Recently, I had the opportunity to spend a few hours playing the new Jagged Alliance game developed by Haemimont Games, known for its work on series such as Tropico, Omerta, and Victor Vran. Their challenging and perilous task is to restore one of the most beloved franchises of all time to its former glory.
Welcome to Grand Chien
Jagged Alliance 3, takes players to Grand Chien, a state in turmoil following the kidnapping of the current president by a group called “The Legion.” Players must take control of the situation by reclaiming territory, training an organized militia, and finding the president of course. This requires recruiting mercenaries and carefully planning every move.
Sat View (The Strategic Map)
One of the pillars of Jagged Alliance 2 was undoubtedly the strategic map, where players could move their mercenaries and carry out various operations. In Jagged Alliance 3, this feature returns in an excellent and well-executed manner and is called Sat View. Players can form different squads composed of different mercenaries, including some familiar faces such as Ivan, Fidel, Magic, and many others, and carry out various operations.
Once a territory is conquered, the player can assign one of the mercenaries to train a militia to repel future attacks, send scouts to search for tactical advantages or train other mercenaries to improve their skills. The strategic map is one of the elements that impressed me the most during the short playtest.
Tactical view (Explorations and Combat System)
Once players reach a new territory, they can switch to the tactical view, which takes them inside well-designed African scenarios where they can find NPCs to talk to and acquire information and new quests. Exploration of the scenarios takes place in real-time, and players can activate the stealth mode, allowing mercenaries to go around and get a clear idea of the enemies and perhaps position themselves strategically to resolve a potential firefight from an advantageous position. However, I found it a bit difficult to initiate a stealth approach during the brief playtest. The information provided was unclear, and I couldn’t complete a stealth kill without alerting the enemies around.
Once players engage in combat, they will have a turn to move all the mercenaries in their squad, each with action points to use for movement and attacking. The game features a cover and half-cover system, and with each movement, players will have a preview of the line of fire in relation to the enemies present on the battlefield.
Jagged Alliance 3 also reintroduces the aiming system. Players can decide to aim at different body parts to gain specific accuracy and damage bonuses and maluses and activate status alterations based on the parts hit. Hitting the head will be more difficult but will cause more damage, while hitting the torso is easier but with lower damage due to the enemies’ armor. As in JA2, players can spend more action points to improve accuracy and increase the chances of hitting the enemy.
A window will indicate all the bonuses and maluses that contribute to the successful execution of the current attack. Still, unfortunately, the hitting chance percentage is missing, which I found strange and inconvenient.
I believe that Jagged Alliance 3 is a title that can make its mark in the modern era of strategy games while maintaining some classic mechanics from the previous installment. During my brief playtest, I could appreciate the characterization of each character, who showed their personality during conversations and demonstrated their skills during combat and on the strategic map. I particularly enjoyed the strategic map, but I have doubts about the combat system but is also true that I need to explore it more than the few hours I have spent so far. In the meantime, I prepared a brief video overview to show the game in action.
What the other websites said about Jagged Alliance 3
Rock Paper Shotgun
While the game boasts a detailed African landscape, top-down perspective, and interactive objects that resemble modern strategy games, it lacks modern conveniences such as chance-to-hit information, leaving players frustrated and annoyed. THQ Nordic has stated that the decision to remove the chance-to-hit number was made to make the game distinct from XCOM clones. Despite Jagged Alliance 3 providing detailed information on damage and accuracy modifiers, understanding how they affect each other is difficult. The game fails to explain crucial information, making informed decisions challenging. Read the full article
The game features mines, hidden enemies, and other elements that can throw plans into disarray. Unlike other games in this genre, Jagged Alliance 3 does not display the odds of hitting targets, forcing players to rely on intuition and guesswork. The game’s unpredictability and lack of transparency make it a unique and fun experience, especially when played with a friend in co-op mode. Read the full article
…The game features a complex combat system with an expansive map that allows players to explore at their own pace, encounter environmental factors that affect battle, and discover loot for profit. The game warns of its difficulty and features permanent mercenary death, but also offers moments of levity and unique personalities for each mercenary. Read the full article