I'm having trouble playing Steroid effectively - he is always very low on AP. I have given all my people AK-47s but they aren't being very effective with them yet (unless a melee enemy is right next to them).

The newbie island was pretty straightforward in the end. I took the fort out my going past the mines and just getting on top of the building and shooting everyone from up there.

There wasn't a natural place to go on the mainland, but I remember Emma said she was going to Cacao City, so I landed next to it and then went into the city - it was on the edge of the map and seemed defensible. That was a very long and tough battle, and it felt like a real difficulty spike, so I'm wondering if I wasn't supposed to go there yet, but land somewhere else and work my way down. I dunno. I have no more sniper rifle ammo, no more grenades, and my backpacks are full of stuff.

I got this today. It does feel like a modern JA2. The real time setup is, I think, a large improvement over the "always turn based even if you start a mile away from the action" of JA2. The %CTH missing is fine with me - I think it is fresh and "new" in this day and age. Overall it is quite fun.

That said, I think I will need to restart. I have been playing pretty sloppily and have run into a large medicine deficit. As in no one can get hurt on a mission (which is not going to happen) because I have 3, I think. Oops.

Also, I did not fully understand some of the mechanics fully and made some mistakes. And, boy that terrain sure is destructible, isn't it (need more meds now - damn I don't have any).

Don't worry tboon, I'm onto my third restart

A couple of tips:

1. Steriod is initially a trap with his low dexterity. With enough time and money he could be improved with training but you don't have that luxury until you have at least 2 mines running. If you skip Steroid, your early cost-efficient mechanic choices are Kalyna (decent enough sniper but only mediocre repair skills) or Livewire (her VA sound bites got a bit grating on my ears though). Livewire makes good money hacking and her intel can reveal all enemies, making for easier ambushing and clearing sectors.

2. Your starting town of Ernie actually has a crafting station (keep scrolling down in the Operations screen). Explosives experts are necessary. Once you capture every sector on the beginner island, you should have 7 "gunpowder" items - you should be able to craft 30x7 = 210 ammo of your calibre choice. You probably need more 7.62 NATO rounds; I would consider skipping 5.56 as the FAMAS becomes ineffective in comparison to 7.62 chambered rifles.

3. Put the 20-parts silencer mod on the starting 7.62 NATO rifles for easy mode with clearing sentries and pods. Saves a ton of ammo too with stealth kills. This game is all about bullet conservation. Use them on 80+ marksmanship mercs. Heck, buy your $6,999 IMP merc and make them 85 marksmanship and there's one permanent sniper in the team.

4. That leads me to my next point. Barry Unger is a ridiculously good explosives expert and he learns quickly with high wisdom. Not only is he cheaaap, he makes two shaped charges (the most deadly explosives) once every week or so for FREE. He's really brokenly good.

5. The mines run out of money really fast. It's apparently intended to force you to keep moving around and capturing towns and mines. If you can, once you see them, ambush enemy diamond convoys - they carry a $12,000 large diamond case which will help sustain your squad.

6. High dex characters, if you can make them work together, are Mouse and Fox. 14AP a round is stupidly helpful.

Bfgp wrote:

Your starting town of Ernie actually has a crafting station (keep scrolling down in the Operations screen).


Agree with the tip on Barry - he's super good. I like LIvewire, she's been very useful. It may help that I have sound going to headphones and then I don't wear them when I play. Wish she could actually hit something sometimes though.

Should I be dropping my current mercs and replacing them? I have Ice, MD, Steroid and Red, so if I drop Steroid for Kalyna and Red for Barry I'll still be covering my Explosives / Mechanics/ Medical bases. I suppose that I thought it would be worth keeping themnsice I've levelled them up.

Location wise, is the centre of the mainland easier than the south? I've seen some tips to start at Fleatown.

Personally I think you could make it work. All merc combinations are generally viable, I just think with Red you're giving up a lot of free explosives by not taking Barry.

