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Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics What's this?

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5.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 167 Ratings

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  • Summary: Jagged Alliance: Back in Action revives the top-selling Jagged Alliance series of mercenary-themed strategy games with significant updates to visuals and gameplay. Back in Action will showcase a fully updated experience, with modernized gameplay, state-of-the-art graphics and premium production values. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 35
  2. Negative: 4 out of 35
  1. Mar 13, 2012
    76
    A classic that captured the minds of countless tactical role-playing game enthusiasts back in 1999. It had superb turn-based combat, mercenaries with larger than life personalities and loads of guns and gadgets. Overthrowing queen Deidranna and freeing Arulco was a quest for the ages. Jagged Alliance - Back in Action is a remake of Jagged Alliance 2, but fails to capture the magic of its predecessor. Turn-based combat is gone and the mercenaries have lost their edge. The visuals are up to date and roaming Arulco is still a treat, but getting rid of fog of war is a huge mistake. Back in Action is not a bad game, but pales in comparison to its father. [March 2012]
  2. Feb 10, 2012
    73
    Compared to the ageless original, Back in Action is indeed not a milestone of the genre - but it's certainly a solid tactical game. Because the plan & go mode works, the selection of mercenaries and weapons is huge and I'm engaged for weeks with the liberation of Arulco.
  3. Mar 8, 2012
    70
    Jagged Alliance: Back in Action is a game from the time when games were games and movies were movies. And now you can relive those lovely times again.
  4. 66
    Surprisingly, the new, controversial real-time-combat isn't the expected game breaker for Back in Action. Its much too aggressive, oftentimes stupid AI is. Add to that a bulky interface and cumbersome inventory and soon the liberation of Arulco becomes more of a chore than an enjoyable trip, motivating level-ups and non-linear gameplay notwithstanding.
  5. Mar 31, 2012
    60
    The Steam version of Jagged Alliance 2 Gold is two times cheaper and at least two better than JA: Back in Action.
  6. May 16, 2012
    55
    Ignore Back in Action and just buy Jagged Alliance 2 to cherish the original version of a great game. Then again, if graphics are so important to you, go ahead and buy Back in Action- you might enjoy it but you will have paid four times more, for an inferior product. [May 2012]
  7. Mar 2, 2012
    30
    I hope to God the guys at Firaxis are watching this, because Jagged Alliance: Back In Action is, and probably will for many years hence be, the definitive textbook example of how to mess up by the numbers when attempting to "relaunch" a classic franchise.

See all 35 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 72
  2. Negative: 28 out of 72
  1. Feb 16, 2012
    10
    I would ask that anyone who comes to the review section of this game to notice that there are MANY positive reviews, MANY negative reviews, and few in between. This game suffers from the "uncanny valley" of game revivals; It happened to Fallout 3 as well.

    Whenever a beloved game series is taken over by another developer and it's game mechanics are changed, the fans of the original have no way of venting their frustrations except to come to review sites and rate games badly. The problem with this is that some people use these review sites to make purchasing judgments, and there is FAR too much collective bias against games that try to revive old cult classics.

    As to the game itself, it's good. It's difficult if you don't know what you're doing, easy if you do. It's going to take you a day or two to get the hang of things. You might want to restart the game once you get the hang of it. This is one of the best RTS/RPGs in existence right now (still hoping for a worthwhile UFO remake); Please give it a chance and ignore the butthurt babies who want to rate it down out of their spite towards the choices the developers made with game direction.
    Expand
  2. Aug 3, 2012
    9
    As a fan of the original game, I was quite skeptic to this remake, especially after seeing the metacritic score... But I gave it a try a few months after launch, and it's quite good! I can't say how it was at launch, but now there are very few bugs so it's totally playable.
    It's hard enough without being frustrating, worthy of the jagged alliance name :)
    Expand
  3. Feb 28, 2012
    8
    First of all don't look at this game as remake. It's new game only based on locations/story of original JA. It's different - sth like Commandos or Fallout Tactics - and that doesn't make it bad!! It's still a solid tactic game with a lot of fun. Most bugs are already patched so negative reviews should be "upgraded".

