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Default RPGWatch Feature - Jagged Alliance: BiA First Impressions

February 8th, 2012, 01:58
With Jagged Alliance: Back in Action due for release in only a few days, Gorath brings us some first impressions. What can we expect from bitComposer's reboot of the classic franchise? Here's an excerpt from the article:
Let's get it over with: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is not turn-based! Instead it uses a custom-built version of the well known and generally totally mediocre (read: mass market compatible) real-time with pause (RTwP) called „Plan&Go“. Everything happens simultaneously. There's no fog of war. All enemies can be seen as soon as you enter the sector, only enemies inside a building are displayed as one bigger cluster representing an unknown number of troops.
So much for the bad news. Here is the good news: Plan&Go works well and it's not primitive at all. The player not only has a lot of control, he actually should pause the game to plan his next steps and coordinate his squad members. Going into RTS auto-pilot and casually shuffling mercs around will lead to a rude awakening. JA:BiA is neither an RTS nor an action game, it's still a tactical game which requires slow and careful play. A hasty course of action will lead to frustration. Effectively, the RT in RTwP will only be used to move quickly from A to B.
Read it all here.
More information.
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February 8th, 2012, 01:58
Some other questions about the strategy map and merc and militia management, can you still recruit locals like Ira? Are there vehicles for a faster move on the main map? Are you still able to shop for some of your weapons?
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February 8th, 2012, 03:17
I can only answer this from hearsay, because none of this is included in the demo.

You can recruit locals for the militia and give them some of your weapons.

Weapons shopping is a core part of the game. I've seen it in a video. You can even pay for overnight shipping.

Don't know about vehicles.

Expect a lot of simplification on the strategy map. There's probably good reason why it wasn't shown in the demo.
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February 8th, 2012, 03:41
why no fog of war for a tactical game?
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February 8th, 2012, 03:49
Originally Posted by SonOfCapiz View Post
why no fog of war for a tactical game?
That's the question everybody asks.

Official word is that fog of war was in until ca. August last year. Then after lots of test it was taken out because the feedback was that this specific game is more fun without. So it's not a technical issue. The engine supports FoW.
I don't miss it, but of course I can't say if it would make a positive or negative difference, because the whole balancing would have to take FoW into consideration. At least no fog of war means one random element less, and certainly far less trial and error.
As for suspension of disbelieve, one could argue that modern mercenaries would send a high tech drone with cameras and heat sensors over the area before going in.
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February 8th, 2012, 04:44
They would also have access to satellite imagery for the area so fog of war would be unrealistic in a game like this. On the other hand I would prefer to have a fog of war since when I played strategy games I thought of it as a cheat without the fog of war.
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February 8th, 2012, 11:49
I just tried the demo. Feels quite nice but I'm missing some basic stuff - my oversight, I'm sure.

Does it have edge-scrolling? It annoys me not being able to just move around organically…I'd like to zoom out more, too. Is there a shortcut to select the entire team? I tried to check the keybindings but couldn't see any option for that.

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February 8th, 2012, 12:32
Sounds better than I expected. Will have to give the demo a try.
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February 8th, 2012, 13:27
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
I just tried the demo. Feels quite nice but I'm missing some basic stuff - my oversight, I'm sure.

Does it have edge-scrolling? It annoys me not being able to just move around organically…I'd like to zoom out more, too. Is there a shortcut to select the entire team? I tried to check the keybindings but couldn't see any option for that.
Actually not your oversight.

The demo is full of little things which could be optimized. The undocumented group inventory (-> double click on the sinus curve in the inventory) should be activated. (Careful when you use it. I'm not sure if or when it resets.). Esc should lead to the main menu. Now there are 2 similar menus, one with save and one without. Why?

Of course there are still dozens of hidden bugs and balancing issues. Plan&Go sometimes swallows commands at very close range. The enemy can shoot through a wall in the hospital. Grenades take too long to explode. Pistols and Uzis are quite useless, I think. The sniper rifle is overpowered. Guns are unloaded if you use another one.
All no big deal, but it remains to be seen if they really allocate the resources to clean it up.
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February 8th, 2012, 15:36
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Actually not your oversight.

The demo is full of little things which could be optimized. The undocumented group inventory (-> double click on the sinus curve in the inventory) should be activated. (Careful when you use it. I'm not sure if or when it resets.). Esc should lead to the main menu. Now there are 2 similar menus, one with save and one without. Why?

Of course there are still dozens of hidden bugs and balancing issues. Plan&Go sometimes swallows commands at very close range. The enemy can shoot through a wall in the hospital. Grenades take too long to explode. Pistols and Uzis are quite useless, I think. The sniper rifle is overpowered. Guns are unloaded if you use another one.
All no big deal, but it remains to be seen if they really allocate the resources to clean it up.

Ive i read all of that, i guess i will wait a bit longer to actually start the game.
Perhaps a patch or 2.
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February 8th, 2012, 15:50
Nothing has been announced, but I bet there will be a patch close to release.

The grenade thing for example has already been fixed, according to the forum rep (who is a producer on another project).
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February 8th, 2012, 18:34
The problem with no fog of war is that the setting is sorta ruined. You can play it as a tactics game, but it'll sorta feel like shining force after awhile ok so a crazy long range one but still. If you're not needing to move your units the way you would move an insertion or swat team, it's not exactly jagged alliance. That said, I'll probably still enjoy it. How many tactical shooters do we have these days?
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February 8th, 2012, 19:34
Looks great Gorath, sent to Blue.

Trust me, most of the names I have been called you can't translate in any language…they're not even real words as much as a succession of violent images.
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February 8th, 2012, 19:44
Alright, I'm sold. I still hate the fact that it's not turnbased, but if all the tactical elements are in place then ok. I'll just pretend it's a distant cousin to JA2

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February 10th, 2012, 16:38
Thanks for this nice overview. I might give the demo a chance after all.

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