Barry and Kalyna are solid starting picks, the latter because she comes with a 7.62 sniper rifle...but there's plenty of those on the starting island let alone the rest of the map. Just be mindful with Kalyna there's a fair number of doors/devices where her mechanical skill is too low and she will fail important gun modifications unless you make liberal use of save scumming to avoid durability loss and loss of parts and rare components. Barry is endgame good, Kalyna is early to mid-game. This is also borne out in how Kalyna levels up quickly as a sniper but she can't even take many perks due to initial stat distribution. I'm likely going to drop her for someone like Vicky (ambidextrous pistols/Uzi a bit weak but she'll probably pass all the skill checks and has an infinite durability lockpick set). Kalyna is $10k+ for 14 days currently at level 4 for me.

Don't forget to strip any equipment before letting a merc go or you won't see the gear again until you rehire.

Ice is strong initially but his special move can draw multiple return fire rounds as his move consists of multiple shots at a single target. Enemy Brutes will unload their shotguns into him for this reason. Might want to consider making him a long range marksman rather than a CQB specialist.

MD is a decent doctor (cheaper than Fox and Mouse). He'll need some training in marksmanship and physical stats
to make him really useful. He's currently my second "squad" for training militia and pack mule runs (ah, where's Hamish and his icecream truck).

Fleatown for sure is easier, don't do the ghost of the mansion side quest until your mercs are better armed. Both locations have enemies with similar tech (read: bullet calibre and weapons) but the southern port has 2 set-piece battles where you'll be outnumbered between 2:1 and 3:1. Far northwestern mine is apparently viable too.

Lastly, if you err as I did (crossed onto the middle of the southern mainland and got stranded) with no port until you capture one, you'll be out-teched but they do have better guns than what you can find until then. Then again, the bump in difficulty will happen at that point anyway.

I finally got back to JA3 this weekend and got stuck into it.

They fixed the mines running out of diamonds last patch so I was in a healthy surplus of funds.

The patch was supposed to cause gunpowder (crafting component for ammo) to drop more regularly but au contraire it hasn't dropped once over hours and hours of gameplay. I'm ok for now, having crafted hundreds of rounds and diversifying ammo types using both NATO, Warsaw Pact and (finally) a sniper rifle using 0.44 rounds. I've only sparingly used a machine gun so my ammo supplies are still healthy.

So I decided to splurge on Livewire (cheapest mechanic who can pass most skill checks) and swapped out Kalyna who is now on my B team. Also hired Raider and his wife Higgins for a knockout Leadership and sniper combo and I used Raider's high leadership plus Kalyna's modest repair and leadership to prospect in the Port Cacao mine, netting extra income. B team is responsible for defending and retraining militia, also training up the weaker Mercs in their down time.

Still got a ton of income surplus so I'm thinking of hiring Reaper or Scully, but they're not necessary yet. Ridiculously, Barry has hit level 7 so he's more experienced than legendary A.I.M. mercs at this point. His shaped charges, despite being nerfed, can still trivialise an encounter although a full squad of snipers is practically eliminating the need for explosives.

As I was slogging through the backwater sectors with the A team, I came across one of the coolest Easter eggs from JA2 I won't ruin the surprise but the voice acting and lines were hilarious!

I also stumbled upon a secret tunnel that linked me to a hidden faction's base. Lots of little quirks to discover in this game.

Overall I'm quite happy with the state of vanilla JA3. I still think burst/auto fire is a wee bit unbalanced vs single shots but someone will probably tweak it. I think it's to do with how much accuracy you can stack with lying prone with a fully modded assault rifle or machine gun; every Merc would be sending 3 bullets downrange with absurd damage output that the only solution for increasing difficulty is amping up the bullet sponge HP, more enemy units per map or giving every enemy a get out of jail move (they drop prone negating your first successful hit which does exist in JA3).

Other things I haven't properly tried are melee/shotgun and SMG flanker roles. It's hard to justify when the AI can send rockets with bullet precision across a map; though I will say once CQC is upon me with swarms of redshirts I do struggle for action point economy with whittling down multiple targets per Merc. Assault rifles seem to bridge this gap by having an action economy of 2 shots vs a single sniper rifle round, but marksmanship and weapon mods have to give enough accuracy to pull this off.