    Graphics - good as for tactic game and detailed enough to know that enemy is using sniper rifle and that there is a pistol on the ground next to wall. That's more than you need to plan and fight your battles! DX11 and ultra details are no needed.

    Sounds - average. Mercs voice acting could and should be better but since they don't talk too much i can ignore this. Weapons sounds like in game from 2000r. but still acceptable. For sure the worst part of this game.

    Game play - real time action + active pause is good for dynamic battles. I don't miss FOG but it will be added in patch soon(for fans). I could even accept that you can climb only where DEVs let you and blow up only where they let you. The only thing that i'm angry about is AI. You must do everything manually because mercs wont even turn back if they are getting hits from behind. The same zombie AI for Militia which is useless for almost anything(promised to be patched) but what is strange "great" Ai of enemy soldiers. They can see and hear almost everything + they are rushing like hell so keep a fast shooting gun near you ;)

    After 40h of playing(75% of game for me) still funny and interesting, that's why i don't regret buying this game and that's why 8/10 from me :)
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  4. Feb 14, 2012
    6
    It's such a disappointment yet I can't stop playing it. The game is clearly unfinished, from the bland character models, lack of the personality and charm from the original series, and no polish. You can even hear the gore exclamations, "Wow, that was gross!" and the enemy models fall in the same tired fashion. You know there is a horrific death animation that just wasn't added in. The mercenaries are all generic character models, with almost no details to distinguish them. How is it that the game from 1999 has better portrayals of these classic characters in terms of graphics and voice acting. Remember those cutscenes from JA2 that showed Elliot getting slapped around and feeling the genuine rage of the Queen and the progression of your campaign? Well, those are gone too. The tactical aspect of training rebels, and mercenaries has also been removed. You collect a weapon and hand it to an available freedom fighter. He becomes militia. Which you might as well give them all knives because the weapons and armor seems to make almost no difference, and they will lose the battle. Most of the game will be limited by retaking points and stationing your mercenaries near various parts of the map to intercept and defend the cities before the squads even get near them.

    But even with all the bugs, poor AI at times, and just lack of any type of production value, there is a solid game hidden behind it all. The mix of real time and planning during battles is challenging and addicting. You'll find yourself re-loading after getting wiped out over and over again and enjoying every minute of it. Learning from each approach until you find the perfect strategy to clear the immediate area and move on. There is still a large selection of weapons, armor, camouflage and items which stay true to the Jagged Alliance style.

