Jagged Alliance 3: a study case (spoilers on gameplay)
April 8th, 2012, 20:17
Could not find the dedicated thread (if there is one)
Not arguing about this game fitting the series.
JA3 is an enjoyable but mediocre game. The reason? it is finished 40 % to 60%
After playing it, I came to wonder how so many items serve no purpose, how linear the game progression is and how similar developpment of characters turns out to be.
But developpers left many hints about their original intentions. So I replayed it but this time, not as the game was but as it was supposed to be.A totally different game that gives regrets the ideas were not implemented.
Basically, the game only features the tactical side of the game while the whole strategical side is missing.
You were supposed to land on the island and from that moment, having to perform a various sets of operations:
-hit and run operations
Enemy squads were supposed to hunt you down around the island, based on intel. So you would have to choose your path carefully, avoiding to be detected, hiding in the jungle if you had the camo for or the desert etc…
NPCs could be interacted in meaningful ways anytime.
Locations maps layout is a big give away when it comes to recon. You were not supposed to know all the enemies' positions but have to discover them.
Same for infiltration and exfiltration.
Hit and run operations would complement the necessary use of C4 as it leads to opening access to certain areas of maps.
Items to become mandatory:
mines to help falling back during hit and run operations, C4 explosives to give yourself an access to certain access of a location ( a vendor, a weapon cache, a jailed prisoner etc), food (as you need it to avoid exhaustion when running around the island map), lockpicks, crowbars to open doors, the defuse kits to secure a path and go through, use of handguns.
A totally different game with meaningful consequences like handpicking mercenaries specifically for certain tasks (stealth is mandatory for infiltration, recon), fit or athletic mercenaries are better for running away and in the end, you developp your mercenaries in various ways to fit the various uses and locations were to be captured in several moves. Unlinear progression.
All this was thought of and partially implemented by developpers. There was also probably something with the TWs and batteries, a kind of connection between partners in squads or between squads themselves.
The game lacks any depth because the strategical side was not implemented. The tactical side is quite good and befitting to a 3D environment. But the lack of strategical side turns the game into a linear progression from one end of the island map to the other.
From a mediocre game to a very good game.
How is JA3 a study case? Either the developpers tried their ideas and found out they could not work. That is the best scenario.
Or they ran out of time and money and could not finish the game. Worst case scenario as it deprives gamers with a taste for this kind of games from playing a very good game.
And this is the issue. The game is an unpolished gem and it is unlikely you'll get the missing features through an expansion or a JA4 (the game has a scenario)
Either they find a way to build up on the good basis they lay down or the next time, it will be the same, starting from scratch, laying foundations, and impossibility to finish the project, leaving players with a promising but never fulfilled game.