    This game could have been so much more and it falls short on so many levels. I really hope the modding community can fix this mess of a game and bring out the amazing potential that it could and should have had.
    Expand
  5. Feb 25, 2012
    4
    Frustration. This is the first thing that comes to mind while playing this game. Especially when you fight in buildings (try throwing grenades in buildings). The enemy's are hitting you from impossible angles (for example i got hit with a shotgun which was fired four times out of weapon range), they spot you no matter what you do and they charge right up front. Only thing you need to do is clicking at them repeatedly so your mercs shoot em down while they charge (without taking any cover). If you like this kind of game play (not turn based,etc.) try frozen synapse, its cheaper and way better. Expand
  6. Feb 13, 2012
    3
    I need to preface this by saying that a lot of the stuff in this review won't resonate with people who have never played the Jagged Alliance series before. I myself have played JA2 since release in 1999 and have enjoyed it immensely; it is one of the few games I wouldn't hesitate to score as a 10/10. Its mix of combat, strategic depth and humor have created a lasting appeal that few other games possess (tl;dr I'm a JA2 fanboy). Unfortunately, Back in Action is a poor man's version of JA2, inferior in nearly every way that made JA2 awesome. Let's start with what BiA did right. The towns and scenery look good, and a 3d environment is something the series has desperately needed. The movable camera is generally an asset (though it still has some kinks to work out). Traveling on the overland map has also been modified so that you can choose a 'faster' path and can bypass enemy patrols easier. The major change/feature 'Plan and Go' is not as bad as people had been worrying, and in certain aspects it actually does better than a turn-based system,.. though, I still wish there had been an option for turn based mode. The outfitting of a mercenary with clothing and camo schemes is a pretty nice touch. Now for the bad. Probably the most major complaint I have is the removal of the Fog of War. When you enter an enemy controlled sector, you can immediately see every single enemy and determine what they are armed with, even in the dead of night or if they're hiding in a building. Needless to say, this makes scouting, spotting and guarding vulnerable mercs completely unnecessary. It's the equivalent of being able to see an enemy base and units in an RTS, or having a form of wallhack in an FPS. It literally ruins the game, ratchets the difficulty down several notches, and absolutely. must. go. Another major complaint: the AI is as dumb as a box of rocks. They rarely react to gunfire, and if they do, there is an odd prevalence of melee enemies who charge straight into your gunsights while swinging axes. This might make for an interesting zombie themed mod, but as a tactical shooter it's kind of silly. To make things worse, While you are struggling against braindead axe murderers, you are also fighting a battle against the interface, which makes a chore out of trying to do anything that doesn't directly involve shooting. Trading items between mercenaries is difficult, weapons autounload when placed in your backpack, weapons can only have ONE attachment, and effective inventory management is nearly impossible with no sector inventory. Additionally, the changes they've made to certain systems remove many layers of strategy. The levelling up system has been completely revamped - you get enough XP, you level up and spend points on whatever you want. No more practicing a skill to level it up, shoot enough guys and you can become the best medic ever. "Training" militia is literally finding a gun and giving it to someone standing around, which is far more expensive, time-consuming, and ultimately ineffective than you might initially believe. Medkits and repair kits are now essentially "health potions" for mercs and guns. Rather than a merc getting seriously wounded and spending a few days in the care of your teams doctor, you use a health kit and they are immediately good as new. Keep in mind however that while repair kits repair weapons, they do NOT repair armor, because that would be "too unbalanced". IMP, the creat-a-merc feature from JA2 is noticibly absent, again because of "balancing issues". The mercenary portraits are pretty ugly and there is a lot less humor this time around. There are no more vehicles. I actually miss the old Ira. Anyway, I suspect I'm ranting a bit so I'll try to draw this to a close. BiA at its core is a literal copy and paste of JA2 (seriously, all the descriptions and text are lifted straight from it) yet it still manages to fail because it is lacking what made people love JA2 - the immersive aspects, deep strategy and black humor. Despite this, I hold a small sliver of hope for this game due to the modding community. Already people are working on IMP mods and trying to figure out how to re-implement FoW. My recommendation, currently, is to give BiA a pass. If you must play it, wait until BiA lands on the bargain bin then immediately search for mods that might appeal to you - don't bother with the vanilla version. Expand
  7. Mar 31, 2014
    0
    JA2 was one of my favorite tactical games. This remake killed it. The cheating AI is the most annoying thing in this game. Even when operating under night conditions the enemies got xray eyes. Once you're spotted, they know where you are forever. They also took out armor repair, which renders the best armor you find, useless in a couple of battles. The store mechanic is also cumbersome, why can't they just design a drop ship from a helicopter to a specified sector instead of having to have to go to the airport every single freakin time. Oh yeah, your sector militias are useless, they always get beat unless you reinforce them with your own merc. Oh yeah, the stealth mechanic is borked. Even when the sound meter is all the way down, somehow the enemy could detect you and face you. Best of all, there is NO tactic in this game. If you don't lure the enemies to your waiting mercs then the enemy could swarm your lone gunman. Also an enemy with a pistol can beat your sniper at range, at night too, without nightscope, omg the cheating AI so OP Expand

See all 72 User Reviews